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Waldo and Magic, Inc PDF, ePub eBook North Power-Air was in trouble. Their aircraft had begun to crash at an alarming rate, and no one could figure out what was going wrong. Desperate for an answer, they turned to Waldo, the crippled genius who lived in a zero-g home in orbit around Earth. But Waldo had little reason to want to help the rest of humanity — until he learned that the solution to their problems al North Power-Air was in trouble. Their aircraft had begun to crash at an alarming rate, and no one could figure out what was going wrong. Desperate for an answer, they turned to Waldo, the crippled genius who lived in a zero-g home in orbit around Earth. But Waldo had little reason to want to help the rest of humanity — until he learned that the solution to their problems also held the key to his own... Magic, Inc. Under the guise of an agency for magicians, Magic, Inc. was systematically squeezing out the small independent magicians. Then one businessman stood firm. With the help of an Oxford-educated African shaman and a little old lady adept at black magic, he went straight to the demons of Hell to resolve the problem — once and for all!

30 review for Waldo and Magic, Inc

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    This was another of my listens whilst building my motorcycle shed. So anyone who has read my profile or seen some of my reviews will know that I am (and and have been for over 45 years) a keen science fiction reader and avid fan. Fantasy ? Well maybe not so much but I occasionally enjoy it. Now with that as an intro, this "book" was going to be interesting as it is basically 2 novellas; Waldo, a sf story (from which we get the word "Waldo', as in remote manipulators), and Magic Inc., an out and ou This was another of my listens whilst building my motorcycle shed. So anyone who has read my profile or seen some of my reviews will know that I am (and and have been for over 45 years) a keen science fiction reader and avid fan. Fantasy ? Well maybe not so much but I occasionally enjoy it. Now with that as an intro, this "book" was going to be interesting as it is basically 2 novellas; Waldo, a sf story (from which we get the word "Waldo', as in remote manipulators), and Magic Inc., an out and out fantasy novel based around magic. Waldo well, hmm. I was really enjoying the story up until towards the end, when (view spoiler)[ Waldo discovers these mysterious powers (not a problem), but then he loses weight develops muscles and becomes both a world class dancer and surgeon. He becomes a jovial character with a good word for everyone, huh ? He was great as a miserable, selfish genius. Why would he become so full of "bon homie" towards his fellow man. And given his "powers" why did he not do more towards either helping his fellow man or making huge amounts of money?? So to me the story ends on the wrong note and doesn't ring true really (hide spoiler)] So max of 3.5 stars ⭐️ Magic Inc; now this was a fantasy story, again that I had never read despite having read so much Heinlein over the years, so I wasn't expecting a huge amount. Boy was I wrong. This might be fantasy and it might focus all the way through on Magic, but it is a fantastic story, well written with really interesting characters, and, AND, AND it is so well constructed from beginning to the end. So an easy 5 stars ⭐️ Overall then its a 4 star (audio) book, with a fantastic narrator in MacLeod Andrews. I read a lot of Heinlein through the 70s and early 80s (after that I personally felt his work became to introverted and weird ) and in my humble opinion these were good examples (ish ) of his "good" period.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Beams of Energy: "Waldo & Magic" by Robert A. Heinlein (Original Review, 1980-08-21) My chief objection to models which suggest we will be much better off with satellites beaming down power to the ground comes in several pieces: 1. I have been told that solar flux in the bands used by solar cells is no more than twice as high in orbit as in, for instance, the American Southwest. Granted, there is some advantage to having the power av If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Beams of Energy: "Waldo & Magic" by Robert A. Heinlein (Original Review, 1980-08-21) My chief objection to models which suggest we will be much better off with satellites beaming down power to the ground comes in several pieces: 1. I have been told that solar flux in the bands used by solar cells is no more than twice as high in orbit as in, for instance, the American Southwest. Granted, there is some advantage to having the power available for longer periods but even a synchronous satellite would be shadowed for ~2.3 hours a day which would not be at the minimum demand time;

