They're certainly the strangest actors he's met, not wanting an audience, and while they seem to know what they want to produce, they don't have any of the normal theater quirks he's used to. As he earns their reluctant acceptance and even friendship from some, he notices odd events, like props in storage he's never seen before, doors in the basement the could swear weren't there, and more.
Soon Art finds himself wrapped up in the strangest of plays ever to be put on in Brampton, or anywhere else, and trying to decide if they're just eccentric performers, or something far more magical. Lawrence Watt-Evans weaves a delightful tale that's not about flashing spells and monsters, but clearly evokes the sense of awe and magic in little things that don't fit in the mundane world, and explores the question of how important these things should be in a world which has largely forgotten the mythical and magical.
He also demonstrates a clear knowledge of the theater, and the foibles of the folks who put on plays, adding a dose of realism but still a different aspect of life than non-actors normally get to experience. Sep 08, Zechy rated it it was ok Shelves: The rebirth of wonder itself is a decent magic in a modern setting story, which in and of itself would only deserve three stars at the most, but; The Final Folly of Captain Dancy, which is also in this volume is easily worth the four stars.https://amovimoned.cf
The Rebirth of Wonder
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Books by Lawrence Watt-Evans. Trivia About The Rebirth of Wo I wanted to write something like Finney. I didn't know anything about circuses, but I knew theater work. The Circus of Dr. Lao was part of the inspiration for the Bringers of Wonder.
I wanted to write something like Bradbury. I didn't know anything about growing up in a small Midwestern town, but I knew about growing up in a small New England town. Green Town, Illinois was part of the inspiration for Bampton, Massachusetts.
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Both of those involved working autobiographical elements into the story, which was fine, and they fit together nicely with each other and with Inspiration No. Except I knew it was going to be short, for a novel, which meant it would be almost impossible to sell in the market of the time, and I was still avoiding the loon, so there was no hurry about writing it. Tor wanted a short novel or long novella from me. One that wasn't part of a series or anything.
One like The Rebirth of Wonder. But it wasn't urgent. But then in June of I heard from Jack Wells. I first met Jack Wells in August, , when I was four. He lived across the street from the house my family had just bought, and was just two months younger than me. Naturally, we became best friends. We stayed best friends for years. Jack's family was not a particularly happy one, so he would take refuge with mine; I think from age four through about twelve he spent more of his waking hours in our house than in his own.
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His family moved around; I'm not entirely sure why, but he lived at at least three different places, though all in the same town, and two of them within easy walking distance of the house I lived in all this time. But once puberty hit, we drifted apart some. That was partly socio-economics -- my family had more money and was far more stable than his. It was partly academics -- I was in the honors program at our school, while he struggled academically, falling further and further back. We'd started out classmates, but never shared a classroom after seventh grade, and he graduated a year behind me.
And it was partly puberty. I was a very boring straight guy; Jack was an adventurous bisexual. But we stayed friends, even when we didn't see much of each other for long periods. There were times Jack was considered hopelessly obnoxious by most of the people I knew, but I always liked him. For awhile, most of our contacts were through the theater -- I liked working tech sound or lights , and Jack liked performing, and we wound up working on some of the same productions.
Finally, though, we both moved away from our old home town, and we lost touch completely. He wanted me to co-author or ghost-write his autobiography, which he wanted to write to raise money to sue Continental Airlines, which had denied him health benefits he thought he was entitled to -- he'd been a flight attendant, and they were refusing to pay for his AIDS treatment. I don't know the details; we never got that far. I'm not sure why he thought anyone would want his autobiography; yeah, he'd led a relatively adventurous life, but so have lots of people. But then, Jack was always given to unrealistic money-making schemes that went nowhere.
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Or maybe he really had done sufficiently entertaining stuff during the years we were out of touch; I don't know. Last I'd heard he'd been working for a newspaper in Provincetown, Mass. At any rate, I agreed to co-write the book, and he said he'd get back to me with details. Meanwhile, I decided that this was the time to write The Rebirth of Wonder , because it was so heavily based on parts of my life that had involved Jack. I started to work immediately, and told Tor what was happening. I wanted to get the book written and published in time for him to read it.
I knew he'd recognize the settings and characters, that he was probably the one person in the world who would get all the personal references. I didn't make it. Two weeks after I started, Jack was in the hospital.
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He never came out. Eight weeks after we spoke, Jack was dead. Two weeks later I finished the story and sent it off to Tor. When it was published I sent an inscribed copy of the book to Jack's mother.
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She apparently didn't bother to look at it for quite some time; about two years later I got a phone call from her. She had finally read it and recognized many of the elements. We reminisced about Jack for awhile. I haven't heard from any of his family since. In fact, this novel is about the most autobiographical work I've done yet.
In Concord, Massachusetts, there's a small theater on either Thoreau or Walden Street -- it's been a long time, and while I could go straight to it from any point in town I don't remember the street names. It was never a church, so far as I know, nor is it obviously magical, but still, it served as the inspiration for the Dunhams' theater building.
I was on the lighting crew for an amateur production of "A Midsumer Night's Dream" there, back around or '73 -- a very good production, I thought.
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