The anthology is perhaps the most valuable commodity when it comes to fans of short fiction. Whether you’re looking for a specific genre or more precisely a concise theme, the quest can become a literary journey just as challenging as what the heroes face in the stories themselves. Publishers who compile these works in handsome little volumes are doing the hard work for you. Your job, after shelling out some hard-earned coin, is to simply sit back and enjoy the rides.
In more ways than one, indie imprint Lagrange Books is doing this very thing with the collection Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, edited by Oren Litwin. This is more than just a collection of shorty stories surrounding the theme of magic. Ye Olde Magick Shoppe is a shop within a shop. Consider strolling into your local bookseller and picking up an ancient tome, and within its brittle pages you find yet another comfortable little bookstore. But this bookstore only sells magical adventures on consignment, and the true journey is hidden within the purchase, the transaction where the magic is obtained and the effects of trade.
It’s not every day readers get to go beyond the typical journey of enchantment. These stories not only embody the classic aura of fantasy and magic and the curiosity they instill in us, they often examine the underlying elements of wanting, obtaining, possessing, and selling such powers. It is like being taken behind the scenes of the typical story and getting a better understanding of the man behind the curtain.
In the book’s introduction, editor Litwin says, “Magic breaks the rules.” Is this true, or is it all just smoke and mirrors? It is up to the reader to determine if these rules were meant to be broken or if it was all just an illusion. If you ask me, I really don’t know. And when it comes to magic, that is perhaps the biggest challenge for readers to decipher.
The stories in this collection includes:
Polimancy by Will Neely
Rule of Three by Michael Connon
Mud by L. C. Gibson
Alternative (Veterinary) Medicine by J. S. Rogers
In Pursuit of Memory by Steve Cook
The Extra by Max Sparber
Highwaymen by Aaron C. Smith
Banishment for a Homesick Demon by Wondra Vanian
Mind the Store by Vanessa Wells
An App for That – Alyssa N. Vaughn
Grand theft Nightmare by Misha Burnett
Trust by Jake Lithua
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe is a welcomed change from the typical anthology of mystic adventures. And with the hard part already out of the way, all that is left is for us to sit back and hang on. In the end, readers just might have a fresh perspective on some of the old classics.