Deal Me In, Week 14 ~ “16 Mins.”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“16 Mins.” by Eric Lustbader

Card picked: Two of Hearts

From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination

Review: Finally, a story with a magician! My hope with these Copperfield-edited anthologies was that there’d be stories with magician characters. This is the 9th from the anthologies that I’ve read, the second penned by Eric Lustbader, and, finally, a magician!

The 16 Mins of the title is a reference to Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame quote. The narrator (do I ever learn her name? *skims story* I don’t think I do) is a young woman with a very special talent. She can make things disappear, briefly, and reappear somewhere else. She takes a no-name magician under her wing and recreates him as Randy Gold, the world’s greatest escape artist since Houdini. Unfortunately, Lustbader gives meaning to “fame monster.”

The narrative is laid out pretty simply. I liked that Lustbader held back the exact method of Randy’s signature escape until the end of the story; it gave it a “how *are* they doing it” aspect. The narrator compares herself with Henry Higgins (or rather Rex Harrison) in My Fair Lady, but really she’s the one with the really sucky, abusive past. Randy, formerly Ralph, was just a mediocre magician that was resign to that life.

Is This Your Card?

I’m on a roll picking stories with associated card tricks!

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8 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 14 ~ “16 Mins.”

    1. This is probably one of the best “ambitious card” routines I’ve seen. Bring a card to the top of the deck once is good. Over and over during an eight minute performance? That’s darn impressive.

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 14 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read a short story involving a magician (not counting fantasy sorcerers,) although there are a few full-length novels, such as The Prestige by Christopher Priest. Googling for short stories with stage magicians in turned up a very few, but I’d never heard of any of them. I would think that both vaudeville in its heyday and Vegas would inspire more magician-themed stories than actually seem to be floating around.

  3. Hi Katherine,

    I’ll join the chorus and admit I can’t think of any magician stories I’ve encountered in my “vast” (ha ha) short story readings. I do remember an odd Somerset Maugham short novel titled “The Magician” that I read once. It was pretty good as I recall; maybe you’d enjoy it.

    I remember back at the start of DMI 2014 seeing your sources included those David Copperfield story collections and thinking, “I bet that’ll be a great source,” but it seems you’ve had several that were a little disappointing(?) Maybe DC should stick to the stage…

    -Jay

    1. I’ll have to check out the Maugham. I’m slowly building quite a magic/carnie/spiritualism bibliography. I have high hopes for this week’s story. A title like “Disillusion” is ripe for a good play on words.

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