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168 pages, Kindle Edition
First published July 1, 2019
Looking at Meg, Angie sees herself in the mirror. The Magician pulled a trick on both of them, sleight of hand. They should have been looking one direction, but he’d convinced them to look elsewhere as he vanished their names like a card up his sleeve, tucked them into a cabinet painted with stars so they emerged transformed — a dove, a bouquet of flowers, a Resurrectionist, a ghost.A.C. Wise has a deft way with words and an understanding of human nature and our weaknesses. I do question whether "How the Trick is Done" is a bittersweet, insightful tale.
“How many people can say they were there the night the trick went wrong and the Magician died on stage?“Have you ever watched a magic trick onstage and wished that the answer to how the trick was done could be simply: real magic? I certainly have. It’s the case here. The Magician habitually dies on stage as a part of his Bullet-Catch-Death-Cheat trick. He is habitually brought back to life (behind the scenes, of course) by his Resurrectionist girlfriend Angie, the one who quietly does the real work.
“He never once allowed himself to think about the thousand huge and tiny things had to go right for the trick to work, or that only one had to go wrong. After all, the Resurrectionist pulled it off night after night—how hard could it be?”But one day he dies for real. This is the opening scene, and the rest of the story is why and how we got there, while we already know the ending (or the beginning in this case).
“The Magician had already moved on, his head too full of plans for his own death and return, overfull with confidence not in her abilities, but that he was too important to properly die.”Comeuppance is usually nice, sure. But the punishment needs to fit the crime. To me it seems like quite a bit of an overkill, like a bunch of unlikeable resentful whiners taking revenge on an unlikeable callous asshole. Or they could have moved on, you know, instead of basically a homicide, and none of them can even take the responsibility of pulling the trigger, just casually making an unsuspecting innocent person a murderer. The fuck? The story obviously wants us to root for Angie, Meg and Rory, but being an asshole is not enough to justify a murder.
2019 Nebula Award Finalists
“See if you can figure out how the trick is done, this time all on your own.”