Tag: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic

The Bones of the Earth by Ursula K. Le Guin

This short story is all about wizards and their mentors. The different ways in which mentors can inform their protegee, and how they fall into each others’ lives. I love that in telling about this relationship, it’s a little reflective. But also very much in the presence. There is a great split between the two timelines that enhances the timelessness of the bond between mentor and apprentice. And this flits across generations.

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Seven Drops of Blood by Robert Weinberg

This short story had a very noir detective feel to it. And, since it’s in a collection of Dark Magic short stories, I spent a very high proportion of it wondering where the dark magic actually was. That was kind of frustrating. Even once I found the “magical” aspect, it wasn’t anywhere near as intense as I was expecting and I kind of felt a little perplexed at its place in this anthology. But, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable story.

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Master of Chaos by Michael Moorcock

When I think of dark fantasy, I think of some incredibly twisty, crazy stories. Ones that have a sense of darkness that you can’t shake. Yet, this story didn’t quite have that feeling of darkness. It was a little bit more light and entertaining. With just a hint of darkness behind the storyline. I love that it’s a story which features trickery as the central battle. One that wins the day in the end.

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The Double Shadow by Clark Ashton Smith

Although I gave this story a kind of low rating, I did thoroughly enjoy it. The wording was just so beautifully lyrical and swept me away. Which makes sense, since it was originally written in 1933. It definitely means that this is a short story that I’m likely to go back to and reread. After all, the very lyricality of the wording makes it a fun journey and an intriguingly poetic one as well.

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Timekeeper by John Morressy

Ideas of time change across the world. It’s an idea that completely fascinates me. So it kind of makes sense that a story about a timekeeper and conjurer finds it’s way into a collection of dark magic stories. Although this one isn’t as dark and twisted as the other tales, there’s still that sense of mystery and brutality that is present in the rest of the stories in this collection.

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The Sage of Theare by Diana Wynne Jones

Order is not something that comes easily to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly organised and have a system for things. But my life in and of itself is not actually organised. And I don’t tend to follow conventions about 90% of the time. So I kind of liked a dark fantasy tale that dealt with the intersection of order and chaos. How they are both important to the existence of life as we know it.

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The Witch’s Bicycle by Tim Pratt

I was really dreading a horrible ending to this story. One that would involve a tragedy and the dark magic practitioner riding off into the sunset with her own version of happily ever after. But it didn’t quite end like that. In fact, it had a very happy ending with a bit of violence and darkness thrown in. Something that I thoroughly enjoy in a good story – some violence, some hope and a happily-ever-after.

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