Review of the short story The Master Conjurer by Charlie Jane Anders. The Master Conjurer was first published in Lightspeed Magazine.
My 2014 review of The Master Conjurer by Charlie Jane Anders
The Master Conjurer
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Published: October 2013 by Lightspeed Magazine
Read: February 16, 2014
Genre: urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy
Length: 6239 words, short story
Format: Free online fiction
This is the part of my 100 Short Stories in 2014 challenge.
Other than the fame, the reporters, people pestering him on the street etc…
“Peter did a magic spell, and it worked fine. With no unintended consequences, and no weird side effects.”
I found this story on Locus Magazine’s 2013 Recommended Reading List, that came out not long ago. It was just the first story on there, that was also online. That sounds like a super random way of picking out a story, but I trust some of the people who put together the list, so I am willing to take some chances. Plus Lightspeed normally has great fiction. And this story was another example of it.
The Master Conjurer is one of those stories that sounds insanely banal if you try to outline the plot, so I will not do that, because it isn’t! The characterisation of Peter is really wonderful and his thinking seems very real. He reminds me of the typical British protagonist, bumbling by, trying his best. Through the eyes of Peter, Rebecca is however so competent and fierce that we as readers know that he is reading a lot into her. I bet she has all her own problems, but we see her though Peter’s eyes and he can’t see them. I really like their relationship and interactions – they are awesome. Not because they are perfect but exactly because they are not!
The Master Conjurer is very much about how unexpected fame can affect us. Peter gets famous for his perfect spell and he really do not want the fame. I think most of us don’t, the ones that do just shout that much louder. I think my reaction to reporters showing up in front of my house would be very much like his.
Ok I will stop talking. I will just say that I really liked the story and I liked Peter as a character. Hmm perhaps he should talk to Emmet Brickowski (from the Lego Movie). The story is really clever and I recommending reading it.
The author: Female, white, USA
The protagonist: Peter, male, straight, paper pusher, able-bodied.
This review was originally posted: February 16, 2014. Updated and edited July 2, 2023