The Best of the Mage (Page 58 and 59)


Dublin Core


The Best of the Mage (Page 58 and 59)


Science Fiction


These pages describe the end story of Blessed Are Those... by William P. Cunningham and the beginning story of Auguries: Commentary and Reviews by Gregory Forbes explaining in detail about The Roots of Fantasy and Children's Books.


Rizky Suwoto


The Best of the Mage (Number 8, Fall 1987)


Colgate University Student Association


Fall 1987


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The Mage#2, Spring 1985
The Mage#3, Summer 1985






Science Fiction

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his laces, "But last night I lost my hat and I have to go look for it now." He jumped up and looked for his hound's tooth jacket, talking more or less to himself, "No telling who found it. Maybe no one found it, yeah, maybe it's in the gutter! Yeah!" "Let's get this straight," Beth said, ticking away with her fingers, "You jump out of bed like it's on fire because you want to look for some hat, right?" Holding up his index finger the Mage inteijected, "Find. I want to fmd the hat, not look for it." "Okay, sounds great. Give me a minute and I'll come along." Features set determinedly, the Mage started in an almost lecturing tone, "Please, please don't take offense to this, but I can cover more ground alone, if you don't mind." "Mind? Why should I mind? Beth threw off the sheets and started to pull on her clothes. Her tone took the Mage aback and he could only stand there and watch Beth get dressed. "But I'll tell you one thing, no offense: you are a major flake. Don't worry, though, you were great in bed. That must be some consolation in your insanity." The Mage was seriously considering letting her come with him when there was a knock on the door. He strode over and opened it and his jaw dropped. This was a day for surprises. A terribly dressed man was standing there outside his door, wearing the hat and wishing him a good day. The former bum spoke, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have used your name. It's impolite." The Mage found his voice and said carefully, "Ah, quite all right. I mean, er. Come in, Mister, ah, I didn't catch your name?" The serene man entered and
smiled, "I didn't give it. I too don't give my name out very easily." Wondering if he had the strength to do serious arcane battle, the Mage wondered what effect a good kick in the nuts might have on this new player. "Well, since you know my name, go on and use it. So few people know it anymore, and none of them live in this city." The smiling man saw Beth (who was now dressed and staring at him), raised an eyebrow and said, "Not quite right. I know of at least three other people in the city who know your name, though they might not know you are in the area." Seeing the tension in the Mage, he continued, "Don't worry, I'm not here to cause trouble." He gave a brief sketch of what had happened to him. Stroking his beard, the Mage said, ''The library, huh?" He resisted looking at his watch and wondered when the place closed. "So you're a good guy. That's a load off my mind. Now why are you here and what are you going to do with my hat?'' The shabby man sighed, "Your hat? What would Merlin have said about that?" Frowning, the Mage said, "Don't talk about my relatives like that." Ignoring this, the man continued, "I am here, sir, to give the hat back to you. I have no further use for it and I believe that you do." I can't believe this day, the Mage thought. Out loud, he said slowly, . "If you could find me, you must know what that would mean?'' The man nodded, "Yes, but as I have said, my son, I have no further need of it." At that, he took off the hat, handed it to the Mage and with a fmal smile at
Beth, still standing there by the bed, left the apartment. "And who," asked Beth, "was that?" The Mage went over to the small bar near the kitchen, poured a shot of Cutty Sark and thought a minute before answering, "I do believe that was the first saint I have seen in a long, long time." Beth did not bother to reply and the Mage barely noticed the slamming of the door.
*** A few weeks passed and Beth went to class, dated, and generally lived her life, not thinking too much about a certain crazy old man. Walking down the street one afternoon, she saw the shabby begger roaming the streets. She went up to him as he stood on a comer and asked, "How's old Wizy doing?" But he did not answer and, though his face was calm, the look in his eyes was distant, locked on some strange thought or other. He looked through her. Staring at him as he shambled away, she noticed a piece of paper gripped lightly in his hand and she wondered what it was. Later, ather Aunt's apartment, she was having a dreary conversation with a computer analyst, who would only drink distilled water, when she glanced out the window at the sunset. Very faint, and only visible because of the angle and color of the light, a bearded face seemed to be etched in the glass. Seeing the analyst alone when she came back to the room, Auntie asked where her niece had gone. He shrugged. "I don't know. But she ran out of here like her pants were on fire."
Auguries: Commentary and Reviews
