As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been crying into my beer a little lately over the swiftly growing number of people I know or follow who have recently joined the ranks of published authors. In particular, I’m weeping over the prodigious and prestigious one-two punch delivered by Gordon White of Rune Soup. The second of two books he has published this year is The Chaos Protocols, via Llewellyn.
The Chaos Protocols, simply put, is the magic book I wish I’d had ten years ago. Of course, ten years ago it couldn’t have been written: half the calamities and fewer than a third of the innovations (technological, cultural, and magical) that produced the world today had not yet happened.
Where Star.Ships is theoretical, meandering, and academic, The Chaos Protocols is pragmatic, to the point, and actionable. Amusingly, it is the latter that has footnotes on almost every page. The book begins with a brutal crash-course in economics and ends with a miniature grimoire. In between, it provides magical theory, economic reality, and practical techniques by turn.
Economic highlights include a sober discussion of the probable medium-terms effects of crony capitalism; advocating for the return to multi-family and multi-generational housing; a realistic assessment of the value of formal education and property ownership; and a discussion of the meaning of value and the value of meaning.
Magical highlights include Gordon’s own variation on the Stele of Jeu; the print publication of his masterwork on sigils; necromancy and ancestor worship; a discussion of divination mechanics and strategies; and magical strategies ranging from personal syncretisms to the Greek Magical Papyri to street-corner Hoodoo.
The most important parts of the book, though, can be summed up in three quotations:
One does not meet the devil at the crossroads to build a life that looks like everyone else’s.
Even if this is the apocalypse, that is no call to avoid making things interesting.
Become invincible and have adventures. The rest is detail.
Let’s have at it, shall we?