  3. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    Read as part of the 1941 Retro-Hugo Voters' Packet. The good: This story is a definite precursor to today's neo- urban fantasy genre. It's fascinating to see this early iteration of a tale featuring modern society mixed in with wizards-for-hire, witches, witch-finders, and an FBI agent disguised as a demon. The bad: The story just isn't as clever and amusing as it thinks it is. The fantasy elements are really just 'swaps' for real-world equivalents; the supernatural adds nothing at all to the plo Read as part of the 1941 Retro-Hugo Voters' Packet. The good: This story is a definite precursor to today's neo- urban fantasy genre. It's fascinating to see this early iteration of a tale featuring modern society mixed in with wizards-for-hire, witches, witch-finders, and an FBI agent disguised as a demon. The bad: The story just isn't as clever and amusing as it thinks it is. The fantasy elements are really just 'swaps' for real-world equivalents; the supernatural adds nothing at all to the plot. Our main character is a small businessman who runs a construction company. Like most businesses in this town, he hires wizards to do bits of magic here and there to help get the job done. As the story opens, he's approached by a guy coming in with a protection racket: "sign up and agree to hire only the wizards that belong to my Association, and we guarantee that quality services will be rendered. (Don't agree, and we'll burn down your warehouse.)" Meanwhile, the wizards are being pressured to join this Association: "pay us your membership dues, or you won't be getting work in this town." The businessman gets a lawyer, goes to court, and also works on his own to foil this nefarious plan. I could actually see this story being used in a class to explain racketeering, 'protection' scams, monopolies, and why anti-trust regulations are important. It lays it all out clearly and makes the concepts easy to understand, with a bit of fun fictional overlay to help the dry economic facts slide down smooth. As a teaching tool - I'd say it's potentially pretty good. However, as a story, it's a bit dry, didactic and tedious at times.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Waldo and Magic,Inc are two separate short stories. Albeit not lacking in similarities, these two stories are independent and could be read separately. I believe they were originally published separately. Moreover, they do feature a completely different set of characters, so it is not as one can be read as a sequel to another. However, I do see why they are published together. Besides the common theme of magic, these stories share a common protagonist- an independent self-made man who has to str Waldo and Magic,Inc are two separate short stories. Albeit not lacking in similarities, these two stories are independent and could be read separately. I believe they were originally published separately. Moreover, they do feature a completely different set of characters, so it is not as one can be read as a sequel to another. However, I do see why they are published together. Besides the common theme of magic, these stories share a common protagonist- an independent self-made man who has to struggle his way to keep his business at its peak. Although, Waldo is rich to start with, he still has to work to stay on top. I'm sensing a bit of an ode to an entrepreneur and an independent business owner in these stories. I actually was not surprised to see it get mixed up with magic. Perhaps to achieve any kind of true independence in this world, one must to either rely on magic or believe in it. ;) Waldo 3/5 Considering that Waldo has been published in 1942, the story has aged considerably well and for most part didn't feel dated at all. Waldo, its principal character,is a genius misanthrope, a man who suffers from a severe muscular atrophy but it didn't let it stop him from becoming wealthy and powerful. However, it seems that humanity (and one company in particular) needs his help, and Waldo is willing to help- as long as the price is right. To be frank I enjoyed this story mostly for Heinlein's ideas and his excellent grasp of politics, science, human nature and business. As for character development, I found it a bit lacking. The character of Waldo changed too quickly for my liking. I didn't find the ending that plausible. I suppose the whole ugly duckling ending seemed a bit implausible to me. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed Waldo's initial discovery of magic. The old doctor was a great character as well. One more thing I liked about this novel is that it made me think- how much do we know about how technology affects our health? Sure, testings are done but how many long term ones? It's odd how little has changed since 194o. I can't believe that we still don't have quality long term testing that could evaluate how the various devices we use could affect our health. We have a long way to go. Magic, Inc 4/5 Originally published in 1940 under an interesting title 'The Devil Makes the Law', this is a splendid little tale of magic and adventure. It's protagonist is Archie, a business owner who won't be intimated by crooks but will find that fighting them might be harder than he ever imagined- because the corruption sometimes go all the way to the top- especially if the underworld has a hand at things. There are several things I liked about this story. First, it is well written and planned. The world in which Archie lives is one where magic is a common thing, but only certain limited uses of it. To solve his problems, Archie will have to dig deeper and join forces with several interesting character, one of them being a kick ass old lady (a witch) and other a black British professor with African roots. I do like how Heinlein always tried to introduce different races in his character cast. The black guy, for instance, is an absolutely positive character, an educated fellow who has also preserved his African roots and can help Archie get out of his predicament. Mind you, that was quite progressive for 194o-ties.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I'm astonished so many people read this and miss the point. Some folks apparently don't see any connection between the two stories and think these novellas are in a single volume by a fluke or "to fill up space." Either they didn't really read it or they are conceptually challenged, unable to make a logical leap between two related ideas without a flow chart. The point is that technology is a based on the belief that it will work. As long as we believe in it, it functions; if or when we stop bel I'm astonished so many people read this and miss the point. Some folks apparently don't see any connection between the two stories and think these novellas are in a single volume by a fluke or "to fill up space." Either they didn't really read it or they are conceptually challenged, unable to make a logical leap between two related ideas without a flow chart. The point is that technology is a based on the belief that it will work. As long as we believe in it, it functions; if or when we stop believing in it, it won't. It's all magic. At which point magic becomes the new technology and the difference between one and the other is functionally negligable. The stories' plots are irrelevant. It's the thought that counts. I read these books about 50 years ago. I haven't read them since, but I remember them clearly. Meanwhile, I can't remember the plot of the book I read last week. This was an original set of concepts when it was first published in the early 1940s and was still original 25 years later when I read it. It's probably still an original today ... more than 70 years after the stories were published. The best science fiction is and was concept-driven rather than character or plot-driven. This one has stuck with me for a lifetime. Both novellas are based on that one concept to which I continue to adhere: we believe in what works and what works is what we believe in. Faith is hard-wired into our human ability to understand and reason. We cannot function without it, for good or ill.