Magic Mirrors is a collection of the adult fantasy and humorous works of John Bellairs. This collection includes The Face in the Frost, The Dolphin Cross (a previously unpublished fragment sequel to The Face in the Frost), The Pedant and the Shuffly, and Saint Fidgita and Other Parodies. The collection introduction is by Bruce Coville. There is also a special introduction to the Dolphin Cross by Ellen Kushner.
The Face in the Frost is a fantasy novel that centers on two accomplished wizards, Prospero ("and not the one you're thinking of") and Roger Bacon, tracking down the source of a great magical evil. Playfully written with frightening dips into necromancy, the novel includes talking mirrors, carriages made out of turnips and miniature wizards bobbing through underground rivers in miniature ships, but also disturbing imagery including magically mummified animals, melting cities, and souls trapped within their own graves. Bellairs said, "The Face in the Frost was an attempt to write in the Tolkien manner. I was much taken by The Lord of the Rings and wanted to do a modest work on those lines. In reading the latter book I was struck by the fact that Gandalf was not much of a person—just a good guy. So I gave Prospero, my wizard, most of my phobias and crotchets. It was simply meant as entertainment and any profundity will have to be read in."
The Dolphin Cross is an unfinished fragment (about the first third) of the sequel to The Face in the Frost, and shares the two protagonists from that novel, Prospero and Roger Bacon. In this adventure, Prospero is kidnapped and exiled to a lonely island. He escapes and manages to unravel some of the mystery as to who would want to do this and why?
The Pedant and the Shuffly is a short, illustrated fable detailing the chaotic encounter of the two title characters. The evil magician Snodrog ensnares his victims with his inescapable logic and transforms them into Flimsies (stained handkerchiefs)...until the kindly sorcerer, Sir Bertram Crabtree-Gore (Esq.) enlists the help of a magical Shuffly (Latin name: Scuffulans Hirsutus)...and Snodrog meets his match!
St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies is a collection of short stories satirizing the rites and rituals of Second Vatican Council era Catholicism. A mixture of mock scholarship, parodies of ecclesiastical language and manner, puns, jokes and occasional strokes of inspired foolishness.
Table of Contents
- Introduction (Bruce Coville)
- The Face in the Frost
- Introduction to Dolphin Cross (Ellen Kushner)
- Dolphin Cross (the uncompleted sequel to The Face in the Frost)
- The Pedant and the Shuffly
- Saint Fidgeta
- Appendix: Translation of Latin in the Text