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Waldo and Magic, Inc

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,795 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 1986 by New English Library (first published January 1st 1950)
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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. HeinleinStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinTime Enough for Love by Robert A. HeinleinHave Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
Your Favorite Heinlein Novel
32nd out of 42 books — 239 voters
The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Most Interesting Magic System
374th out of 1,681 books — 6,363 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 14, 2013 Manny rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction

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
Nov 04, 2012 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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
Kat  Hooper
Jun 09, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at 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 Asto
Nov 08, 2015 Alana rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story
**Note** This is a review of Waldo, specifically, as I have reviewed Magic, Inc elsewhere.

This story started in one direction and went several other directions than I was expecting. On one level, is the experience of humanity realizing that all new science is magic until we understand it and then it becomes science. On another level, it's about looking to the future and possibilities. On another, it's a story of a man's journey from self-imposed social outcast due to his infirmity and genius int
Aug 02, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
Compilation of novellas - Waldo (1942); Magic, Inc. (1942. Waldo gave rise to the term 'waldo' for 'hands' remotely run by bio-feedback for microscopic uses in miniature application, macroscopic uses for manipulation of weighty objects in assembly, and toxic applications, such as manipulation of nuclear fuel.

Waldo - 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
Mar 11, 2015 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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.
Fantasy Literature
Jun 09, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it liked it
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
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.
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.
Thomas Strömquist
Sci-fi from the early 40's probably by definition has not aged well, no matter how skilled an author that penned it. Still, it's an OK read.
May 13, 2014 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember the last really good Heinlein novel I read. I went through some of the "juveniles" a few years ago that I really enjoyed. These stories were cute, I liked Magic, Inc., better, although points to Waldo for giving us, well, the Waldo as used in so many later sci-fi stories. Magic, Inc., had a sort of backhanded progressiveness toward the role of women in government, not quite the misogyny I've sometimes found in Heinlein, so that was interesting (and relevant to the current kerfuf ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Waldo (1942) and Magic, Inc. (1940) are two (mostly) unrelated novellas that (mostly) wear their age well. The tenuous connection is that in both "magic is loose in the world" and there is talk of "laws" such as those of "sympathy," "contiguity" and "homeopathy" that rule magic, which is associated with another world, an alternate universe as it were, called the "Other World" in Waldo and the "Half-World" in Magic, Inc.. Waldo is more a hybrid of science-fiction and fantasy, starting out as stra ...more
Nov 13, 2008 Dustin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: persons
Recommended to Dustin by: Kevin Clark
This compilation of the two stories was first published as a book in 1950, but written in '40 ('Waldo') and '42 ('Magic, Inc.')... right about the time people realized computing was something computers were pretty good at.

In 'Waldo,' Heinlein's story is set in a world reliant on "radiant power" - energy beamed through thin air. The power company hasn't ever bothered to check if this is harmful to humans (it is) and the technology is so enmeshed into society there's no going back. Think: CELLPHON
Sep 14, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans and (at least "Magic, Inc.") possibly poli-sci majors
was in a re-reading mood, so got out my copy of Waldo & Magic, Inc. - two novellas combined into a slim paperback.

"Waldo" is supposedly the inspiration for waldoes - mechanical hands controlled remotely by gloves, found in medicine & industrial applications. The main character suffers from myasthenia gravis, a type of muscular atrophy, that renders him nearly helpless in any physical activity. He lives in his own space station, under zero gravity, and uses the eponymous equipment and h
Aug 14, 2015 Baldurian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein ai massimi livelli, impossibile non innamorarsi di un personaggio come Waldo e della sua visione liquida della scienza. Peccato solo per il finale, avrei preferito che un antieroe del genere restasse sempre lontano dalla mediocrità delle scimmie nude. Comunque consigliatissimo, un racconto lungo che è fantascienza di prima classe.
Matteo Pellegrini

Pubblicato negli Anni d'Oro della science fiction su « Astounding » con l'imprimatur di John Campbell e della sua concezione della narrativa fantascientifica e fantastica. Il tema sta tra il contrasto fra il « superuomo » e la realtà codificata. In questo romanzo l' inventiva di RAH si è scatenata: già il protagonista, un giovane genio condannato ad una esistenza assurda ed amara da una miastenia congenita, è un personaggio fuori dell'ordinario; e l'intera vicenda spinta fino al sovvertimento de

Mar 20, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
I collect Heinlein books and this is one of my favourites. It's two short stories - both are great but in particular I loved Waldo. I don't know what it is about the character that you love to hate but it made for the most interesting read
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
Apr 04, 2011 Ainslee rated it liked it

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
Eric Wilson
Mar 30, 2016 Eric Wilson rated it it was amazing
This is why they're called Waldos. In this book Robert Heiein invents the Waldo. Story well told also.
Jun 19, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it
The book that literally coined the term "Waldo".
Nov 25, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
1977 grade A+
2010 grade A
Anachie Stayrook
Nov 05, 2014 Anachie Stayrook rated it it was amazing
An odd pair of novelas.
William Ritch
Sep 17, 2014 William Ritch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fantasy, heinlein
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.
Oct 18, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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.
Sep 11, 2012 Pruitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 24, 2010 Adrian rated it liked it
I read Magic, Inc. but not the other book in this duo. Heinlein is a very, very crisp storyteller and uses words well. It seemed to me that the story was going along nicely and then suddenly finished up lickety-split in five pages. Spencer thinks its because it was a short story that outgrew itself. I'm going to look up some of the books that Heinlein was more famous for, because I like the way he wrote.
Aug 27, 2012 Metello rated it it was amazing
Shelves: digitale, sci-fi
Spesso nella fantascienza la scienza, quando è in primo piano ha solo due ruoli: il mezzo per arrivare alla soluzione oppure la causa del problema.
In questo breve (88 pagine) racconto, questa logica viene ribaltata e il super scienziato si unisce allo stregone, mantenendo sempre un rigido punto di vista scientifico, veramente particolare!

Per il resto ben scritto, breve ma simpatico, non straordinario.
Dec 09, 2008 Roger rated it it was ok
Your typical early space age Analog sci-fi: a few interesting ideas, cardboard characters (except for the titulary), loads of expo, gets duller as it moves to an ultimately unsatisfying end. Should have focused on Waldo and his eponymous mechanical solutions more, the metaphysical plotline too easily ex-machinas the dilemma that could have made him a great character. Not Heinlein's best.
Apr 14, 2008 Jay rated it it was amazing
I would not be surprised at all to find that JK Rowling read this when she was a kid. It is very much in the same train as the Harry Potter books, and lots of fun. Premise? "well, what if those mystical magician types had a small chunk of the truth, and there is another alternate dimension that can affect the one we're in under certain conditions?"
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
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