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Waldo, the world's greatest expert on building remote controlled manipulators, wants to know why things are malfunctioning. It seems to be a problem that happens at very small scales. So he takes his smallest manipulator, and uses that to build an even smaller manipulator. Then he uses that to build a smaller manipulator still. Then... well, you get the picture. Pretty soon, he's moving individual atoms around. I read this story in the early 70s, and here's a question I'm surprised didn't occur t Waldo, the world's greatest expert on building remote controlled manipulators, wants to know why things are malfunctioning. It seems to be a problem that happens at very small scales. So he takes his smallest manipulator, and uses that to build an even smaller manipulator. Then he uses that to build a smaller manipulator still. Then... well, you get the picture. Pretty soon, he's moving individual atoms around. I read this story in the early 70s, and here's a question I'm surprised didn't occur to me until I thought about it just now. These days, nanotechnology really exists. We actually can build things at the molecular scale. Was Heinlein basically right about how we got there, ignoring uninteresting details like it taking tens of thousands of people several decades rather than a lone genius one weekend? Or was it done in a fundamentally different way? I'm embarrassed that I don't know the answer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Waldo & Magic, Inc is a collection of two seemingly unrelated stories by Robert A. Heinlein (though both involve magic “lose in the world”). I listened to the recent audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. MacLeod Andrews, who I always like, narrates. William H. Patterson Jr provides an introduction to the stories and Tim Powers provides an afterword. The first story, “Waldo,” was originally published in Asto Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Waldo & Magic, Inc is a collection of two seemingly unrelated stories by Robert A. Heinlein (though both involve magic “lose in the world”). I listened to the recent audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. MacLeod Andrews, who I always like, narrates. William H. Patterson Jr provides an introduction to the stories and Tim Powers provides an afterword. The first story, “Waldo,” was originally published in Astounding Magazine in 1942 under Heinlein’s penname, Anson MacDonald. The titular character is a man who has myasthenia gravis, a disease which leaves him physically very weak. Waldo’s brain, however, is in fine working order. He has been able to compensate somewhat for his unusable body by developing remote manipulators to do his work for him. In fact, he’s known on Earth as a mechanical genius and has become rich because of his inventions. (Interesting tidbit: Today we call these types of remote arms “Waldos” because of this story.) Because he’s been ill-treated since he was a child, Waldo chooses to live as a recluse in a house he built in orbit. He hates people and doesn’t want to be bothered to help them. In fact, he thinks himself far above (literally and figuratively) the “smooth apes” who live on Earth. But when an engineer and his family doctor come seeking help for a problem that has stumped them, Waldo is reluctantly persuaded and it turns out that he benefits from experience. “Waldo” is a fine little story about faith in technology and magic. Waldo’s orbital home is interesting, his dog is cute, and his personal development is uplifting. “Magic, Inc” was originally published in 1940 in Unknown Fantasy Fiction. While in “Waldo” magic was a new force for humans to contend with, in “Magic, Inc” it is part of everyday society. Those who are able to practice some form of magic sell their services to others. All is going well for Archie Fraser, who owns a building supply company, until a mobster attempts to shake him down. When Archie doesn’t give in, bad things start happening to his business. Meanwhile a man named Ditworth starts unionizing practitioners of magic. His company — Magic, Inc — essentially becomes a block-busting monopoly which manages to pass all sorts of laws and regulations for magic use. Archie and his friends go to the state capitol to lobby against this. “Magic, Inc” moves fast and is full of weird little elements that sometimes seem random, but the plot gives Heinlein a chance to get in some of his favorite gripes about taxes, lawyers, unions, regulations, legislative sessions, pork, red tape and gun control. He also stresses the importance of knowing what’s going on in politics and who your legislators are. I wouldn’t call Waldo & Magic, Inc a must-read, but it’s a collection of two pleasant stories that showcase Heinlein’s earlier work. Fans will want to check this out. I recommend the audio version.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “… not believe in magic? Perhaps he does not believe in the radio or television.” You have to remember that this short novel was published in 1940 or nothing that follows will seem nearly so wondrous. The story itself is a pleasant bit of fantasy by the dean of science fiction about the (literal) Under World trying to monopolize the use of magic in California in the then-near-future. “[Laws] can’t keep crooks from carrying guns and using them; they simply took guns out of the hands of honest peopl “… not believe in magic? Perhaps he does not believe in the radio or television.” You have to remember that this short novel was published in 1940 or nothing that follows will seem nearly so wondrous. The story itself is a pleasant bit of fantasy by the dean of science fiction about the (literal) Under World trying to monopolize the use of magic in California in the then-near-future. “[Laws] can’t keep crooks from carrying guns and using them; they simply took guns out of the hands of honest people.” The protagonist is an “everyman” building contractor, who uses occasional magic on his jobs. Magic is assumed to be a normal part of life. Taxis, for example, are essentially flying carpets. “It would not be the first time that monopolists used goon squads with their left hands to get by coercion what their right hands could not touch.” Heinlein gives a strikingly readable outline how laws are passed and the use of riders and line-item vetoes, etc. The context is showing how easily power and money can subvert the process. “We white men in this country are inclined to underestimate the black man--I know I do. We see him out of his cultural context." What is most striking, given the age, is Heinlein’s favorable representation of blacks and females, but not Jews. Readers may not recall that anti-Semitism was strong in America before World War Two. So were gender and racial discrimination. That Heinlein sheds most prejudices of his day, but perpetuates another is noticeable … and sad. “[A Jewish character] could smell a profit even farther than I [a Scot] could.” “Most women in the United States have a short-sighted, peasant individualism resulting from the male-created romantic traditions of the last century.” Heinlein the iconoclastic and the master story teller is evident on every page of this short novel. Fortunately, the later, incest-fixated Heinlein is not yet evident. A fun read as well as a bit of cultural anthropology. “We’ve got to have magic to stay in business.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    I read the paperback many years ago and enjoyed listening to these two novellas on a long drive last weekend. Tim Powers contributes an illuminating afterward in which he points out that one is a fantasy told as a science fiction story and the other is a science fiction story told as a fantasy. Both are well known and acknowledged classics; Waldo has lent its name universally to remote-handling devices, and Magic, Inc., can arguably be named as a founder of the urban fantasy genre decades before I read the paperback many years ago and enjoyed listening to these two novellas on a long drive last weekend. Tim Powers contributes an illuminating afterward in which he points out that one is a fantasy told as a science fiction story and the other is a science fiction story told as a fantasy. Both are well known and acknowledged classics; Waldo has lent its name universally to remote-handling devices, and Magic, Inc., can arguably be named as a founder of the urban fantasy genre decades before the phrase was coined. They're both distinctly different from the main body of Heinlein's work, both in tone and content. Magic, Inc., suffers a bit because it pauses for a very, very long lesson in politics and economics partway through, and might be construed as being a little non-politically-correct in spots, though Heinlein obviously went out of his way in an attempt to avoid that. Anyway, it's a pair of great stories from the classic age of the field, one from Hohn W. Campbell's Unknown magazine and the other from Campbell's Astounding magazine.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Mediocre Heinlein. 2 short novels. Waldo starts out as a proper technological fix the problem story then gets very weird, jumps the shark. Not satisfying as a story. Magic Inc. is readable but not outstanding; the depiction of the mechanics of the political process is however just as fresh and relevant as when it was written over 60 years ago. Nice ways to kill time if you have nothing better to do, but yeah, skip Waldo completely I reckon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shane Hawk

