INTERVIEW: Yoon Ha Lee, author of “Counting the Shapes”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

For me, the story is about how mathematical imagery is magical all by itself, not in a literal “I cast fireball for 6d6 damage” kind of way but just the sheer beauty of it.  It also talks a little about family and trust, but honestly I feel like I was so young when I wrote the story that it was kind of presumptuous of me to tackle those themes.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

I started this story in high school, and it came out of the idea of a mathemagician as kind of a pun.  I had this whole plan to write a dystopian fantasy about living in a demon empire and wine of immortality, but I didn’t have the tools at the time to pull it off, so I ended up scrapping the whole immortality angle.  But I had gotten to the point where I didn’t hate math anymore, and I spent a lot of time reading books on popular math: Ivars Peterson’s The Mathematical Tourist, Philip J. Davis & Reuben Hersh’s The Mathematical Experience, Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, and a whole bunch of others.  I became fascinated by the idea that you could use mathematical imagery to inform a story.  (I admit I’m a little scared of what a real mathematician would make of the story!)

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

The hardest part of the story was actually not the math!  It was the fact that Biantha, the main character, is a mother.  I finished the story when I was in college, and not only did I not have a kid at the time, I’d never done babysitting, and most of my younger cousins are relatively close to me in age, so I just had no experience in what that was like.  My writing group at the time, Chymera, was incredibly helpful here, because the other members were all parents and they told me what bits did not make sense.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

In a way this story grew out of my learning to love math.  People sometimes think I came wired that way, but I really didn’t!  I hated math for the longest time.  And then I learned that all this stuff has reasons behind it — high school geometry was very good for that — and that there were some really mind-blowing concepts.  I wrote this story because I wanted to share that feeling of wonder.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I think the two mathematical things I got the most mileage out of were topology and fractals.  For the former, I got the general idea out of an encyclopedia article (or I guess these days you’d go to Mathworld or Wikipedia online), although I did take a course in point-set topology later.  I think I owe most of my fascination with fractals to James Gleick’s Chaos.  Really, it involved reading books that I was going to be reading anyway, so it wasn’t any hardship.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

I imagine some of it must be wish-fulfillment?  Personally, I often like looking at well-constructed magic systems.  The problem is that they’re frequently lack complexity.  This is probably just me, but a lot of magic systems end up feeling like toy systems because they’re so simple: you can easily state all the rules and figure out the implications, and yet they’re being treated as this sort of adjunct to physics, and if that’s the case I want them to reflect some of the complexity and wildness of real physics.  So when a writer (or game designer, or whatever) gets this balance right, it’s immensely satisfying.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

Let’s see: Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane (I didn’t like the sequels as well), because the witch protagonist is a middle-aged woman struggling to find a balance between devoting her time to nurturing what power she has and her family.  It’s not the usual “oh, here’s the upstart prodigy mage prophesied to overthrow the evil empire” shtick.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s The Magic of Recluce.  Probably not for everyone, but I really liked Modesitt’s handling of order and chaos magic.

Helen Keeble’s “In Ashes,” which is an unrelenting look at the human cost of trying to protect a fire elementalist.

For manga, Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist, which has a complex, careful, intricate plot involving two brothers, both alchemists, who are searching for the Philosopher’s Stone so they can heal themselves, and then they discover more than they reckoned on.  The implications of alchemy figure prominently throughout the whole thing.

Also, I realize this is a tie-in, but I am still very fond of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s Legends Trilogy for Dragonlance.  You have a mage who is trying to be become a god, conflict between twins, and time travel!

INTERVIEW: Wendy N. Wagner, author of “The Secret of Calling Rabbits”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

This story is about a man who spends his whole life running away from incredible pain and loss, a man who is afraid to make a life for himself.  But luckily, it’s also about the transformative power of love and the ways it can give even the most desperate person courage and power.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

When I was five, my mom read Watership Down to me.  I fell thoroughly in love with the story, but when I heard The Hobbit about a year later, my little kid brain sort of bled them together.  To this day I remain obsessed with rabbits and hobbits, and in “The Secret For Calling Rabbits,” I tapped into that long-standing love for all things furry, in trouble, and that burrow underground.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

I sat down at the computer one day and brainstormed the scene where Rugel begins to dig into the ground.  The words flew out of my fingers but the story was stuck like that for at least a month–I had no place to take it.  Little by little, the story emerged, but it had to go through two early readers (thank you so much, Ed Morris and Christie Yant!) before any of it made any real sense.  An undeveloped backstory really held back the wonder of the hero’s transformation, and that backstory wasn’t finalized until you (John) asked me push the magical concepts in the revision process.  All in all, this piece took almost eight months to complete!

