The Court Magician – Sarah Pinsker

Lightspeed Magazine, January 2018

The Court Magician is a 2019 Hugo Awards finalist in the Best Short Story category.

“The Guild is for magicians who feel the need to compete with each other. The Palace trains magicians who feel compelled to compete against themselves.”

This story haunted me when I first read it a few months ago and I’m not sure why I only gave it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ at the time. All day I’ve been bingeing on the finalists in this Hugo Award category and I purposely left this story to last, remembering how much I enjoyed it the first time I read it.

I adore underdogs who set out to achieve whatever they dream of through sheer determination and persistence. I smile with glee when an author writes a story that lulls me into a sense of safety before pulling the rug from under me with a twist that is at once brutal and brilliant. I‘m surprised when an unnamed character finds their way into my heart in only a few short pages. I will always want to read about magic. I love that I enjoyed this story even more the second time I read it.

You can read this short story online here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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