Read this about five or so years ago. It was in a short story collection and unfortunately I don't remember the name or publisher. The story was titled something like, "the spelling bee" or some thing close to that if I remember it correctly.

It started out with an old man competing in a "spelling bee" against a young upstart. You think, as you read, that the spelling bee was a traditional contest, but as it turns out, the two contestants are in fact wizards, and they are flinging spells at each other.

Anyone familiar with it or know the name (or the collection it was in)?

1 Answer 1


There is a short story by that title: "The Spelling Bee" by Adobe James. It was in a 2002 paperback anthology called Darker Masques. I haven't read it, so I have no idea if it matches your description.

P.S. Thanks to Meat Trademark for pointing out that the story can be read at Google Books. Here is a passage from the story:

You should know that in a major spelling contest like tonight's, it is a relatively easy thing to create a spell which will bring about a simple manifestation of Angra Mainyu, Apollyon, Belili, Khepera, Mictlantecutli, Shaitan, or any of the other 2,603 forms of Satan, but it demands real power and concentration to spell forth the whole subregion of Malebolge—better known as the eighth circle of hell.

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    If this is any indication, I think you're correct. It was a nice story, although by the nature of the question, it was spoiled and forgone. +1 Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30
  • I apologize if I gave up spoilers in my question, but this has been driving me crazy for a few months now. I will go to my local library (which has this book thankfully if the online catalog is to be believed) and verify. Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 16:37
  • @Calsnoboarder The link I gave above contains the entire text. Outside verification never hurts though. Also, no worries about the spoilers. Happens all the time around here. Without the spoiler I'd never had agreed it was the correct story when I read it last night. Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 18:46

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