Friday, September 2, 2016

The Green-Eyed Boy, by Peter S. Beagle

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(High Fantasy) The old magician rarely takes students, but young Schmendrick has so much potential--if he could just make his spells come out right. (5,749 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Recommended
Recommended By: SFRevu:5 GDozois:4

Although this is set in the world of "The Last Unicorn," I found that it stood alone just fine.

"The Green-Eyed Boy," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 09-10|16, published on by .

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

Pro: This is the story of how Schmendrick became a man. The narrator signals as much when he concludes with "that is all I know of his youth," because from that point, he wasn't a boy anymore.

The narrator had told us earlier that learning humility was the key to being a wizard, so when Schmendrick says, "others will learn what they must from glory--I from failure," we know he's got it.

For the most part, the story is light and humorous, but it manages a bit of tension when we wait to see what sort of spell he's going to produce to impress Sardana. Then it's funny all over again when she gets over being terrified and switching to consoling him for his failure.

Although this is set in the world of "The Last Unicorn," I found that it stood alone just fine.

Con: The story punctures almost every bit of tension by telling us how everything ended up all right before relating the events.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 09-10|16)
Peter S. Beagle Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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6 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Where can I buy these stories about Schmendrick?!? They're not even available on Amazon!!!!

    1. If you click "find this issue" under the image of the magazine cover, you'll find instructions on how to buy or borrow a copy of this issue of F&SF.

  2. I rate it ★★★, one less than RSR. I haven't read "The Last Unicorn" so this story -- with its mentions by the narrator of Schmendrick's later fame -- felt a bit like attending the funeral of a famous person I don't know. If you take those references away, it's a nice little story that doesn't stand out enough for a higher rating.

  3. I loved this story so much! I ordered the back issue just to read it and I wasn't dissapointed

    1. I'm glad that worked for you. I liked it enough that I bought the original novel and read it for the first time.