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Tag: play within a play

Novella: Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link

Appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2005 (available on their website via the Wayback Machine); appeared in a collection of the same title (Mariner Books, 2005, and rereleased by Random House in 2014) and also the collection Pretty Monsters (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2006); won the 2006 Nebula Award for Best Novella, the 2005 BSFA Award for Short Fiction, and the 2006 Locus Award for Best Novella; nominated for the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2006 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and the 2006 Theodore Sturgeon Award; anthologized in Other Worlds Than These (Night Shade Books, July 2012, edited by John Joseph Adams)

18,231 words

This is one of the few stories in the collection Magic for Beginners that I felt like I understood. The implausible events are anchored to a believable and sympathetic character, and the blurring of the line between story and fictitious TV show is really interesting, as is Jeremy’s quest towards the end.

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Novelette: “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change”

“The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change,” by Kij Johnson

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales (Viking Press, 2007, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling); anthologized in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: 21st Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin J. Grant); shortlisted for the 2007 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and the 2008 World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction; read for Drabblecast 407, June 4th, 2019

8,583 words

Wittgenstein said, “If a lion could talk, we would not understand him.” This story explores the idea that if a dog could talk, we would not be able to love her. A little tragedy and perhaps an allegory for oppressors’ inability to connect with the oppressed. Or for parents’ inability to let their children be their own people?

Kij Johnson is always thought-provoking.

Short story: “A Doll Full of Nails”

“A Doll Full of Nails,” by Ville Meriläinen

Featured in PseudoPod 554, August 4th, 2017

Maybe 3,000 words? Not sure 2,918 words—I was pretty close

Creepy doll stories are always good. I like how the doll’s stories increasingly shed light on the dollmaker’s past, but never quite reliably.

Also the title is great.

Short story: “Scheherazade”

“Scheherazade,” by devi yesodharan

Appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse July 28th, 2016, apparently the winner of a contest

5389 words

“And then what?” A great little show of power by Shantini over the men who are using her.

Short story: “Scene from a Dystopia”

“Scene from a Dystopia,” by Rachel Swirsky

Appeared in Subterranean Press Magazine, issue #4: Special Sci-Fi Cliché Issue, 2006, edited by John Scalzi (PDF)

Maybe 1000 words?

A great disquieting piece about how individual lives and fates are bound up in society. Apparently this was Swirsky’s first published story; it’s very accomplished.