This week's Friday Five guest is Johann Thorsson. He blogs at jthorsson.com and bookriot.com and spends far too much time on Twitter, clever disguised as @johannthors. And, with no further ado, let's hand over...
I recently made a vow to myself to read more books by women, in part to overcome my own bias towards books by white guys (which is, I fear, the default setting for many of us). And, in the process, I read a whole heap of great books - including some terrific recent collections.
So, to help encourage everyone to try out some new authors, I wanted to share some of the stories I found.
From Gifts for The One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall
Sayer Sandifer is a twelve year old magician who, unfortunately, has none of the attributes one would think were necessary to be a good at magic. Instead, he has stubby fingers, a stutter, bad timing and no assistant. But he nonetheless manages to gather a crowd and, one afternoon, at the end of a rather bad show, some unfortunate true magic happens and Sayer disappears into his hat. But Helen Marshall is clever, and this is just the beginning of the story, which ends with something bad happening. But I’m not allowed to tell you what that bad thing is... It’s a story that makes you laugh at first, and then shakes you to the core.
Read it if you like: subtle, funny stories with a dark twist of fantasy.