Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Things You Can Buy for a Penny, by Will Kaufman

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2015; 4,198 words
Rating: 5, Award-worthy  Recommended By: io9 Locus SFRevu:4

If you are desperate, visit the burned-out cottage by moonlight, find the forbidden well where the wet gentleman lurks. If you give him a penny, he might grant your wish.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

This is the story of how the Wet Gentleman won his freedom. How he found a worthy and deserving successor.

The Wet Gentleman isn't the devil; he dealt fairly with Ma and didn't cheat her boys. He gave the Miser what he deserved. Susanne got a mixed deal, and Theo probably never knew what he really gave the Wet Gentleman. It's a nice touch that everyone turned down his initial offer. No one (except Tim) had a wish aimed at benefiting him/herself directly.

Tim is a rather peculiar boy who doesn't much like the company of people. It took no magic to get him to come and ask for it. He'll make a good wet gentleman.

Moral: You will pay for what you get, one way or another, and a penny alone doesn't buy much. If it seems too good to be true, walk away.

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Thanks for this recommendation! I found the story through this review, and loved the hell out of it. I've been sharing it left and right since then; it's dark, rich, fun, and a great story to share with friends.

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  2. A tricky story that made me read it twice to understand why it was recommended by you, io9, Locus, and SFRevu. It's probably because fantasy isn't my favorite genre and the repetitive fairy tale style made me skim it more than I should have. However, your analysis helped me see the clever ending on my second pass and enjoy it.

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