    Before reading the preface I hadn’t known these were two separate short stories. It was funny to read Doubleday approached Heinlein to publish these two together and he asked what the hell, those two go together like mustard and watermelon. 😂 Waldo was a really cool read. Did Heinlein envision remote-controlled surgical manipulators in the 40s? The da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the FDA in 2000. Crazy if so. Magic, Inc. was a little fun, but I’m not a fan of fantasy so my enjoyment was Before reading the preface I hadn’t known these were two separate short stories. It was funny to read Doubleday approached Heinlein to publish these two together and he asked what the hell, those two go together like mustard and watermelon. 😂 Waldo was a really cool read. Did Heinlein envision remote-controlled surgical manipulators in the 40s? The da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the FDA in 2000. Crazy if so. Magic, Inc. was a little fun, but I’m not a fan of fantasy so my enjoyment was limited. Still, I think it’s worth reading these novellas written in 1940 and 1942. It’s a different flavor of Heinlein for sure.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    A Heinleinian romp through mid-century libertarianism, social problems, and of course, the line between science and magic. Heinlein was ahead of his time and is now way the hell behind ours; it's fascinating to read his once cutting-edge work as it fades. ETA: Goodreads lists this as a 1986 publication, which it totally was not. This novella pair was published in 1950 (and written in the early 1940s).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richp

