Magic for Beginners (novella)

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"Magic for Beginners" is a fantasy novella by American writer Kelly Link. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in September 2005. It was subsequently published in Link's collection of the same name,[1] as well as in her collection Pretty Monsters,[2] in the 2007 Nebula Award Showcase,[3] and in the John Joseph Adams-edited anthology "Other Worlds Than These".[4]


Jeremy Mars is a young teenager who (like many of his friends) is a fan of — and also a character in — a mysterious television program called "The Library". The story follows his life, and those of his friends and family, as various episodes of "The Library" are broadcast at irregular intervals.


"Magic for Beginners" won the 2006 Nebula Award for Best Novella,[5] the 2005 BSFA Award for Short Fiction,[6] and the 2006 Locus Award for Best Novella,[7] and was nominated for the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Novella,[8] the 2006 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella,[9] and the 2006 Theodore Sturgeon Award.[10]

Nancy Pearl compared "Magic for Beginners" to M.C. Escher's Drawing Hands, saying that it is "intricate, wildly imaginative and totally wonderful".[11] Cory Doctorow called it the "standout" story in Link's 2006 similarly-titled anthology, describing it as "absurdist magic realism, like Douglas Coupland wandering through a Marquez novel".[12] At the SF Site, Rich Horton stated that "Beginners" was "one of (his) favorite stories of this decade", and "a delight",[13] while at Subterranean Press Magazine, Dorman T. Shindler compared it to being mildly intoxicated.[3]


  1. ^ Magic for Beginners at; retrieved 15 May 2014
  2. ^ Pretty Monsters, at; retrieved 15 May 2014
  3. ^ a b Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 edited by Mike Resnick, by Dorman T. Shindler, at Subterranean Press; published Spring 2007; retrieved May 15, 2014; "“Magic For Beginners” is a bemused, slightly distant narrative (in an I got a great buzz from that beer/joint or whatever way)"
  4. ^ Table of Contents: Other Worlds Than These, at; retrieved May 15, 2014
  5. ^ Nebula Awards Winners, at Locus; published 6 May 2006; retrieved 15 May 2014
  6. ^ BSFA Awards, at the British Science Fiction Association; retrieved May 15, 2014
  7. ^ Locus Awards Winners, at Locus; published 17 June 2006; retrieved 15 May 2014
  8. ^ 2006 Hugo Awards Nominations, at SF Signal, by John DeNardo; published 22 March 2006; retrieved 15 March 2014
  9. ^ 2006 World Fantasy Awards Ballot Archived 2007-07-22 at the Wayback Machine, at the World Fantasy Convention, published 2006; retrieved 15 May 2014
  10. ^ The Theodore Sturgeon Award, at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction; published no later than Archived 2012-11-19 at WebCite; retrieved May 15, 2014
  11. ^ Under the Radar: Books Not to Miss, by Nancy Pearl; at National Public Radio; published 8 May 2007; retrieved 15 May 2014
  12. ^ Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners" - knockout short story collection, by Cory Doctorow, at Boing Boing; published February 7, 2006; retrieved May 15, 2014
  13. ^ Featured Review: Pretty Monsters, by Rich Horton, at the SF Site; published 2009; retrieved May 15, 2014