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The Twelfth Enchantment

The Twelfth EnchantmentThe Regency England that I know—the one familiar from film, public television, the novels of Jane Austen, and very little actual historical knowledge (a lack that is entirely mine and not the authors’)—is a setting particularly suited to the addition of magic. The rituals and manners of the place are both fascinating and so foreign to contemporary life that they almost seem like magic themselves. Exaggerate a little, squint one eye, and magic slips right in, looking like it’s been there all along.

 

In The Twelfth Enchantment, David Liss makes excellent use of this affinity. His Regency England is on the brink of a secret war whose conflict fills the spaces between parlor conversations and grand dances, transforming social niceties into the clever moves of an ominous and thrilling game. The forces of newly mechanized industry have begun to encroach on ancient tradition, and the very ordinary, very prospect-less Lucy Derrick is caught between the two of them.

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The Witch-Queen of Fillory

The Magician KingLet's begin by taking note of the parameters - the circumstances, if you will - under which we are working. The first is that I can make absolutely no claim to objectivity here. Not only did I beta-read The Magician King, but Lev is a very dear friend. I have no critical distance from either text or from author.

The second circumstance of note is, there are going to be spoilers for The Magician King in this post. I am quite serious about this.

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Upping the Ante: A Review of Lev Grossman's The Magician King

The Magician KingWe've been talking a lot this week (and last) about how great Lev Grossman's first novel The Magicians is--it leads to exciting discussions when you teach it, it's clever and subtle in its characterization, and it provocatively blurs the boundary between fantasy and reality.  I imagine that we could say a good deal more as well, passing our favorite bits of the novel back and forth, debating the meaning of the ending, and parsing all the different allusions that Grossman makes to other works.

In short, The Magicians is great because it makes you think and because it's fun.  In fact, I've read some posts around the internet that were disappointed that there was a sequel because they were worried that nothing could be as awesome as The Magicians.

They were wrong.  The Magician King is not just as good as The Magicians--it's better.

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Midweek Fiction: Theodora Goss, "The Mad Scientist's Daughter"

Theodora Goss is another writer who appeared at the original Fantasy Matters convention. While there, she read part of "Singing of Mount Abora," a story I loved so much I purchased the anthology it was in (Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories) without knowing anything other than I needed to know what happened at the end of Goss's story.

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Writing The Magician King

The Magician KingI’m going to try to explain how I wrote The Magician King. This is harder than it sounds, because writing a novel is an extremely chaotic and abstract process. Or at least it is when I do it.

If you were watching me do it in time-lapse photography, like on a nature special, it would just look like me staring at my computer and occasionally typing and once in a while appearing to whack my head on my desk, which would actually just be me putting my head down and then waking up again, but in fast motion.

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