    These are two short novels. Waldo is SF based on fantasy, Magic is contemporary fantasy. Waldo is weak in the tradition of Golden Era quality, but deserves praise for the waldo concept. Magic is better written, except preachy Heinlein makes an appearance in the last part. Both were enjoyable reading for one who did not expect much.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    For a long time remote handling devices were called 'waldoes' after the central character in the first part. I was most interested in the fact that Waldo, handicapped by myaesthenia gravis, moved to an outer space habitat on the proceeds of the waldos. This marked the first time I'd ever HEARD of myaesthenia gravis. The second part (Magic Inc) is basically unrelated. I figure the page count turned up short, so they just plugged in another short story of about the right length, with a little cutti For a long time remote handling devices were called 'waldoes' after the central character in the first part. I was most interested in the fact that Waldo, handicapped by myaesthenia gravis, moved to an outer space habitat on the proceeds of the waldos. This marked the first time I'd ever HEARD of myaesthenia gravis. The second part (Magic Inc) is basically unrelated. I figure the page count turned up short, so they just plugged in another short story of about the right length, with a little cutting and polishing to fit. It's along the line of "The gentleman says it's pixies." The most unlikely part is that the folk wizard manages to stay isolated--there just aren't that many hermitages anymore.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This pair of stories by Heinlein is interesting for the common exploration of the theme of magic, and for the somewhat gentler style of Waldo. Magic. Inc. is really a rant on predatory business practices, and the challenge of pursuing remedies through the legislative process. It is somewhat incidentally set in a world in which magic is a tool and trade like many others, but that has little to do with his political rant. Waldo is more interesting, and explores a host of themes from how a physical This pair of stories by Heinlein is interesting for the common exploration of the theme of magic, and for the somewhat gentler style of Waldo. Magic. Inc. is really a rant on predatory business practices, and the challenge of pursuing remedies through the legislative process. It is somewhat incidentally set in a world in which magic is a tool and trade like many others, but that has little to do with his political rant. Waldo is more interesting, and explores a host of themes from how a physical disability focuses mental development, to the misanthropy of those who were excluded in youth, to the adage that any sufficiently advanced technology may appear to some as magic. Sadly, the ending demonstrates just how bigoted and narrow Heinlein's vision ultimately was.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sylvester Kuo

