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A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies

Alix E. Harrow

Hugo Award-winning and Nebula, Eugie, and World Fantasy Award-nominated Short Story

This story originally appeared in Apex Magazine, Issue 105, February 2018. The story is included in the anthology The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Thirteen (2019), edited by Jonathan Strahan.

Read the full story for free at Apex.

A Hat Full of Sky

Discworld: Book 32

Terry Pratchett

Something is coming after Tiffany ...

Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic -- not chores and ill-tempered nanny goats! Surely there must be more to witchcraft than this!

What Tiffany doesn't know is that an insidious, disembodied creature is pursuing her. This time, neither Mistress Weatherwax (the greatest witch in the world) nor the fierce, six-inch-high Wee Free Men can protect her. In the end, it will take all of Tiffany's inner strength to save herself ... if it can be done at all.

I Shall Wear Midnight

Discworld: Book 38

Terry Pratchett

It starts with whispers.

Then someone picks up a stone.

Finally, the fires begin.

When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .

Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.

But someone—or something—is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root—before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

Chilling drama combines with laughout-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.

Wintersmith

Discworld: Book 35

Terry Pratchett

When the Spirit of Winter takes a fancy to Tiffany Aching, he wants her to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever. It will take the young witch's skill and cunning, as well as help from the legendary Granny Weatherwax and the irrepressible Wee Free Men, to survive until Spring. Because if Tiffany doesn't make it to Spring...

...Spring won't come.

Nation

Terry Pratchett

When a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne-a traveler from the other side of the globe-is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. Slowly, they are joined by other refugees. And as they struggle to protect the small band, Mau and Daphne defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.

Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuk

An underground classic since its first publication in 1996, Fight Club is now recognized as one of the most original and provocative novels published in this decade. Chuck Palahniuk's darkly funny first novel tells the story of a godforsaken young man who discovers that his rage at living in a world filled with failure and lies cannot be pacified by an empty consumer culture. Relief for him and his disenfranchised peers comes in the form of secret after-hours boxing matches held in the basements of bars. Fight Club is the brainchild of Tyler Durden, who thinks he has found a way for himself and his friends to live beyond their confining and stultifying lives. But in Tyler's world there are no rules, no limits, no brakes.

The Wee Free Men

Discworld: Book 30

Terry Pratchett

A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality...

Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.

Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself....

A Wizard's Guide To Defensive Baking

T. Kingfisher

Fourteen-year-old Mona isn't like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can't control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt's bakery making gingerbread men dance.

But Mona's life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona's city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona's worries...

Nimona

Noelle Stevenson

The New York Times bestselling graphic novel sensation from Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic. Kirkus says, "If you're going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one."

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a "superstar" talent (NPR.org).

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

Discworld: Book 28

Terry Pratchett

One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical rat pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed hint out of town.

They'd have been really amazed if they'd ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the money.

The Amazing Maurice runs the perfect Pied Piper scam. This streetwise alley cat knows the value of cold, hard cash and can talk his way into and out of anything. But when Maurice and his cohorts decide to con the town of Bad Blinitz, it will take more than fast talking to survive the danger that awaits. For this is a town where food is scarce and rats are hated, where cellars are lined with deadly traps, and where a terrifying evil lurks beneath the hunger-stricken streets....

The Wind in the Willows

Tales of the Willows: Book 1

Kenneth Grahame

For more than a century, The Wind in the Willows and its endearing protagonists--Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty--have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories are among the most charming in all English literature.

Another Fine Myth

Myth Adventures: Book 1

Robert Lynn Asprin

A Recipe for Myth-Adventure...

Skeeve is a magician's apprentice (and a wanna-be thief) until an assassin's bolt kills his master, Garkin. Along with Aahz, the green-scaled, purple-tongued demon and master magician summoned by Garkin, he sets out on a quest to get even. The road to vengeance is bound to prove rocky, however, because Skeeve can barely light a candle with his beginning magic, and Aahz has lost his own considerable magical abilities as a consequence of Garkin's summoning spell.

Before they can confront the power-mad wizard who ordered Garkin's assassination, they must survive a trip to a weird alternate dimension, encounters with Impish hit-men and a somewhat dull but persistent demon hunter who rides a friendly war unicorn, outwit a sharp-dealing Deevel, and deal with other uncanny enemies and even stranger friends... all without killing each other in the process!

A Spell for Chameleon

Xanth Series: Book 1

Piers Anthony

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled--where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn't find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn't find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave....

Castle Roogna

Xanth Series: Book 3

Piers Anthony

Millie the ghost is beautiful. Of course, she isn't a ghost any more. She's Millie the nurse. She's not especially bright, and she's hardly young. She looks twenty-nine, but actually she's about eight hundred and twenty-nine -- the oldest creature currently associated with Castle Roogna. She had been ensorceled as a maid of seventeen, eight centuries ago, when Castle Roogna was young, and restored to life at the time of Dor's birth. In the Interim she had been a ghost, and the label has never quite worn off.

Millie wants only one man -- Jonathan, and he's a zombie. To prove himself, Magician Dor volunteers to get the potion that can restore Jonathan to full life. But he has to go back through time to do it, to a peril-haunted, ancient Xanth, where danger lurks at every turn.

Spellsinger

Spellsinger: Book 1

Alan Dean Foster

Spellsinger (1983) is a fantasy novel written by Alan Dean Foster. The book follows the adventures of Jonathan Thomas Meriweather who is transported from our world into a land of talking animals and magic. It is the first in the Spellsinger series.