Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Read Stories: Magic for Beginners

I've been reading Kelly Link stories. Magic for Beginners is a story from a fictional television show called The Library. Jeremy, our protagonist,
has always wondered about what kind of television shows the characters in television shows watch. Television characters almost always have better haircuts, funnier friends, simpler attitudes toward sex. They marry magicians, win lotteries, have affairs with women who carry guns in their purses. Curious things happen to them on an hourly basis. Jeremy and I can forgive them their haircuts. We just want to ask them about their television shows.

On an hourly basis indeed.

In The Library, the characters watch a television show called The Library[1] set in the The Free People's World-Tree Library. In this show
The pirate-magicians used finger magic to turn Prince Wing into a porcelain teapot, and poured in boiling water, toasted the Eternally Postponed and Overdue Reign of the Forbidden Books, drained their tea in one gulp, belched, hurled their souvenir pirate mugs to the ground, and then shattered the teapot which had been Prince Wing into hundreds of pieces. Then the wicked pirate-magicians swept the pieces of both Prince Wing and the collectible mugs carelessly into a wooden cigar box, buried the box in the Angela Carter Memorial Park on the seventeenth floor of The World-Tree Library, and erected a statue of George Washington above it.

If I were some kind of TV boss I would hire Kelly Link and we would come up with some extraordinary scripts and then we would water it down and compromise to try and make it more mainstream, appealing and commercial and it would be a big mess (and still it might be some brilliant stuff on screen). So it's just as well I'm not. But I don't say that about making TV for the passage above. It's after the teapot is reassembled and turned back into Prince Wing looking "about a hundred years old, and as if there were still a few pieces missing," and kills Fox who has turned him back. And then "He sneezed (Prince Wing is allergic to swordplay)..."

Allergic to swordplay - I'm watching next week and every week after that[2].

Update: I've just noticed is that Magic for Beginners is available for free from Kelly Link, as part of the collection Magic for Beginners.

[1] This confusion is deliberate.

[2] The Library, as might be expected, has nothing so usual as a regular schedule, channel, or indeed actors.

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