    Heinlein and fantasy! That's different! Waldo was an interesting tale of a man who overcame his physical disability by inventing remotely control devices (named after himself, Waldo) to aid him into becoming a much stronger man. Magic, Inc was his libertarian advocacy against government sanctioned monopoly. In this case, magic in which everyone could have performed before regulation kicked in. Our protagonists formed an odd trio to resolve the problem with magic once for all. I really enjoyed both Heinlein and fantasy! That's different! Waldo was an interesting tale of a man who overcame his physical disability by inventing remotely control devices (named after himself, Waldo) to aid him into becoming a much stronger man. Magic, Inc was his libertarian advocacy against government sanctioned monopoly. In this case, magic in which everyone could have performed before regulation kicked in. Our protagonists formed an odd trio to resolve the problem with magic once for all. I really enjoyed both stories, it showed Heinlein could write fantasy stories too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Waldo was very interesting: I had some mixed feelings about the whole "energy from nowhere"thing and keeping things going by imagination.... I was hoping he'd explore its source a little more, it's an uncomfortable concept to be honest, but I suppose leaving it vague and unexplored was the point. Magic, Inc was an interesting take on magic in the modern world with issues such as certifications, licenses, businesses, laws, and monopolies on the use of magic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    William Ritch

    The great thing about reading a book you read more than 25 years ago is that it is almost like reading a brand new book. I had vague, happy, memories of what went on in these stories - but I remember that Waldo was this genius who had very weak muscles and I remember about the "vanishing food" at restaurants in "Magic, Inc." There is much richness in these stories and I can see now how even in these stories Heinlein influenced my philosophy, politics, and economics.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pruitt

    Finally got around to reading this classic novella from the master of SciFi, Robert Heinlein. Not sure why I've never read it before now, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. A very enjoyable novella length near-future story that with a number of twists and turns in it that I found to be a very enjoyable read. As always, Heinlein makes you think when you read his stories, and this one is no exception. Definitely on my recommended list.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    When a company starts having it aircraft crashing at a fantastic rate, Waldo who is forced to live in zero gravity is contacted to identify the problem and develop a solution. He discovers that not only will the solution solve the company's problem but his own as well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Hollyberry

    One of the fascinating things about these two novellas (and perhaps why they are always bound together) is that Waldo is about the discipline of Magick, whereas Magic, Inc. is about the practice of politics.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Between the Other and Half Worlds A good reread in a retro way, the concepts behind these two clever Heinlein novellas have held up nicely over time. In the first, Walter Farthingaite-Jones, aka Waldo, is the victim of a childhood disease that leaves him overly weak, yet he compensates in inventiveness, creating at age 10 a remote control robotic arm. The patent gives him the financial means to relocate to a personal fortress of solitude in zero-g low earth orbit where his lack of strength is not Between the Other and Half Worlds A good reread in a retro way, the concepts behind these two clever Heinlein novellas have held up nicely over time. In the first, Walter Farthingaite-Jones, aka Waldo, is the victim of a childhood disease that leaves him overly weak, yet he compensates in inventiveness, creating at age 10 a remote control robotic arm. The patent gives him the financial means to relocate to a personal fortress of solitude in zero-g low earth orbit where his lack of strength is not a liability. The conundrum of the story is the world’s dependency on radiant (wirelessly transmitted) power which is used world wide to supply electricity for everything from flying cars to the home, copper transmission lines having been abandoned and mined. The key device, the de Kalb receptors, have exhibited a random pattern of failure. The North American Power Authority (NAPA) deems this a Waldo class problem, with the wrinkle that NAPA indirectly cheated Jones out of a different patent, making it problematic to deal with him. Waldo however is prodded into taking on the task, and the solution is somewhat magical in nature, requiring the supposition of a secondary universe, also referred to as the “Other World”. Magic Inc takes place in an alternate modern world where magic is routinely used as an essential element of business production. The protagonist, Archie Fraser runs a legitimate construction business, and is approached by a somewhat demonic shakedown operation to only use magicians from a certain guild. Deeming this a restraint of trade, Archie refuses, and the game is on. Archie contacts a friend of his, Joe Jedson, a savvy garment manufacturer who also is dependent on magic. As events progress, with nice touches of humour and a tour (and of course commentary) on the legislative process as the Association attempts create a legal monopoly through oversight and approval on the provision of magic as service, a violation of the RICO act (1970) had it been in place when the story was written in 1940. The trail for a just resolution leads to Hell (the Half World) itself. Logic, and spatial geometry figure prominently in Hell and in Waldo’s space station home, and even the fantastical aspects of both are subject to reason and logic. The a prototypical boldness that defines the Heinlein hero – though condescending in part to everyone else, that boldness transcends any antipathy - as long as you are good at what you do, no other judgement can carry. Both story telling and characterization are good, and Heinlein’s libertarian spirit, while always present, is never overwhelming.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Gunderloy

