To Baldeziwurlekistanians, dog is a delicacy

With short stories it’s a short distance between the fascinating and the simply pointless. With little time to build characters or plots, the focus is often on cleverness, confusion and mood. Something weird and moody happens. Then it gets weirder and moodier. THE END.

Kelly Link illustrates this problem with Magic for Beginners. The two stories I finished are original and well written, possibly even brilliant. But it’s a kind of brilliance that does little for me. The stories are merely .. inventive. Pointless. I’m not looking for a moral, or adventure, just something to pull me in. It’s not far off, it just doesn’t click.

I’ve read a lot of bad short stories by writers who want to be Ray Bradbury, but that isn’t the problem here. Kelly Link follows that same genre-agnostic SF tradition, but unlike just about everybody else she does it really well. If you are going to read a modern SF short story collection, it should probably be this one. It’s won her prizes and a lot of fans.

But how about trying some older stories instead?

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