by Gregory Forbes
The Roots of Fantasy (from The Mage #2, Spring 1985)
This is the first column in what I hope will be a regular series of speculations, ruminations, and pontifications (I'll try to keep the latter to a minimum) combined with reviews of new and old publications in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. Before I present my thoughts on the books I am reviewing in this issue, please indulge me in my literary crusade of the hour. Perhaps one of the most instructive and constructive things which any science fiction or fantasy devotee can do is break away from the material at the forefront of the genre from time to time and acquaint himself or herself with some of those dusty old classics to which writers and readers of any current literature owe such a great debt. Now before you get indignant at a suggestion which appears to advocate a re-reading of such high school nemeses as Moby Dick and The Scarlet Letter, let me assure you that what I have in mind will be much more enjoyable and a bit more related to fantasy. Every literate person absolutely must become acquainted with the work of Sir Walter Scott. Most people who have read anything by Scott are most likely to be familiar with Ivanhoe. This is a masterful piece of romantic fiction (probably why it is his most popular novel), but is less than ideal as an introduction to the author's works in general. Many potential Scott fans have been turned away by Ivanhoe's elaborate plot, period dialogue, and the sheer bulk of the book thrust upon their unguarded sensibilities. Allow me to recommend The Talisman to anyone for whom the above applies. This book is Ivanhoe's younger brother; and at about half the
length it is a perfect introduction to Scott. The Talisman takes place during King Richard's Crusade and is set in the Holy Land. The plot is easy to follow, involving intrigue with knightserrant, lords in disguise, fair maidens in distress, etc. Adding medieval flavor to a story is something in which Scott is unparalleded; and in The Talisman, this flavor doesn't make the story slow or incomprehensible. Although Scott was writing in the early nineteenth century, I don't think an ancestral connection drawn between his romantic fiction and today's fantasy genre would be out of line in the least. The Talisman has as many supernatural storms, ghosts, and mad conjuror monks hidden in caves as any modem fantasy novel. Another Scott novel not to be overlooked in a discussion of fantasy's progenitors is the little-known Anne of Geierstein. This is the formula from which every other classic fantasy was written and no one has ever done it with more grace, style, and imagination than the mighty Scott. By the time I had read The Talisman, Ivanhoe, and Anne of Geierstein I was hooked for life. In the past three years I've read twelve of Scott's twentyseven novels as well as all of his epic poetry, including such unrivalled masterworks as "The Lady of the Lake," "Marmion," and ''The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Anyone who claims to be a fan of adventure, fantasy, or heroic literature cannot go long without reading something by Sir Walter Scott, the first master of the field.
Children's Books (from The Mage #3, Summer 1985)
I would like to take this opportunity to continue the trend I began in my last column: guiding science fiction and fantasy readers back to their roots. When was the last time you browsed through the science fiction section in the children's room at the library? If the answer is "never" or "not since I was old enough to begin checking out adult books" then you are way overdue. Those shelves full of Andre Norton,. John Christopher and Madeline L 'Engle were where I first learned to love a literature that has since become something of an obsession. More often lately I have found myself returning to those shelves and relearning the charm in science fiction. The simplicity and unadorned beauty of the science fiction and fantasy that is written for children is a magically refreshing change from confusing meta
phors, overbearing morals, and dark and depressing visions of the future which have come to characterize modem social-consciousness science fiction. Not only are the children's books satisfying distractions from the norm of the genre, they often contain insightful messages which can be a great deal of fun for adult readers to find and explore. The distinguishing characteristic of children's science fiction is its humanity, an element often missing in adult oriented science fiction. The plots of the children's classics are most often based around pure, strong emotions: friendship or frustration, love or fear, sometimes depicted to the point of exaggeration to make it more palpable on the page. One of the most talented of all the children's science fiction writers and certainly one of the most

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