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Magic, Inc.

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  736 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Magic, Inc. (1940) is a science fantasy novella by Robert A. Heinlein. It was originally published in Unknown Fantasy Fiction of September 1940, under the title "The Devil Makes the Law".
In the story, magic is a commonplace profession used by businessmen in various fields. A small business owner fights off an attempt to force magic under the control of a corrupt associatio
140 pages
Published (first published 1940)
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Althea Ann
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
“… 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
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
Como seria um mundo onde a magia domina todos os sectores da sociedade? Bem...não muito diferente,a corrupção e ambição na política seria exactamente igual e a máfia continuaria a ter sotaque siciliano.
Gosto sinceramente da escrita de Robert A. Heinlein, a forma como nos apresenta a realidade alternativa das suas histórias é sem dúvida um exemplo a seguir, ele mostra-nos em vez de nos dizer e até á última página há coisas novas para descobrir. A intriga política foi mais complexa do que esperav
Aug 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, fantasy
“… 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
Greg D'Agostino
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
What may be one of the first examples of what would come to be called urban fantasy, this is Heinlein constructing an alternate world where magick is integral to the functioning of the business community.

Heinlein uses his extensive knowledge of how business and politics function, with his deep understanding of the human condition, to craft a tale of a building contractor beset by a racketeering demonic association who are attempting to monopolize the use of magick across the country.

As the story
Pablo Fernández garcía
¿Y si la magia se empleara cotidianamente en la industria y los negocios? Una premisa muy interesante y que comienza bastante bien, con un nudo en el que se sumerge en el sistema político estadounidense (que puede resultar un poco tedioso para algunos lectores) y un final a mi parecer bastante abrupto.

La historia se hace un tanto corta; si el desarrollo hubiese tomado otro cauce o la plasmación de las cámarillas políticas enganchara más sin duda habría merecido unos cuantos capítulos adicionale
Nuno Magalhães
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, own
Não vale a pena perder tempo a ler este livro: é maçador e desatualizado.
Steve M.
I didn't know what to expect from this one. Heinlein is known for science fiction adventure involving a cast of rugged individualists overcoming the odds and creating their own destinies. So magic? Well, if you think of magic as science, it works! As not to give up the plot I'll just say, I can imagine a teenage aspiring writer reading Magic, Inc. and growing up to become Larry Correia.
B Joel
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, sci-fi-awards
Despite various controversies Robert A. Heinlein is considered one of the fathers of American science fiction. I have never read anything by this author and I was eager to read this novellette when it was sent to me as part of the retro-Hugo award packet.
The story is entertaining, original, and well-written but there are some sexist comments that rendered the book hard to like for me. They are so bad that it is not clear if they are intended as a satirical critique of the sexist attitudes of the
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who dislike the standard fantasy formula
(I am only reviewing the titular novella)
This novella is an excellent example of how a fantasy setting can be used to tell a variety of stories, and not just the usual sword-and-sorcery adventure which is most commonly associated to the genre.
While the story is interesting and very well written (not even the Italian translation, which as I've stated again and again is usually clunky as hell, managed to spoil it), it has some flaws, especially in character building: while you glimpse interesting
Matteo Pellegrini

Avete mai letto, o sperato di leggere, "La casa nuova", "La nostra bella città" e "Anonima Stregoni"? Oggi per i lettori di sf sono classici imperdibili, ma per un veterano della fantascienza plausibile e tecnologica come Heinlein, concedersi quattro passi a contatto con il brivido e l'ignoto rappresentava una sfida... Che un viaggiatore di commercio venda elefanti, che la magia sia regolata da leggi ferree come quelle della fisica o che una casa a quattro dimensioni apra le sue finestre sull'Al

Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
A classic from Heinlein that I finally got around to reading. It was an interesting story basically taking place in a modern, 20th Century locale, but where magic also exists and is used in many facets of business. This tale delves into some of the bureaucracy which of course ultimately grows around it, and how it begins to affect the main character, and what he goes through to fight it.

It was kind of a Fantasy book of a different sort for me. But overall, I thought it was pretty entertaining, a
Felipe Guerrero
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok

Un libro un tanto extraño, a mi parecer, tomando en cuenta que fue concebido por el mismo autor de Starship Troopers.

La historia se desarrolla en un mundo donde la magia funciona y ha sido incorporada a los diferentes ambitos de la vida cotidiana y a los trabajos en general.

Empieza con un intento de extorcion para despues tornarse en todo un plan maestro para apoderarse por completo del control sobre la magia por medio de las leyes, con todo y abogados, votaciones y demas.

Interesante pero un tan
There is a definite plot construction for Heinlein's early work, with great skilled individuals being kept down by THE MAN (whether that be government, corporations, unions etc.) and them working out how to solve the problem. This is very much in this vein, simply replacing science with magic. It is interesting that this one ties it to politics (specifically the gun control debate and The Sullivan Act), however the later reveal makes it rather incoherent. At that same time, the romance plot is j ...more
Heinlein con Anonima stregoni ha messo in piedi un fantasy più che discreto: notevole la prima metà (la descrizione di un mondo imprenditoriale imbevuto di magia è molto divertente), un po' noiosa la seconda parte (onestamente l'excursus politico-burocratico mi ha annoiato dopo poche pagine). In generale un romanzo godibile, da recuperare anche solo per apprezzare un Grande della fantascienza cimentarsi in un campo poco famigliare.
Norman Cook
Retro Hugo Award Finalist (1940)

This is a rare foray into fantasy for Heinlein, an early "urban fantasy" that uses fantasy tropes to illustrate one of Heinlein's typical problem-solving men. It's an entertaining enough story, but it's fairly predictable if you know how Heinlein writes. One thing that mars the story considerably is some racist language.
Carlos Reges
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
No sé, me costó seguirle el hilo pues toma diversas temáticas en una misma trama secuencial. Creo que lo leeré cuando de verdad esté mejor concentrado y no perderme en tantos contextos sobre la historia.
Patrick McFarland
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A unique and fun read.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the least expected story by Heinlein. If you've read any of his other fiction, you will not see this coming.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
es un libro raro, pero muy agradable de leer. Se puede interpretar de muchas formas existiendo paralelismos con nuestra realidad en cualquier época. Recomendado
Joyz Riter-MacQueen
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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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