I used to be part of a sci/fantasy book club and I remember getting a compilation of the years best sci/fi-fantasy.

One of the stories revolved around a young man who worked in a toy shop? and he would be “summoned” to kill people for revenge. When he was summoned he glowed green? I remember the main focus of the story was your personal magic was based upon how long your mom was in labor with you. And the magicians kept his mom in labor for months in order to make him practically invincible.

I really enjoyed the story and would really like to read it again. It was over thirty years ago, so hopefully someone can help. Thanks.

2 Answers 2


This is the Liavek: City of Luck series. It was one of the shared world concept books, where various authors wrote short stories set in it. Your birthday was your time of luck, and the longer your mother was in labour, the luckier you were. A wizard could invest his luck into magic.

The series was edited by Emma Bull, and Will Shetterly. There were five books in the series, and one collecting one of the author's short stories with a new one. The first one was published in 1985.

My personal favourite bit was the god who had been turned into a chipmunk.

  • Thank you for your help! I ordered the books so hopefully I can find the story I alluded to in the series. Thanks again :) Oct 23, 2013 at 2:59

Specifically: Casting Fortune By John M. Ford , short story; Green is the Color

In Green is the Color, Quard is the owner of the toy shop. His mother was magically kept in labor for 12 days, making his "luck time" long and very powerful. He would be compelled to assassinate people and appear glowing green to them as he killed them.

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  • 2
    Please add some details about how the story you suggest matches what the OP is asking for.
    – Kevin
    Oct 26, 2013 at 1:30
  • In Green is the color, the owner of the toy shop's mother was magically kept in labor for about a year, making his "luck time" on all the time. He would be compelled to assassinate people and appear glowing green to them as he killed them.
    – KenM
    Oct 26, 2013 at 20:01
  • This does sound more like it matches the original question. I've read Liavek (long time ago), and don't remember the green-glow, etc. Wait... this answer is expanding on the other answer, it looks like?
    – John C
    Nov 3, 2020 at 18:06

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