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

I grew up in a farm family, and I’ve always had a really strong connection to plants and animals.  Because of that, everything I write comes out of this deeply nature-loving place.  There was just no way for me to create a race of magic-users that weren’t working to help nature — I wonder if perhaps I was a dwarf in a past life!

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I read a lot about mandrake plants — their growth habits, their place in literature, their story in the Bible.  That’s where I took the name Rachel, from a story in Genesis where Rachel asks Leah for mandrakes to aid in her fertility.  There is so much legend & lore bound up in these strange, poisonous plants, and they make appearances in many great fantasy stories.  That really complicated finding information about the real plant.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

Everything about wizardry is so exciting!  I think it’s incredibly appealing because you can be any size or any shape and still tap into an amazing source of power.  It’s a great equalizer.  Wizardry can be a great force of justice in the universe a writer creates, and readers love to see justice spun across the page.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

I love Nita and Kit from Diane Duane’s So You Want to Be a Wizard.  They’re just kids and absolutely new to their powers, but they go toe-to-toe against the ultimate evil in the universe.  And win.  Duane does a great job keeping the magic real and vital without allowing it to be the solution to every single problem that befalls the characters.  Plus, she allows magic to meet and befriend science, instead of pretending that the laws of nature don’t exist.

Another favorite is Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Here is the most powerful wizard alive, and he’s hemmed in on all sides by politics.  The government is nagging him; the school’s Board of Directors has put their thumb down on his back.  But he refuses to let injustice win in his realm, even if he can only help in the most surreptitious manner.  I think that moment he winds Hermione’s time-turner is his best and boldest moment in the entire series.

INTERVIEW: Vylar Kaftan, author of “The Orange-Tree Sacrifice”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

Salvation when all hope is lost.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

At Potlatch, there’s a charity auction to support Clarion West.  I offered the chance to give me an image–anything kinky, surreal, or disturbing is right up my alley.  The bidder asked for a story about a girl on fishhooks.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

Well, part of the bid was that I’d write the story on the spot and read it the very next day.  So yes, I was writing this story while attempting to ignore the auction.  And I needed the story to be good.  So I cranked up my headphones and rocked out.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

It evokes memories of adventures in my wilder days.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

None.  Let’s leave it at that.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

If we use the non-gendered definition of wizard (i.e. “one who practices magic” rather than getting confused with witches and enchantresses and whatnot)… we have a person who actively manipulates the fabric of the universe itself.  What’s not to love?

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

No specifics.  I’m most fond of magic that has serious consequences and isn’t undertaken lightly. Altering the universe cannot be done over tea-time.

INTERVIEW: T. A. Pratt, author of “Mommy Issues of the Dead”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

My main character Marla is a magical mercenary hired to assassinate someone… who’s already dead. Sounds like it should be a pretty easy job, but of course, it’s not. The story is also — as the title suggests — about mothers, sons, daughters, and all the issues that come along with being any of those. (Even monstrous undead creatures have mothers, after all.)

 What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or  what prompted you to write it?

I’ve written several novels and stories about the main character, Marla Mason, but most are set later in her life, after she’s amassed some power and influence. I thought it would be fun to write about one of her earlier adventures… which also enabled me to write a story that wasn’t loaded down with the burden of several books’ worth of backstory!

