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Waldo and Magic, Inc

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,740 ratings  ·  49 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
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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. HeinleinStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land 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 41 books — 199 voters
Mistborn 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
403rd out of 1,470 books — 4,998 voters


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Community Reviews

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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
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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
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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
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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.
Peter
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
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
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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
Dustin
Nov 13, 2008 Dustin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Tracey
Sep 14, 2007 Tracey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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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

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Bebabi34

Waldo o dell'impossibile (Romanzo, Waldo, 1950) di Robert A. Heinlein
Traduzione di L[ella] Pollini

Kelly
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
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
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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
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John
Nov 25, 2014 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
1977 grade A+
2010 grade A
Anachie Stayrook
An odd pair of novelas.
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.
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.
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.
Adrian
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.
Metello
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.
Roger
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.
Jay
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?"
Little
Neither of these novellas was anything groundbreaking. Waldo maybe is trying to make the point that we are all essentially good, or that overcoming our weaknesses makes us good, or something. But mostly it's not that interesting. And Magic, Inc. is a none-too-engaging tale about the problems with mega-corporations.
Dean Deters
Found this old book by Heinlein at a garage sale. Actually 2 completely different stories, one about science, one magic.

The science story was ok, I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and left some questions for me.

The magic story was better, sort of a mafia of magic story. Interesting application of an old idea.

Linda Chrisman
My mother bought me this on the way home from work one day. Only indication I ever had that she noticed what I read. Loved both stories enormously. This was one of the books that started me on a lifetime if science fiction & fantasy reading. Yes, I still have that battered 65 cent paperback!
Glenn
Two stories for the price of one, but they both revolve around the idea that magic is loose in the world and can be controlled and researched just like any other form of energy. Well written, well paced. It's Heinlein in his usual fine form, so you won't regret reading it.
Noa
Mar 06, 2009 Noa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Noa by: my dad
Waldo - It freaked me out a bit, especially how the thoughts of people had the power to change the world. However, I loved to see Waldo change as a cruel, rude, self-absorbed genius to an over-all nice guy.

Magic Inc. - Great book. Another book report book.
Gabriel C.
Really quite bad.

"The deep jungles of Africa might be very different places---when there was no white man around to see! The strangely slippery laws of magic might still obtain."

I'd say this is pretty representative.
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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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More about Robert A. Heinlein...
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