[Reading Room] How The Trick Is Done by A. C. Wise

I liked this a lot.

It managed to be about magic and death and unrequited love and #metoo and revenge and yet have a lightness and beauty that I often find missing in modern stories, and which is hard to pull off with those themes.

Told in the modern day it was, at times, self-consciously literary and took me out of the story in places, but I found that OK because it was fantastical–I almost needed to be lifted out, for a breath from time to time.

There are moments when the story hops into different PoVs and again, it works, somehow.

This was a very good, entertaining story. Very accomplished.

Sometimes we can write well on our first attempt but this story made me remember the benefits of having written a lot. The success of this story is partly in feeling like you’re in the hands of a practiced master. It was appropriate that it’s about a magician because reading it felt like watching someone pull off a card-trick they’ve practiced a thousands times in front of a mirror and a hundred times for an audience. It was confident and confidence-inspiring. I knew I was in good hands.

I found this story in the Hugo Longlist Anthology Vol 6 (If this was on the longlist, I need to read the shortlist!)

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