    Two classic novellas by Heinlein exploring worlds in which science and magic intersect. The first is notable for giving us the concept (& the word) "waldo," while the second is a fine adventure story that manages to portray the parallels between shady business & legislative practices and demonology. Enjoyable, just like most all Heinlein work before his declining latter years.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    “… not believe in magic? Perhaps he does not believe in the radio or television.” You have to remember that this short novel was published in 1940 or nothing that follows will seem nearly so wondrous. The story itself is a pleasant bit of fantasy by the dean of science fiction about the (literal) Under World trying to monopolize the use of magic in California in the then-near-future. “[Laws] can’t keep crooks from carrying guns and using them; they simply took guns out of the hands of honest peopl “… not believe in magic? Perhaps he does not believe in the radio or television.” You have to remember that this short novel was published in 1940 or nothing that follows will seem nearly so wondrous. The story itself is a pleasant bit of fantasy by the dean of science fiction about the (literal) Under World trying to monopolize the use of magic in California in the then-near-future. “[Laws] can’t keep crooks from carrying guns and using them; they simply took guns out of the hands of honest people.” The protagonist is an “everyman” building contractor, who uses occasional magic on his jobs. Magic is assumed to be a normal part of life. Taxis, for example, are essentially flying carpets. “It would not be the first time that monopolists used goon squads with their left hands to get by coercion what their right hands could not touch.” Heinlein gives a strikingly readable outline how laws are passed and the use of riders and line-item vetoes, etc. The context is showing how easily power and money can subvert the process. “We white men in this country are inclined to underestimate the black man--I know I do. We see him out of his cultural context. What is most striking, given the age, is Heinlein’s favorable representation of blacks and females, but not Jews. Readers may not recall that that anti-Semitism was strong in America before World War Two, but so were gender and racial discrimination. That Heinlein sheds most prejudices of his day, but perpetuates another is noticeable … and sad. “[A Jewish character] could smell a profit even farther than I [a Scot] could.” “Most women in the United States have a short-sighted, peasant individualism resulting from the male-created romantic traditions of the last century.” Heinlein the iconoclastic and the master story teller is evident on every page of this short novel. Fortunately, the later incest and lust fixated Heinlein is not yet evident. Still, a fun read as well as a bit of cultural anthropology. "We’ve got to have magic to stay in business.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    Waldo & Magic, Inc is a collection of two seemingly unrelated stories by Robert A. Heinlein (though both involve magic “lose in the world”). I listened to the recent audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. MacLeod Andrews, who I always like, narrates. William H. Patterson Jr provides an introduction to the stories and Tim Powers provides an afterword. The first story, “Waldo,” was originally published in Astounding Magazine in 1942 under Heinlein’s penname, Anson MacDonald. The titular ch Waldo & Magic, Inc is a collection of two seemingly unrelated stories by Robert A. Heinlein (though both involve magic “lose in the world”). I listened to the recent audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. MacLeod Andrews, who I always like, narrates. William H. Patterson Jr provides an introduction to the stories and Tim Powers provides an afterword. The first story, “Waldo,” was originally published in Astounding Magazine in 1942 under Heinlein’s penname, Anson MacDonald. The titular character is a man who has myasthenia gravis, a disease which leaves him physically very weak. Waldo’s brain, however, is in fine working order. He has been able to compensate somewhat for his unusable body by developing remote manipulators to do his work for him. In fact, he’s known on Earth as a mechanical genius and has become rich because of his inventions. (Interesting ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louise Armstrong

