As I write this, we have just under 36 hours to go in the Kickstarter for Schoolbooks & Sorcery, and I am excited beyond measure. Not only have we hit our funding goal and first stretch goal, but we’ve reached several other milestones in the past few days. Folks, we get to add an all-new Magic University story by Cecilia Tan. And what excites me even more is that we’re going to be able to open up submissions for a few more stories to help enhance our table of contents. Watch this space for details, coming very soon…
Don’t forget, we still have the option to add a set of gorgeous watercolor buttons, either as a specific pledge, or as an add-on. (i.e. if you want them, add $20 to your existing pledge and message me to make sure I know what it’s for.)
Additionally, if you decide you want multiple copies for whatever reason, message me and we can work something out.
Because I’m so happy, I’m going to share another excerpt, this one from “The Chosen One,” by Katrina Nicholson. Despite the rather straight-forward title, this story is anything but obvious… and I think it’s pretty darn cool.
“Sulfur Hexafluoride is six times heavier than air and has been known to suffocate people who play with it by displacing the air in their lungs,” René’s teacher warned. “As a mage, one of the ways you could save them would be to change the molecular weight of the gas and make it lighter than air. This is the principle upon which mage-built airships work.”
René stared at the tank of sulfur hexafluoride. He imagined himself strutting down the hall as classes let out for the day. Tall. Handsome. Rugged whiskers. Skin like dark chocolate. He’d toss back his corkscrew curls, cock a finger, and say ‘hey baby’ in the voice of James Earl Jones. The girls would swoon. Probably half the boys, too. René wasn’t picky. He drew the line at teachers, though.
There was nothing he could do about his big ears, buzz cut, baby face, or the fact that he had a fair amount of milk in his chocolate, but the voice? That’s what sulfur hexafluoride was for.
Monsieur Jean-Baptiste turned away from writing the chemical composition on the white board. He was trendy and dark, with a shaved head and a close-cropped goatee. He was young, but his sharp eyes zeroed in on René like he could mind read dumb ideas. René folded his hands on the lab bench and pretended to pay attention.
Monsieur Jean-Baptiste turned back to the board and began to rearrange the elements on the periodic table as he explained the unintentional havoc a mage could unleash if he failed to pay attention in chemistry class. René scanned the classroom. The other students all had their mage-built remembersheets out, dutifully taking notes with their fingernails.
René grabbed the tank of gas. He wasn’t a mage yet – he still had two more years before his eighteenth birthday – and his chemistry teacher would never be, but he wasn’t worried. Magic chose people from magical families. Nobody really agreed on how. Catholics said it was angels. Muslims thought it was the will of Allah acting through prophets. Scientists argued over whether mages’ different DNA made them mutants or aliens. However it happened, the rule was one mage parent, one kid chosen by magic. That’s why the ordinaires, or regular Haitians, called mages l’élu – the chosen ones. Because a lot of mageborn got passed over and ended up teaching pre-mage classes or doing boring regular jobs.
René was sure that wouldn’t happen to him. Both his parents were mages and he only had one brother. The magic had to choose him. And if he put his life in danger now, it would Break early and save him. His classmate Nicola had skipped straight from second year prépas to Port-au-Prince’s Grande École de Magie after her house fell on her in the big earthquake.
One puff of sulfur hexafluoride and it’d be just like his dad described. Suddenly he would feel like anything was possible – because it was. He stuck the nozzle in his mouth and cranked the valve open.
A heck of a place to leave off, right? You know where to find the rest…