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

Only in terms of structure. I initially wrote it in a non-linear fashion (beginning with Marla dangling on the muddy slope), and jumped around through time with various flashbacks and flashforwards. I thought I was quite clever, really, until I showed it to a few of my usual readers, who all independently said it was unnecessarily convoluted and would be better as a more linear tale. I took another look and had to agree. Just because you’re capable of crossover dribbles and behind-the-back passes doesn’t mean you have to use them all the time; sometimes a simple chest pass will do.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

It’s mostly a fun adventure story, but the family dynamic issues makes it a bit deeper. I have a good relationship with my own parents, but they’ve undeniably shaped who I am today… and I know plenty of people who’ve been shaped in less positive ways by their parents.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I had to research tin toys — I wanted a robot toy instead of a monkey, but the earliest robot toy I could find was made too late to fit my timeline. I had to research historical blizzards (based on some vague memories of hearing about one in the south), and how to make homemade snowglobes… nothing too esoteric. The internet took care of me.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

I just like magic! Being a bit more analytical, it’s a fun way to examine the uses of power, and the ways power can corrupt and transform, in a very dramatic fashion. Wizards are people who impose their will in order to change the world… which is something most of us try to do, really.

They just get to wear cooler robes.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

There are three anthologies I have on my shelves, two that meant a lot to me as a young reader, and one that impressed me more recently: Witches and Wizards are both from the Isaac Asimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy series, and they have great classic and newer (circa mid-’80s anyway) stories, and the Mammoth Book of Sorcerers’ Tales has a great bunch of wizardly stories (including one of mine). From those books I like Robert Bloch’s “Sweets to the Sweet”, William M. Lee’s “A Message from Charity,” and “Ten Things I Know About the Wizard” by Steve Rasnic Tem, because they are gloriously nasty; rather sweet and sad; and wonderfully weird, respectively.

INTERVIEW: Simon R. Green, author of “Street Wizard”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

The blunt end of wizardy; the everyday magical work, at street level. Lots of responsibility, seriously low wages, but luckily there’s plenty of built-in low self-esteem.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

A blank piece of paper, a pencil, and a deadline.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

After writing so many books where the world, all Humanity, an even existence itself is at risk, it was good to write a story with everyday people, in an everyday setting.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

Ah, those memories of old Soho in London; will I ever stop mining them? I met enough real characters there to last out my career.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

A day trip to London, checking out old haunts, drinking in pubs, and enjoying those interesting cards ladies leave in phone boxes.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

All men like to play with their wand.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

The best wizard novel ever, and quite possibly my favourite novel ever, is John Bellairs’ The Face in the Frost.

INTERVIEW: Rajan Khanna, author of “Card Sharp”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

It’s about Quentin Ketterly, a man adrift, who stumbles upon a secret world of magicians with great, but limited, power, and it’s about what he chooses to do with that power. It’s also about revenge, cards, and a riverboat.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

I don’t actually remember what sparked it, but the idea came to me at Readercon in 2009. I just had this image of wizards who used cards instead of spellbooks and who only had the one deck to work with. When I heard about this anthology, I had originally intended to do a more traditional urban sorcery story, but this idea wouldn’t let go, so I wrote it.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it doesn’t stand out as particularly challenging. And I had members of my writing group, Altered Fluid, to help me work out some of the snags.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

This story was perhaps one of the least personal I wrote. I’m certainly very different from Quentin. But I think that we all deal with limitations, in whatever worlds we inhabit, and in particular, the choice between serving yourself and serving others can be a struggle. I live in New York, and there are times when you actually start to have to weigh these things and that’s something that I can relate to with Quentin, even if I don’t truly know what it’s like to be in his situation.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I researched the history of playing cards and learned quite a bit about them. I learned that the four suits I took for granted differed in different countries (replaced by bells, acorns and leaves in Germany, for example) and that they are associated with a variety of different meanings. I also learned that in all likelihood, playing cards predated Tarot.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

I think that the appeal, for me, of wizard fiction is in the choices such characters make. Wizards have, whether through hard work and study or quirks of fate and destiny, access to great power. But it’s what they choose to do with that power that is the truly interesting part. I think the best wizard fiction involves some kind of sacrifice on the part of the wizard and the juxtaposition of that element of tragedy with wondrous power can be compelling.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

My favorite wizard of all time would have to be Merlin. He’s the original, in many ways the archetype, and his legend has endured for hundreds of years. Gandalf is cut from similar cloth and is, of course, a classic, though his use of magic is of course limited. I grew up reading about Terry Brooks’ Allanon, David Eddings’ Belgarath, Weiss and Hickman’s Raistlin Majere, and Raymond Feist’s Pug. But my favorites now skew a little differently. Elric is one, because he’s also a warrior, and because his magic mostly concerns summoning or calling on demonic entities to work for him. John Constantine, from the Hellblazer comics is another — British, working class, and tremendously flawed. I also enjoy the wizarding world of the Harry Potter books as envisioned by J. K. Rowling.

