M Is for Magic

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M Is for Magic: Stories

M Is for Magic - Hardcover - USA - 2007 - HarperCollins - 1st Edition.jpg

Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.

Author Neil Gaiman
Published 2007-06-06
Type Fiction, Anthology
Genre Fantasy
Themes Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy
Age Group Adult

M Is for Magic: Stories is an anthology of short stories written by Neil Gaiman, published on 2007-06-06. Despite the book's theme implying it's for children, most of the subject matter is more appropriate for teens and adults. The Spanish title is much more accurate which translates to, "the cemetery without tombstones and other black stories." Nearly all of the stories in the book were previously published in Gaimen's earlier anthologies.


Read?Audiobook read by Neil Gaiman.

Wanting to read another Gaiman book, I started this one without even checking to see what it was about. I was a bit annoyed to learn with was just an anthology of short stories that had already been published in previous anthologies, however, half of the stories were new to me at least, so it wasn't a total loss.


Title Notes
"The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds" A hard boiled crime story set in the world of fairy tales. The juxtaposition of the two genres made me laugh out loud multiple times.
"Troll Bridge" A tale about a little boy who meets a hungry bridge troll that will spare his life if he promises to return to be eaten when he's older.
"Don't Ask Jack" A cursed jack-in-the-box drives a family mad. Mildly creepy, but too short.
"How to Sell the Ponti Bridge" A con artist tells the story of how he scammed a bunch of aristocrats into buying a bridge. It was okay.
"October in the Chair" See my description in Fragile Things.
"Chivalry" An old woman finds the Holy Grail at a secondhand shop in the UK and buys it for her mantle, but Lancelot of Arthurian times comes seeking it. Silly, but still heart-felt.
"The Price" A story about the stray cats that show up at the author's house, and how one in particular protects his family from evil. It was okay.
"How to Talk to Girls at Parties" See my description in Fragile Things.
"Sunbird" See my description in Fragile Things.
"The Witch's Headstone" Preview segment from The Graveyard Book.
"Instructions" See my description in Fragile Things.




— This section contains spoilers! —


  • All of the included stories were good, some were great.


  • Nothing.


  • Nine of the eleven stories in this book were already printed in a previous anthologies, four were printed less than a year earlier in Fragile Things, and one was just a preview of an upcoming book, much of which won't make sense to the reader because it's pulled from the middle of the book. This would be like buying a band's latest "Greatest Hits" album and discovering that nearly all of songs were published on the previous Greatest Hits albums you already own. It was really quite disappointing.



Strong female character?PassLiza Hempstock is a fairly strong character in "The Witch's Headstone."
Bechdel test?PassThere are some women who chat with each other briefly "October in the Chair."
Strong person of color character?FailBlack teens are briefly mentioned in "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," but nobody is strong.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


  • It is good for children to find themselves facing the elements of a fairy tale - they are well-equipped to deal with these
  • I fell for her like a suicide from a bridge.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English M Is for Magic
Spanish El cementerio sin lápidas y otras historias negras El cementerio sin lapidas y otras historias negras The cemetery without tombstones and other black stories


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