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Magic City: Recent Spells

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Magic City: Recent Spells (2014) Paula Guran

Magic-City-Recent-Spells

Table of Contents
“Street Wizard” by Simon R. Green
“Paranormal Romance” by Christopher Barzak
“Grand Central Park” by Delia Sherman
“Spellcaster 2.0” by Jonathan Maberry
“Wallamelon” by Nisi Shawl
“-30-” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
“Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs
“Stone Man” by Nancy Kress
“In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch
“A Voice Like a Hole” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Arcane Art of Misdirection” by Carrie Vaughn
“Thief of Precious Things” by A.C. Wise
“The Land of Heart’s Desire” by Holly Black
“Snake Charmer” by Amanda Downum
“The Slaughtered Lamb” by Elizabeth Bear
“The Woman Who Walked with Dogs” by Mary Rosenblum
“Words” by Angela Slatter
“Dog Boys” by Charles de Lint
“Alchemy” by Lucy Sussex
“Curses” by Jim Butcher
“De la Tierra” by Emma Bull
“Stray Magic” by Diana Peterfreund
“Kabu Kabu” by Nnedi Okorafor
“Pearlywhite” by Mark Laidlaw & John Shirley

“Street Wizard” by Simon R. Green I’ve read this story before, but enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The narrator is a street wizard, and walks us through a single night on the streets, walking his beat.

(L)ike everyone else she’s got something to complain about; apparently she’s not happy that people have stopped flushing baby alligators down their toilets. She misses them.
“Company?” I ask.
“Crunchy,” she says.

There are lots of other lovely little bits (especially the demon who guards the Chinese Christian Church).

“Paranormal Romance” by Christopher Barzak is the story of a witch of makes love spells, but whose magic doesn’t work for her. So her mother sets her up on a blind date.

When Myspace and Facebook came around, and her mother began commenting on photos Sheila had posted from some of her date nights with statements like, “He’s a hottie!” and “Now that’s a keeper!” Sheila had had to block her mother.

I really liked this story.

“Grand Central Park” by Delia Sherman starts like this:

When I was little, I used to wonder why the sidewalk trees had iron fences around them. Even a city kid could see they were pretty weedy looking trees. I wondered what they’d done to be caged up like that, and whether it might be dangerous to get too close to them.

With a start like that, how can you resist?

“Spellcaster 2.0” by Jonathan Maberry is another re-read, and I think I enjoyed it just as much the second time around as I did the first. What happens if you input every known magical spell into a computer database?

“Wallamelon” by Nisi Shawl was a sad story, of growing up and magic and friendship lost.

Sundays they went to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Not to church. “God aint in there. Only reason to go to church is so people don’t talk bad about you,”

“-30-” by Caitlín R. Kiernan surprised me, as much of what she writes is horror. This is horror, but of a rather different type, about one way to get past writer’s block.

“Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs is another story I’d read before, and actually recently re-read, because it stuck in my mind.

“Stone Man” by Nancy Kress is about an undiscovered magician, and the problems that come with his newly discovered skills. It’s also a sad tale about kids who are abandoned and unloved, for any of many reasons.

“In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch is a tale about magical libraries and librarians.

Inappropriate Levity Bronzeclaw, “Lev” to everyone at the university. Lev’s people, dour and dutiful, gave their adolescents names based on perceived character flaws, so the wayward youths would supposedly dwell upon their correction until granted more honorable adult names.

Delightful! (OOK!)

“A Voice Like a Hole” by Catherynne M. Valente was another story about lost and abandoned children. I found it very sad.

“The Arcane Art of Misdirection” by Carrie Vaughn was set in her existing world, with a character who has made brief appearances in Kitty’s world, but requires no knowledge of that world or the characters therein. (You’re quite into the story before you realize you’ve met one of the characters in the Kitty books, so you lose nothing if you haven’t them.)

“Thief of Precious Things” by A.C. Wise was an odd tale, about a fox girl, stealing for? getting revenge upon? the crow men.

“The Land of Heart’s Desire” by Holly Black is a story of humans and faerie living together, perhaps uneasily. I felt like I was missing something in this story.

“Snake Charmer” by Amanda Downum is the story of the death of a dragon. Of revenge for the death of a loved one. In this story I also felt like I was missing something–not a big something, but something.

“The Slaughtered Lamb” by Elizabeth Bear was a fun story, of a queen trying to make it in a magical world.

“The Woman Who Walked with Dogs” by Mary Rosenblum wasn’t technically a depressing story, but it still made me depressed–a girl whose mother is working working working to try and give her child a better life, and doing everything she can to keep her from trouble. I did, however, love the idea of what happens in houses at night being very different from what you see during the day.

“Words” by Angela Slatter was an amusing and fun story, about which I can’t really tell you anything without giving everything away.

“Dog Boys” by Charles de Lint was one I quite liked, but then I love Charles de Lint’s stories. A boy is trying to survive in a new school, in a new town. Depsite trying to keep his head down and himself out of trouble, he gets involved, and steps into trouble far worse than he could have guessed.

“Alchemy” by Lucy Sussex was a lovely and sad story, about alchemy and change.

“Curses” by Jim Butcher is a story I’d read before, and reminded me why I used to love his stories so much. Harry Dresden is called upon to do something about the curse on the Chicago Cubs. It’s a fun story.

“De la Tierra” by Emma Bull is an odd story, about a magical assassin. Except he’s not an assassin by his own choice.

I quite liked it.

“Stray Magic” by Diana Peterfreund is another story I’d read before. The main characters are a girl who volunteers in a no-kill shelter and an abandoned dog.

“Kabu Kabu” by Nnedi Okorafor is the story of a taxi ride to O’Hare airport. I’ve read stories by Nnedi Okorafor and now I’m wondering why I haven’t read more.

“Pearlywhite” by Mark Laidlaw & John Shirley is another story about street children. It’s dark, but didn’t feel as depressing as some of the other stories about unloved and abandoned children.

All in all this is a marvelous collection, that I highly recommend.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Prime Books




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