From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Book Review: Ancestral Magic by Moondancer Drake

There’s a powerful nexus on the grounds, one that evil forces want to possess and the good forces want to protect . . . and Sky is now the de facto guardian of that nexus.

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Playing with Spades

She’s tried. Tried heading to random stores, and just grabbing decks with her eyes closed. Tried asking other people to grab the decks for her. They look at her strangely when she asks this, but she’s pretty enough, and manages a nervous smile, so they do. “Arthritis,” she says, to anyone who appears particularly uneasy. They grab the decks for her, take them to the counter, where the cashier places them into a plastic bag. She takes the bag home, touching only the handles, and shakes out the card decks, opening them slowly, carefully.

She never finds the Queen of Spades.

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Exotic to One Person Is Commonplace to Another: Lavie Tidhar

I suppose part of my awareness of culture, as such, is about how similar in many ways people are. What seems exotic to one person is commonplace to another. The question is who do you write for? How much do you explain, how much do you let the reader infer from the text? It’s a balancing act.

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The Integrity of the Chain

Someone beside the television, a shaggy man Noy identified at last as Sip Pan Joe, said, “Heard the first baby was born yesterday on the Chinese moon colony.” They called him Sip Pan Joe because he always charged ten thousand kip for a city journey. “Sip pan! Sip pan!” he would say, losing money every time he took a fare. They called him Joe because of some character in a Thai soap. Sip Pan Joe wasn’t all there, but he had a way of getting news. Noy said, “I want to go to the moon,” and Sip Pan Joe cackled and said, “No tuk-tuks on the moon! No air!”

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Fascinated by People on the Fringe: John Mantooth

Usually, I have to find the ending through draft after draft, but not this time. I was driving through South Alabama (on the way to Disney World) with my family a few summers ago and saw an ancient looking water tower. Immediately, I thought: What if some kids find something in the water tower?

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The Water Tower

“There’s an alien in the water tower.” Jeremy Posey stood at the front door of Heather’s trailer, dressed in camouflage fatigues, glasses crooked on his sunburned nose. Above him, the sun passed its zenith and hung lazily in the western sky. His dirty-blonde hair caught the light and filtered it towards Heather in soft hues. […]

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Book Review: Evil Ways by Justin Gustainis

Evil Ways belongs to what I think of as the new generation of urban fantasy. Magic isn’t creeping into the real world to astonish and enchant the lucky few, it’s already here, walking around in broad daylight for anyone to see. This particular example of the genre is not of the best, but in some ways it seems unfair to review it harshly.

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Trench Foot

Scary Sandra loitered on the stairs. Her shoulder bones poked through a faded yellow cardigan as she sat hunched on the top stair. “I’m bored. I’ve picked all the nits out of my hair and licked all of the dead skin off my dressing table and all the ghosts have gone to have tea with the Queen.”

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Book Review: Worst Nightmares

The novel unfortunately feels very same-old, same-old. The writer with debilitating writer’s block. The serial killer using the Internet to find victims. The mysterious phone calls with the husky-voiced stranger on the other end. While the murders themselves might be effectively portrayed on the screen, for me they felt about as scary as one might see on an episode of CSI.

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Humanizing Myths: Nadia Bulkin

There was a certain ancient, mythological, allegorical feel to the whole “married to the sea” idea, and I wondered how it would translate to a more contemporary setting, i.e., “what would really happen” if this was a real custom. I think there’s a lot to be said for humanizing myths.