What is Magical Realism?

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For our purposes, "magical realism" is that moment in a story where the reader discovers she is somewhere she wasn't expecting. The otherwise perfect mirror has a crack in it; the closer one looks, the more cracks appear. A tale of common life twists until it swallows its own tail. Until now, "normal" has been a very convincing fiction, one that remains adamant of its own worldview. Magical realism is all in your head, yet it exists despite itself. The rules appear to have bent, but they are still the ones surrounding us every waking moment of our lives.

Think Poe's "The Raven". Think Serling's "Night Gallery" and "Twilight Zone", Gaiman's "American Gods" and "Ananzi Boys". Read Powers' "Earthquake Weather".

It isn't science fiction, although it can be set in a recognizable future. And though "magic" is part of the name, it isn't high fantasy. It can resemble either of these if there is some doubt as to whether it is happening at all. It is our world, except where it isn't. Especially where it isn't.