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Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric & Arcane Paperback – 25 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; paperback / softback edition (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781080534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781080535
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This is a spellbinding collection, and ideal reading for a season that lives and dies by its surprises.'

About the Author

Jonathan Oliver is the editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon. He has previously had stories published in a variety of magazines and anthologies in the UK and the US. He has written two novels for Abaddon Books - The Call of Kerberos and The Wrath of Kerberos - and his four anthologies for Solaris have received widespread critical acclaim and awards nominations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
As a hardcore fantasy reader magic is part and parcel of my reading and I consider a well-thought-out and realised magic system as a thing of beauty. So an anthology based around the concept of magic had to be something I enjoyed. So, you'll probably be unsurprised to discover that I did enjoy Magic: An Anthology Of The Esoteric And Arcane quite a lot. What surprised me was that, while magic is the common denominator in all of these stories, no two forms of magic are the same and in some of them it's more pervasive than in others. There is also a rather amazing diversity of settings and not all of these are fantasy, some are horror! Most, if not all, are set in the 'real' world, even if that world is pervaded by the magical or supernatural.

I first learned of this anthology when Solaris announced they had snagged Audrey Niffenegger to be one of its contributors. Her name drew my attention, not because I'd read any of her work before, but because she's one of those rare genre beasts, an author who is embraced by the mainstream. So much so, that I hadn't even realized that she was a genre writer. I do hope her inclusion here will prompt some non-genre readers to pick up this anthology and discover that speculative fiction isn't as scary a ghetto as they might think. Niffenegger's story The Wrong Fairy was inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's father and, while enjoyable and well-written, it isn't my favourite out of the bunch. Another author with an outside-genre draw is Christopher Fowler. His story The Baby - about a teen girl that gets in over her head and her struggle with her unwanted pregnancy after being raped - was eerily timely given some of the utter bile that was spilled during the US Presidential campaign recently.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
As a huge fan of the Urban Fantasy genre, there are times when there are authors that have piqued your interest but you aren't quite sure if it's worth a punt with your hard earned money or whether you want to stay the course with a name that you know and trust.

So within this book is a whole host of talent from the well-known Dan Abnett and Audrey Niffenger though to authors like Storm Constantine (whom I had heard of but hadn't the finances to try until now.) What occurs within this book that has been lovingly edited by Jonathan Oliver, is a whole host of stories all centring around magic be it plain out and out or the more subtle shades that vary within our everyday live's. It's cleverly crafted, full of tales to pull you in and is a great way to spend travel journey times or that lunch break when you really want to get away the real world. All in a cracking book and one I was more than happy to spend time with.
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By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Described as "an anthology of the esoteric and arcane", this collection delivers just that, with settings ranging from out-and-out fantasy worlds where magic is accepted by all as part of life ("Cat Coddeau", "Buttons"), to the modern everyday ("The Art of Escapology", "Party Tricks"), where it is an unexpected disruption (welcome or not).

In the final story, "Dumb Lucy", these strands are brought together magnificently to create a setting that is less defined, an in-between world which could be either a "real" or a "magical" world.

Briefly, "Magic" contains 15 stories.

In "The Wrong Fairy" (Audrey Niffeneger) an alcoholic artist committed to a Victorian asylum finds freedom in drawing what the fairies show him.

"If I Die, Kill my Cat" (Sarah Lotz) focusses on a conjunction of apparently very different magical cultures in modern South Africa.

"Shuffle" (Will Hill) is set in London and features a gambler playing a dangerous gamem, which is not what it seems.

"Domestic Magic" (Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem) is the story of a destitute but magical family, and asks magic will help or hurt them.

"Cad Coddeau" (Liz Williams) is set in a myth-imbued Celtic magical landscape. It reminded me of Alan Garner at his most perplexing (and satisfying).

"Party Tricks" (Dan Abnett), narrated by a fixer in the world of high politics, reads as if HP Lovecraft had rewritten Michael Dobbs. Great fun, and thought provoking.

In "First and Last and Always" (Thana Niveau) an obsession gets out of control.

"The Art of Escapology" (Alison Littlewood) features a circus - a good choice for a sinister setting - and a troubling transformation.
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