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View of the Milky Way galaxy provided by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
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Jesus raising the dead with a wand,
Roman catacomb, 3rd century

Magic
by Oren Pierce, Guest Editor

“Magic” is not itself a magic word, but just a word to which people attach all sorts of meanings and use to describe a full range of events ranging from the pleasantly unusual, romantic, and gratifying …. through tricks of misdirection and manipulation …. all the way to remote sensing, out-of-body travel, on-the-spot multiplication of loaves and fish, levitation, and what you will.
(Go to Story)

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Endless Coincidence
by David S. Warren

Ricky Jay must be the best known magician after Harry Potter, and one of the best card handlers ever ........ but his own role model , the magician's magician, and the ultimate Expert at the card table, seems to be the great and mysterious S. W. Erdnase.
Or rather, the man who, under that name, wrote the classic book on card handling , which is generally published as "The Expert at the Card table," although the original title was "Artifice, Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table a Treatise on the Science and Art of Manipulating Cards...... " Erdnase enthusiasts in the online magic forums refer to it simply as "The Expert " or "Erdnase", as if the book were the man.
(Go to Story)

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Moly
by Peter Fortunato
From my journal:
I’ve been anxious about a brown blotch that appeared on the left side of
my nose after a day of too much sun in Oman.

(Oman – ah! Mary and I splurged for three nights at the Al Bustan Palace, a resort paradise of palm trees and pools and volcanic stone outcroppings on a cove of the Arabian Sea. Oman – oh! I hiked away alone into the broiling black hills to meditate, the first time in the Arabian desert I had ever been completely solo, my whereabouts unknown. Oman: like “old Arabia,” a sultanate whose history reaches back hundreds of years to the frankincense trade with India and Africa, to caravan routes old as those the magi traveled on their way to Bethlehem.)
(Go to Story)



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Tricks are for kids
by Franklin Crawford

My father was magical from the time I could walk and talk until I could almost print my name. He stopped being magical when he showed me, Doc and Johnny, the Jack n’ Jill game. The performance had stumped me up to that day of disillusionment.
On the steps outside his shop Dad wetted two small pieces of tissue paper with his tongue and placed them delicately on the fingernails of his left and right index fingers. Dad’s index and middle fingers were close to even lengthwise. I don’t know if this served him well as a carpenter, but the were a plus for the Jack n’ Jill stunt. (Go to Story)

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Ambient Music in Science Fiction

by Peter Wetherbee

"Ambient music is a genre of music that puts an emphasis on tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. Ambient music is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual",or "unobtrusive" quality. According to Brian Eno, one of its pioneers, "Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."
(Wikipedia)

The ever-brilliant Bruce Sterling, in his early nov Schismatrix, describes a futuristic musical instrument
that resembles a cross between a digital sampler and a synthesizer. Sterling seems unable to resist a little editorializing which could be relevant to the use of samplers in contemporary ambient, among other genres:
An artificial morning shone through false glass doors. Kitsune sat in thought, toying quietly with
the keys of her synthesizer.( Go to Story)

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Varieties of Magic
by David Rollow

Humans—homo saps, us—appear to have always had a desire to get control over their environment, which threatened their survival. The first group to have any brains got the hell out of Africa (we are coming to understand) in a single migration, in response to some crisis bigger than the Irish potato famine, more than 100,000 years ago. All of us on the planet today, even Australian aborigines, descend from that original flight. Other research has suggested that the group that first entered Europe consisted of only about twenty families, so you can see in both cases how tall the odds against survival were for these mutants, yet they survived and here we are. (Go to Story)
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Surrounded by

by Sue-Ryn

The abundance of harvest season is a heady experience. The fruits of one’s labors do literally pile up in buckets, baskets, and drying bunches; the miracle of those gritty little seeds made manifest.
The transition from green to all the other colors only ads to the magic. Different scents come up from misty mornings and dry afternoons. The summer was extremely hot around this region and all of nature seems to be enjoying the shift to cooler days and nights and occasional showers.
Recently while escorting my eighteen month old great nephew, Zeke, on a short hill climb in the park, we came upon a purple-leaved tree. Purple, not just a shade maroon.
(Go to Story)


