What do floating pigs, children's car seats, and a disappointingly polite dragon have in common? Well, t very much, to be honest, unless your name is Gidion and you are the unlucky hero of The Learning Curve- a charming fantasy vel brimming with satire, absurdity, and Brobdingnagian amounts of silliness, held together with strong characters, sharp writing and a compelling story. Gidion, a young wizard in training forcibly ejected from the Tain Pek Academy of Magic and Advanced Gardening, encounters all of the above and much more on an epic quest to redeem his name, awaken his latent powers, and, ultimately, save the land of Nud from a dire fate. Along the way he befriends a brownie with a Napoleonic complex and a friendly troll who had only recently stopped consuming humans (for health reasons). The three of them embark on an adventure that tests their courage, resolve, and friendship in the face of difficult and increasingly nsensical situations. This vel, eight years in the making, is both a loving tribute to and delightful satire of the time hored tropes that inhabit the realm of fantasy.
As a silly young man, Matthew was positive that one day he would grow up to be a famous writer, that rarified breed that gets read in fashionable book clubs. Along the path towards adulthood he somehow zigged instead of zagged and now Matthew finds himself teaching in Taiwan wondering what the hell just happened. After a too long hiatus which involved many strange and absurd adventures in various countries(some of which would make a good story or two one day) he has decided to again dip his toe into the writer's lifestyle. We shall see how it goes. . . .