    I got a tatty, falling apart copy of this from the internet because I'd been reading Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphism reminded me of these stories - they are absolutely wonderful!!! Each page is packed with ideas. The last time I read this book there were no computers, and RAH didn't see them coming, but he was brilliant at so much else that it is still a great read. And yes, he thought of morphism first. 27/6/18 reread again with great pleasure. "The mind - not the brain, but the mind I got a tatty, falling apart copy of this from the internet because I'd been reading Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphism reminded me of these stories - they are absolutely wonderful!!! Each page is packed with ideas. The last time I read this book there were no computers, and RAH didn't see them coming, but he was brilliant at so much else that it is still a great read. And yes, he thought of morphism first. 27/6/18 reread again with great pleasure. "The mind - not the brain, but the mind - is in the Other World, and reaches this world through the body." I also very much enjoyed Archie in the second story. I loved the way he noticed building details everywhere. What a way to bring a character alive.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim Thomas

    The most interesting part of this pair of stories which have always been published together except the first time where they were published in two different pulp magazines that interestingly enough had John Campbell as publisher. John Campbell, a man I know very little about except he was responsible for bringing to the attention of the public some great sci-fi authors like Heinlein and Sturgeon. Also there is an annual prize given in his name similar, I suppose, to The Hugo and The Nebula. Just The most interesting part of this pair of stories which have always been published together except the first time where they were published in two different pulp magazines that interestingly enough had John Campbell as publisher. John Campbell, a man I know very little about except he was responsible for bringing to the attention of the public some great sci-fi authors like Heinlein and Sturgeon. Also there is an annual prize given in his name similar, I suppose, to The Hugo and The Nebula. Just found out that the winner is announced at The Hugo Awards. More about the Campbell Award for all you sci-fi lovers can be found here: http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/campbell.htm

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ainslee

    Waldo's story is a little disjointed, the beginning and end make sense once finished, but meant that I was constantly trying to find the connection - and leaves the ending a little bit predictable. Magic inc is a quick read, with well built characters for such a short story, but plays more along the lines of the supernatural -something I haven't often found in other books by Heinlein Both entertaining and engaging for short stories, an interesting pairing in a single print, but they're complimenta Waldo's story is a little disjointed, the beginning and end make sense once finished, but meant that I was constantly trying to find the connection - and leaves the ending a little bit predictable. Magic inc is a quick read, with well built characters for such a short story, but plays more along the lines of the supernatural -something I haven't often found in other books by Heinlein Both entertaining and engaging for short stories, an interesting pairing in a single print, but they're complimentary stories compared to his other works -working more off the principles of the unknown than the scientific he is normally drawn to

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jc

    As this is the 3rd or 4th time I read this since first encountering it in Junior High, I obviously must like it. This is truly classic Sci-Fi from a different world - the early 1940s. Among Heinlein's first successful stories, these oddly were never seen as related by the author himself. But his publisher around 1950 saw that they would work together, and with some initial mild protest by Heinlein, they have been published together ever since. Like much good older Sci-Fi, Heinlein could seem pre As this is the 3rd or 4th time I read this since first encountering it in Junior High, I obviously must like it. This is truly classic Sci-Fi from a different world - the early 1940s. Among Heinlein's first successful stories, these oddly were never seen as related by the author himself. But his publisher around 1950 saw that they would work together, and with some initial mild protest by Heinlein, they have been published together ever since. Like much good older Sci-Fi, Heinlein could seem prescient (here describing cell phones) and dated (they have dials on them) at the same time. I have read much more Heinlein since I first met these tales, but I still have a soft spot for them.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    The earliest Heinlein you can find, written in 1940 and 1942. I don't remember Magic, Inc., but rarely do I use a mouse without thinking of Waldo. Not exactly the same concept, but humans get inside these big robot-like contraptions that allow them to move big objects with finger movements inside specially connected gloves. You can see similar machines in Avatar. The datedness of the SF shows in many ways, as I recall, but I'll take that as a feature rather than a bug.

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