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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Work of Sam Valentino

Clock TreesI came across the work of Sam Valentino as a result of our "magician's week" here at Fantasy Matters--Lev Grossman had posted a link on his blog to a picture that Sam had done of the Watcherwoman's clocktrees in Fillory, and like Lev, I was impressed by how well Sam conveyed the connection of The Magicians with The Chronicles of Narnia by imitating Pauline Baynes's style.  So I headed over to Sam's blog to see what else he has done--and what I found was artwork that is wonderfully fun and lighthearted, but grounded in personal connections that makes it very real.


The Unexpected Fantastic: An Interview with Harry Bolles

The MagiciansMy favorite line in The Magicians by Lev Grossman is: "Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed." This is followed, a few paragraphs later, by: "It was a very small trick, a basic one-handed sleight with a nickel. He did it in his coat pocket where nobody could see. He did it again, then he did it backward." It is such an utterly perfect and beautiful introduction to a character, and one that predisposed me to liking him because, if there's one thing that I have always loved, it's watching magic tricks.

A bit less than a year ago, I went out to dinner to celebrate the birthday of a very dear friend. It was an excellent dinner, in one of those dimly lit, but extravagantly delicious San Francisco restaurants, and while we sat at our large, basement table, one of our mutual friends reached into his pockets and produced some playing cards and a tiny pouch of coins. He did some magic tricks, beautifully astonishing things with coins and cards. With competence and speed, Harry made the coins vanish and the cards switch places, and it was a quietly perfect extravagance in the midst of cocktail detritus and rumpled napkins.

When I asked Harry whether he would answer a few questions about magic for Fantasy Matters, he kindly sent these wonderful answers.

The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Artwork of Phil McDarby

I first came across the work of Phil McDarby a few years ago through Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders fundraiser.  Phil had created a wonderful visual representation of a scene from The Name of the Wind entitled "Luring the Draccus."  I noticed he had a website, so I headed over to check it out--and I was captivated by what I saw.


Midweek Fiction: Kat Howard, "Sweet Sixteen"

Editor's note: Our apologies--this post originally ran without the interview section.  Our technical difficulties have been fixed, and we thank you for your patience.

Last week, we launched a new weekly feature where we highlight a speculative short story that is available on the Internet.  Our first feature was Kelly Link's "Valley of the Girls," and this week, we feature a story by Kat Howard, our own content editor!

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