INTERVIEW: Nnedi Okorafor, author of “The Go-Slow”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

“The Go-Slow” is about a man who is stuck and how he gets unstuck. It’s about Nigerian traffic, fate, choice, Nollywood, and freedom.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

I was sitting with some writer friends (Mary Anne Mohanraj was one of them) and someone challenged me to write story with emus in it. That got my gears going.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

If anything was challenging, it was the fact that the story is so damn weird. I kept wondering if I should just stop writing it before it got weirder. But then something sprung from the trunk of my character’s car. Once that happened, I had to see what happened next.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

The part about the steer running at the main character was plucked from my own life experience. During a family trip to Nigeria, we were stuck in a go-slow (traffic) that was so bad people stopped their vehicles and some even went to get lunch. I was sitting in the van with the door open when a steer came running out of a nearby market. It was white with super long horns. It had a wild look in its black eyes- like it was bent on obtaining its freedom by any means necessary. Next thing you know, it sees me and decides to change right at me. I jumped in the van and slammed the door shut just in time. An inch from my window, the steer decided to turn and run around out van and across the street. A minute later two boys with sticks came running after it. I told them which way the steer went and they took off after it. I knew someday I’d write about that focused beast. 

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I did a lot of research on emus, including watching footage of them running. I needed to know how they moved. I also observed them in the zoo. If I could have, I’d have liked to touch one, too. One day.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

Not all wizard fiction appeals to me. The kind that I am drawn is the kind where the wizards feel real. The wizards have to be touched by what they do. How can you tap into that kind of power and not be affected? I can’t say why other readers love this kind of fiction, but I love it because I’m fascinated by powerful and flawed characters who and well-done wizards are both of these things. 

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

The Man in Black from The Gunslinger (not so much the subsequent Dark Tower Books) was a bad bad powerful man. When I was a kid, he used to scare the heck out of me because he seemed so unpredictable and cruel. I loved him.

Kvothe from Pat Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind is easily one of my favorite. He’s brash, head-strong, and genius to his own detriment.

In my own novel, Who Fears Death, the character named Aro embodies the positive and negative aspects of every male Nigerian elder in my life. Of course, such a character would be a wizard. He’s one of my favorite characters to date.

INTERVIEW: Mike Resnick, author of “Winter Solstice”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

It’s about Merlin the Magnificent, and the problems of living backward in Time.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

I wrote it the day I learned that my late mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s. I tried to imagine what it was like for her, going to bed each night and knowing you’d wake up a little less intelligent each morning. I knew I needed to work it out fictionally. Then I remember that the Merlin of The Once and Future King, my favorite fantasy novel, lived backward in time, and I decided I could use that as a metaphor.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

It wasn’t artistically that challenging, but it was emotionally painful, as I was writing about someone I cared for who was suffering from a disease we still don’t truly understand.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

I think I just answered that.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

No scientific research. I skimmed The Once and Future King to see if T. H. White had said anything about living backwards that I needed to incorporate. (He hadn’t.)

A side note. I have submitted perhaps 40 stories to Asimov’s over the years. This was the only one that was ever rejected, probably because it was a pure fantasy. I turned around and promptly sold it to F&SF, and it made the Hugo ballot. I teased Gardner Dozois, the Asimov’s editor, about that for years; he teased right back that it may have been a nominee, but the winner was an Asimov’s story.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

I think most readers love it because it’s good escapist fun. I also think it can be put to higher purposes, as in this story.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

Clearly, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King. The Harry Potter books. The Wizard of Oz. Christopher Stasheff’s The Warlock in Spite of Himself. They all had some charm, and about as much originality as you can bring to such a limited and universal theme.

INTERVIEW: Lev Grossman, author of “Endgame”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

Glibly put, “Endgame” is a story about a magician who is bored. She’s an excellent sorcerer, but her world — which is the same world as ours — just doesn’t offer her much to do with her powers.

