Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Worst of Luck In Finding Good Stories

If you want justice and goodness to prevail in this world, you have to fight for it tooth and nail. And it will be hard, and costly, and probably illegal. You will have to break the rules.
 - from "A Witch's Guide to Escape" by Alix Harrow

There's a curse that haunts me, as an avid reader and amateur writer:

I am always finding stories that I want to write, written better by someone else.

These stories are inevitably painful to read, not because of the leagues behind which my skill seems to lag, but because it's something that's close to my heart, and someone else has touched me so deeply that my heart aches in response.

"A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium Of Portal Fantasies," by Alix Harrow is one such story.

Every dual Hugo and Nebula winner that I've ever read has been a paradigm changer, altering or hardening my internal narrative and driving my emotions to find the fantasy they paint in my own life. Harrow's tale, as a dual nominee, is no different.

Except I did write this story, and twice, with each of the ending options; one, he gets away successfully, and two, he doesn't. Curiously, they both ended up in my "news epilogue" category, and there you can find them for yourself.

Put simply, A Witch's Guide is a tale of escapism, grounded in the very real magic that can be found in libraries, and narrated by none other than the best guide to navigating those magical worlds: a librarian.

Google can bring you back 100,00 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.
 - Neil Gaiman 

You can read all 4,900 words of this marvelous story on Apex Magazine's website, and you can buy a copy of Issue 105 where it was published.