TRAFFICKING IN MAGIC, MAGICKING IN TRAFFIC, ed. by David Sklar and Sarah Avery. Fantastic Books (www.FantasticBooks.biz), 2014, 263 pp., $15.99. ISBN 978-1-61720-945-1. Click here to purchase.
This anthology has a promise of 18 magical tales of travel and transactions.
“White Feathers” by Heather Stearns. A lonely man meets a goose - well, a goose that can transform itself as a shapeshifter, an Other, into a beautiful and frightened woman. The goose/woman is on the run from captors and needs his help to hide from them.
“Pennies From Hell” by Darrell Schweitzer. This Faustian story follows the brilliant but plagued-by-doom and near-ending career of brilliant comic artist Joe Eisenberg with his “Miracles of Saint Toad” Series and his reliance on the Faustian deal - success at the strength of a picked-up penny. There’s always, in the end, the devil to pay.
“Ghost Diamonds” by Scott Hungerford. For souls trapped in gems, one lady vows to usurp the perpetrator and return the soul of her dead aunt, and many more captured souls, to safety.
“Only a Week” by Joyce Chng. There are spells, incantations, and special potions that wreak good or evil in measure. But Lian Hua, who calls herself Lotus, depends on her beauty for her trade. The special magical stuff in a locked box kept by Grandfather may hold a key to youth. That is, a key to youth if taken by careful prescription by someone with patience. Sadly, Lian has neither.
“Boney Fingers” by Deirdre M. Murphy. Anna, a street musician, plays a song to trap and destroy a goon creature - what became of the artist who wrote the very song the creature wants to hear, “Boney Fingers.”
“War Beneath the World” by James Enge. Poet Vergil is called by his ruler to quench the bad dreams everyone has. But in order to do so, Vergil has to descend into hell to make some deals.
“Middle-Aged Weirdo in a Cadillac” by George R. Galuschak. A girl who has “escaped” a bad party ends up talking to a weird guy in a Cadillac who wants her to come along, needing directions to the interstate. At this point of her low life she doesn’t care what happens, really. The man just needs to get back to Hades. Along the way, in return for her help, he may be able to help her. Trade is fair, here - or wherever.