There’s no Sauron or Voldemort or White Witch. So to keep herself occupied, and her skills sharp, she turns to wargaming.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

The story takes place in the same universe as my novel The Magicians. The wargaming scene was a peripheral detail in that book, but I promised myself that I’d go back and dive into it a bit. I wanted to know more about who played those games, and how they worked.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

Most of what I write these days is from a youngish male point of view. So writing in Poppy’s voice was hugely fun, and liberating. Like literary cross-dressing. Usually composition is slow and laborious for me, but this story actually flowed quick and easy.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

Oh, this is a very personal story for me. I’m a gamer. If I could work magic, in the world we live in, I think I’d want more excitement, more adventure, than this world currently offers. I’d go looking for it, and I’m sure I’d wind up gaming.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story? 

None!

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

Stories about magic are stories about power and knowledge. And who doesn’t want those? They’re about being able to change the world in ways that it’s usually resistant to change, and they’re about discovering a secret world behind the world we see every day — a brighter, more interesting, more meaningful, more satisfying world.

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

There are so many, but the one I want to single out is Larry Niven’s Warlock stories, which I think are criminally under-rated. Niven is of course best known as a writer of hard SF, but he brings that very practical, concrete, rule-bound worldview to the task of describing magic and making it feel real. The results are sensational. Niven was also interested in working through, as a thought-experiment, the ways in which magic affects the people who wield it, and the society in which they live. There’s a thought-through quality to his fantasy that I don’t see much elsewhere.

INTERVIEW: Krista Hoeppner Leahy, author of “Too Fatal a Poison”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

“Too Fatal a Poison” is the story of two friends, members of Odysseus’ crew who are enchanted by Circe on their journey home after the Trojan War.   The story explores the consequences of Circe’s enchantment — both the pleasure and the poison of her sorcery.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

A couple of years ago I was researching Circe for a poem I was writing, and as I reread Homer — I was struck by a couple of things.  

One, how awful I felt for Odysseus’ men.  All of them died over the course of his journey.  All of them!  So many died, and yet we only remember Odysseus.

Two, Elpenor, in my opinion, gets kind of a raw deal.   Through the ages, his death has been held up as an example of the recklessness and drunken foolery of youth.   I asked myself, what might have driven him to drink, to lose himself so completely that he would fall off the roof?  And why weren’t any of the older men keeping a watchful eye out for the youngster? 

Three, I’d forgotten about Circe’s coterie of animals.  I was struck by their presence, and how many of them there seemed to be, even before Odysseus’ arrival.  I wondered, what if some of the men enjoyed Circe’s enchantment?  Of course, that’s not the way Homer tells the story, but if any of the men enjoyed being beast more than human, they wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone, would they?

From there, the story wrote itself.  

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

While this was one of those gift stories — a joy to write — the revision process proved tricky.

The power and horror of war needs to fuel the story, but for the piece to succeed the readers’ imagination has to do the work, without my subjecting readers to anything too gruesome.  Whether or not I succeeded in walking that difficult line is up to the individual reader to decide.

Also, balancing the intoxicant aspect of the pigs’ sensory experience with the demands of plot and pace posed a humbling challenge.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

My eldest brother died unexpectedly a few months prior to writing this story, and while he had a very different life and death than any of the characters, my grief and confusion at his death informed the writing of “Too Fatal a Poison.”  

What kind of research did you have to do for the story? 

I had to do a bit of digging around the actual story and interpretations of Circe’s enchantment and Elpenor’s fate, so that I would know where I was departing from Homer’s version.  And I had to research some of the historical details of the locale and time period — what kind of vessel the men might be drinking from, or which gods they might have called upon at the time.

What is the appeal of wizard fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

Wizards embody iconic magic in human form.  Wizards look like us, talk like us, act like us, even love like us, but are immensely more powerful, controlling time, space, circumstance, matter and non-matter, sometimes even life and death.  There’s the tantalizing promise, when you’re reading about a wizard, that wizardry is nearly within your grasp — that you, too, could be the master of your domain, if only you could find the right master, magic book, school, or combination of words.   So while they are often the most powerful magical beings in their realm, they are also the magical beings most like us. 

What are some of your favorite examples of wizard fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

Two of my favorites would have to be Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.  Ged’s journey to wizardhood and adulthood is so finely and honestly wrought that every time I reread the LeGuin series, I learn something new.  And for me, White’s Merlin is absolutely unforgettable.  Funny and wise, accessible and mysterious.

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