Friday, September 29, 2006

The Magic Toybox

Sorry for the mistake in the e-mail but this is a review of a short story in the book The Magic Toybox.

Hello everyone and happy Friday!
I’m looking forward to some reading and writing for the weekend. Just to let you know I just finished reading an awesome short story by Oklahoma author Mel Odom. If you’ve been reading some of my past posts you’ll notice a couple of posts mentioning him. To answer your probable thoughts, no I’m not a stalker. He’s a good friend, excellent writing teacher, and you can tell if you ever meet him, he’s just a down to earth guy who inspires people to do what they are afraid to do, which in my case is to write. Back to the short story…

The name of the story is The Affair of The Wooden Boy. It’s in an anthology of 14 short stories called The Magic Toybox, published by Daw. The stories are primarily, you guessed it, about toys.

Mel’s story is set in a "Victorian London-like" city brimming with characters and scenery from the horror genre. Simon, who is modeled after Pinocchio, finds himself transformed into a wooden puppet by means of a mysterious and evil magic. Searching for help on the same snowy night of his transformation, Simon ends up on the doorstep of Lord Gallatin, Private Enquiry Agent who is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. Together with his wife Lady Gallatin they track down the magician and the reason for transforming young Simon into a wooden puppet.

The only things I had a problem grasping were a few of the fantasy type props sprinkled throughout the tale, but I’m sure it’s because I’ve never read fantasy. I will now.

This story has an absolute stunning twist at the end that I wasn’t prepared for. I enjoyed the horror / fantasy mix, and especially the setting. Mel does a great job pulling you into the story with three-dimensional characterization, great dialogue, and a solid plot. Did I mention setting? I loved the Londenesque landscape of the city. I felt like I was really there.

Have a great weekend,