Dr. King's Lucky Book

by Professor Booknoodle, Phud

Humans—homo saps, us—appear to have always had a desire to get control over their environment, which threatened their survival

. The first group to have any brains got the hell out of Africa (we are coming to understand) in a single migration, in response to some crisis bigger than the Irish potato famine, more than 100,000 years ago. All of us on the planet today, even Australian aborigines, descend from that original flight. Other research has suggested that the group that first entered Europe consisted of only about twenty families, so you can see in both cases how tall the odds against survival were for these mutants, yet they survived and here we are. (Go to Story)

Just Add Water
by Georgia Warren

There are different kinds of water, there are different states of water, there is healthy, potable water, there is poisonous water. One over lying truth: Life on this planet depends on the existence of water. Without water there is nothing. No living beings, no plant life, no spores, no thing but igneous rock.

Why do we feel better by lakes, the ocean, water falls or after a cleansing rain?
(Go to Story)
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Natural Bone
excerpts from
Chapters 7 & 8
by David S. Warren

Where We Are Now:
Natural Bone

Remarkably, no one but its original founder Noah Davey really knew how the village of Natural Bone got its name, and Noah Davey was so old that he should have long since been dead, but still had his store there, although not one of the village residents patronized it and Noah Davy was not a generous source of information. Davy’s store was near the spot where the acid red Oswegatchie River flowed off the granite and ate through the limestone for a ways through a maze of caverns, the main chanel of which popped up in a spring hole not far from the store. The initial section of the caverns could be traveled by a poled boat, and in the past Davy had hired boys to conduct tours for a few people at a time. But no more.
The going businesses of Natural Bone were the talc mine, The Long Horn Saloon, MeKewen’s Barber Shop / Luncheonette, and
three Mink Ranches.

(Go to Story)

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In the Cards
by Annie Cambell

I joined some old friends on a different paint crew. We usually ate lunch at Noyes Lodge: a big cafeteria on the Cornell Campus. During lunch one day, I was introduced to Ricky, an eccentric magician with devilish smiling eyes. He sat hunched over his food, complaining that life was “a beating” and that he had no place to live. He carried on a rapid discourse about life and magic while constantly flipping a quarter smoothly and expertly over and under his fingers. Sometimes the coin disappeared into thin air, sometimes he magically retrieved it behind my ear.

I imagined what fun it would be to have a magician around the house and said, “You can stay at my house if you don’t mind kids.”

“I hate kids,” Ricky cackled,
“but I would love to stay there."

(Go to Story)
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A Dream
by Chris MacCormick

I was walking with a friend in a familiar village. The day was handsome, open and warm, and we were just going along. 
On a board fence we noticed a poster that looked like a square-dance or boxing handbill—raw letters, some of the lines in boldface—and went over to read it. It said that Jesus had come back and was going to perform three miracles that afternoon at the softball field at the edge of town. It seemed preposterous; but having nothing else to compel our interest, we headed in that direction.

(Go to Story)
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Nice Girl
by Mary Gilliland

You want me to be seen
not heard. You fear
the unforeseen: blossoms
might freeze or squirrels
eat the fruit. You are so
reasonable, seeking only
the best: no interest or late
penalties, boring magazines
to quiet your heart. Under
the smile that dares not say
the wrong thing a nasty
shout is rumbling. I won't
sit in the air and suffocate.
The tree is so laden
with pears some will fall
in my lap. I do not say
please take your hands
from my throat. I crack
your elbows like dry brush,
break your wrist as cleanly
as a dead magician's wand.

 

Mary Gilliland
172 Pearsall Place
Ithaca, NY 14850
mg24@cornell.edu

'Nice Girl' first appeared in
The Greenfield Review 14, 3/4 (1987)

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One Last
Glorious Gift
From Shirley
by Corbie Mitleid

...“Someone told me today that this was her funeral, and that she had died in February. I was stunned. I mean, I hadn’t seen a lot of her and I knew she hadn’t been feeling well… but…

“I saw Shirley in her garden, and it was four or five weeks ago. It was about 10:30 at night, and I saw Shirley walking around in her back yard, in her bathrobe. So I went down and asked if everything was all right.

(Go to Story)

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