Get in Trouble: Speculative Magiks of Kelly Link
January 31, 2015 8:34 AM   Subscribe

This is the central tension of "Get in Trouble," between the artificial and the actual, between what we think we want and who we really are. The stories here are effective because we believe them — not just their situations but also their hearts.

If there is a single unifying theme that runs through the works in Get in Trouble, it is that identity is uncertain, even while we are compelled by external events to find certainty. These uncertainties may sometimes manifest in the guise of speculative story elements, but they are instantly recognizable and resonant: nurses refusing to use names for babies (“The Lesson”), customizable video game characters that can be sold, scrapped, or recreated differently (“Secret Identity”), allusions to heroes who don’t know they’re heroes (“Origin Story”), a character stating that she doesn’t know what she is and must one day find out (“The Summer People”)

"I read most of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books when I was a kid. I don’t regret that, necessarily, but I do feel bad about insisting that my dad read them too."
posted by batfish (23 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I love love love Kelly Link. Her fiction is a thing of wonder.
posted by Kitteh at 8:37 AM on January 31, 2015 [7 favorites]

I told myself I wasn't buying books in 2015, but I'm making a few exceptions, and this is one of them. She is one of the few authors whose work I'll pick up, in hardback, on the day it comes out, and I'm so excited for this!
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:39 AM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

New Kelly Link? NEW KELLY LINK?!? Today is a most wondrous day! Hip hip turning into mysterious foam or something equally poetic and unsettling!
posted by missmary6 at 8:41 AM on January 31, 2015 [5 favorites]

Wait, there's new Kelly Link? Oh my heavens!
posted by selfnoise at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

As I said recently:
Approximate time between seeing "New Kelly Link book" and hitting "Place Pre-Order" button: 2.4 seconds. Can't wait!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:10 AM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also: thanks for these links, batfish -- I'm saving them till after I read the book. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Woot! for a new Kelly Link book, but also its's worth looking through all the stuff at Small Beer Press, which she runs with her partner.
posted by newdaddy at 10:15 AM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm midway through her collection Magic For Beginners right now and loving it. The moment in The Hortlak when a woman enters the convenience store and sees an employee wearing pajamas with pages from her childhood diary printed on them. That's my favorite.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:53 AM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

I love Kelly Link's work so much. I found her through stories available online ("Carnation, lily, lily, rose" and "the specialists hat") then when those were collected into a book I bought the book. Then I was hooked, thoroughly. She does things with structure in "Lull" that blow my mind anew on every reread. Her depiction of a television show where different actors play the characters in each episode and you never know when or what channel it is on in "Magic for Beginners" is like the best parts of fandom and fairy tales and junior high with extra imagination icing on top. Some of her work makes me deliciously melancholy. Some of it scares the shit out of me, as it was intended. I have been waiting for this book for years.
posted by annathea at 12:03 PM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

You had to post this before Tuesday?

I had no idea this was coming out, but I can't wait.
posted by jeather at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I won an ARC on Goodreads. IT IS SO GOOD AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 3:38 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Who are your favorite writers working today?

"Lynda Barry(blah blah blah) Elizabeth Knox...."

Welp looks like I'll be buying this book.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:45 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've actually been reading her new one this weekend and deeply regret reading it just now in bed because I am super creeped out and obviously a ghost is going to murder me in my sleep, THANKS FOR THE NIGHTMARES KELLY LINK.

Her stuff is really great, but don't read it at ngiht in bed if you're a scaredy-cat like me.
posted by leesh at 8:49 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wait, she runs Small Beer press? Suddenly my to-read pile has exploded
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2015

> "What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?" "... Joyce Ballou Gregorian, who wrote a fantasy trilogy in the 1970s and ’80s."



Yep looks like she wrote the third book ten years after the second one and silly me I gave up looking after seven or so

posted by kyrademon at 11:41 AM on February 1, 2015

(I do not often pick up books of short stories since I generally prefer novels, but I am going to shell out for Link's new book JUST BECAUSE SHE INADVERTENTLY LET ME KNOW THAT.)
posted by kyrademon at 11:47 AM on February 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

The third Joyce Ballou Gregorian book is so good! And you don't need to buy my collection as a thank you. Buy Sofia Samatar's Stranger in Olondria instead. I think you'd like it more. (If you haven't already read it. If you have read Stranger in Olondria, check out Ysabeau Wilce's Flora Segunda trilogy, or the new P. C. Hodgell books that Baen has been putting out?)
posted by kellylink at 12:52 PM on February 1, 2015 [14 favorites]

Holy Moses, Kelly Link!! You are so brilliant!! *gush*
posted by batfish at 1:28 PM on February 1, 2015

Ack! Thank you, batfish! I am mostly indolent & trifling!
posted by kellylink at 2:07 PM on February 1, 2015 [6 favorites]

I totally second Stranger in Olondria and the Flora Segunda Trilogy, which I binge read like five days ago. It is awesome.
posted by annathea at 4:52 PM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Got a notification this morning that my copy has shipped!

posted by Celsius1414 at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2015

kellylink, I just finished Get in Trouble (impelled by the pent up anticipatory fervor since finishing Magic for Beginners the first time, circa 2006) and have to thank you so very much for introducing many exquisite new pocket universes into my brain.

and apologize for misnaming Stranger things Happen, when I was recommending your stories over on askme...
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:54 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

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