The Mammoth Book Of Dark Magic edited by Mike Ashley, part 2
The Rite stuff
A locked room murder mystery set in a magic AU San Francisco full of portentousness and ingrained stoicism. Dull.
Master Of Chaos
A hackneyed dated tale of a barbarian on a quest and a theatrically appalled sorceress. Outmoded in every way.
Seven Drops Of Blood
A new age detective is asked to look for the Holy Grail. This is not cool and subversive as he attempts effective de-escalation techniques. This was like a wet sponge soaked in dish water.
“He’ll carve out your heart. With his fingernails.”
“He didn't like the sound of that remark.”
To Become A Sorcerer
An overly long tale of an aesthetically sensitive boy and his insular anxieties over his evil father in ancient Egypt. Ok.
No. 252 Rue M. Le Prince
Two hobbledehoys look into a haunted house in Paris’ gilded age. Fervently dull.
“I wish doors wouldn’t slam in houses that have been empty eleven months.”
The Bones of the Earth
A dull tale of ‘Earthsea’.
The Closed Window
An MR James like story. Dull.
“Claudit Et Nemo Aperit.”
A spoilt pampered witch whines about her lot. Boring.
In The Realm of Dragons
By Esther M Friesner. A boy who is overly close to his uncle looks for his killers. This was not inventive.
“She made it mean things.”
By Tim Lebbon. A solider tries to escape the mages he serves. Derivative.
The Wizard of Ashes and Rain
A girl has to save her sister as a high fantasy plays out in modern day San Francisco, but her martyr mother doesn’t make it easy. Ok.
“Why won’t any of you do anything? Why won’t any of you even try?”
The Walker Behind
A mage who has to pretend to be a man fights evil. Dull.
The Last Witch
A little girl is a witch. This is okay even if it is kind of sexist.
“It was like being confronted by a life-size Barbie in kill mode.”
A tale of a monastery of evil magicians. This was dark and excellent.
“Don’t say it. Not in jest, not in heat, not under any circumstances”
The Eternal Altercation
A man hops on a train and nothing of note takes place. Awful.