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The Magic Goes Away Collection: The Magic Goes Away, the Magic May Return, and More Magic [Paperback]

Larry Niven
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Price: 13.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Feb 2005
This omnibus edition brings back into print three classic volumes of stories by Larry Niven and other acclaimed authors, all working within Niven's acclaimed "Magic" universe: THE MAGIC GOES AWAY; THE MAGIC MAY RETURN; and MORE MAGIC. This fantasy realm is the basis for Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's THE BURNING CITY, as well as the forthcoming BURNING TOWER. THE MAGIC GOES AWAY contains twelve stories by Niven; THE MAGIC MAY RETURN contains one story by Niven and contributions by Fred Saberhagen, Dean Ing, Steven Barnes, Mildred Downey Broxon, and Poul Anderson; and MORE MAGIC contains two Niven stories and additional contributions by Bob Shaw, Dian Girard, and legendary author Roger Zelazny.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (1 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743416937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743416931
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 13.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By T. D. Welsh TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Larry Niven fans should be aware that this book features work by nine authors, including Niven himself. He contributes a one-page introduction, "The Magic Goes Away" itself, "Not Long Before The End", and "The Lion In His Attic". There is also "Talisman", a collaboration between Niven and Dian Girard. Of the 358 pages, Niven alone contributes 125 (35 percent); if you include "The Talisman", this rises to 160 pages (45 percent).

For my money, the first two stories stand head and shoulders above the rest (with one exception). "The Magic Goes Away" is more of a novella than a novel, running just 90 pages, but its striking originality makes it linger in your mind. The basic thesis is that magic used to exist, long ago, but that it depended on a natural resource called mana which the magicians of the time depleted, just as we are using up fossil fuels. This simple change to our understanding of the universe allows Niven to construct an elaborate "alternative history" while technically keeping one foot in the domain of science fiction. For instance, we read how Atlantis was preserved by spells woven by its priest-kings, which gave way when Greek invaders killed the priests. The plot concerns how a group of sorcerers join together, in spite of powerful enmity and distrust, to find some new source of mana - without which their longevity spells will lapse, dooming them to immediate death (as they are all hundreds of years old). Their quest involves crossing the ocean on cloud-tops, and planning to steal the last surviving god from its place of rest.

"Not Long Before The End" is a "prequel" to "The Magic Goes Away", giving a full account of a critical incident merely referred to in the earlier story.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Variable quality, but engaging "SF-fantasy" from 9 authors 25 Mar 2007
By T. D. Welsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Larry Niven fans should be aware that this book features work by nine authors, including Niven himself. He contributes a one-page introduction, "The Magic Goes Away" itself, "Not Long Before The End", and "The Lion In His Attic". There is also "Talisman", a collaboration between Niven and Dian Girard. Of the 358 pages, Niven alone contributes 125 (35 percent); if you include "The Talisman", this rises to 160 pages (45 percent).

For my money, the first two stories stand head and shoulders above the rest (with one exception). "The Magic Goes Away" is more of a novella than a novel, running just 90 pages, but its striking originality makes it linger in your mind. The basic thesis is that magic used to exist, long ago, but that it depended on a natural resource called mana which the magicians of the time depleted, just as we are using up fossil fuels. This simple change to our understanding of the universe allows Niven to construct an elaborate "alternative history" while technically keeping one foot in the domain of science fiction. For instance, we read how Atlantis was preserved by spells woven by its priest-kings, which gave way when Greek invaders killed the priests. The plot concerns how a group of sorcerers join together, in spite of powerful enmity and distrust, to find some new source of mana - without which their longevity spells will lapse, dooming them to immediate death (as they are all hundreds of years old). Their quest involves crossing the ocean on cloud-tops, and planning to steal the last surviving god from its place of rest.

"Not Long Before The End" is a "prequel" to "The Magic Goes Away", giving a full account of a critical incident merely referred to in the earlier story. Although only ten pages long, it has the mixture of excitement and intellectual adventure that characterize Niven's best work. "The Lion In His Attic" is set in a drowned castle, years after the flooding of Atlantis. Two strangers arrive, ostensibly on honeymoon, but actually seeking a magic emerald. They make the mistake of underestimating the "lion" of the title - a highly qualified guardian whose nature they could hardly have expected. "The Talisman", co-authored with Dian Girard, though perhaps less ambitious and more subtle, paints an equally fascinating picture of magicians, thieves, kings, and soldiers.

The other stories are a mixed bunch, but none of them is less than readable. Fred Saberhagen contributes "Earthshade", an elegant miniature that neatly imports the Greek pantheon into Niven's "magic" universe. Less exalted, earthier and more complicated is Dean Ing's "Manaspill", which deals with how a court magician might use a windfall of mana to further his ambitions. I admit to being rather baffled by Steven Barnes' "...But Fear Itself", with its mystical vision of an enslaved tribe that uses the magical power of its children to wreak a terrible revenge on their oppressors. Poul Anderson is a writer whose books I have alway enjoyed, and "Strength", which he co-wrote with Mildred Downey Broxon, is the sort of post-apocalyptic adventure in which he excels. Shalindra, the widow of a sorcerer, rescues the hunter and practical man Brandek after a shipwreck, and the story develops the tension between her yearning after the old ways of magic and his determination to make a fresh start using simple technology.

Then we come to "The Shadow Of Wings" by Bob Shaw, another fine example of the "magician conspiring against the king" sub-genre. Even King Marcurades, who comes across as a blend of Alexander the Great and Edison, is a pawn in the hands of those who control mana - as long as they do control it, that is. And then, just as the book is nearly finished, we come to the best surprise of all: a fine piece of work by no less an author than Roger Zelazny! The protagonist of "Mana From Heaven" is a sorcerer at the height of his powers, but he is threatened by unknown assailants for reasons he cannot guess. No one has ever been better at telling this kind of story, and Zelazny does not disappoint.

I began by being aggrieved that Niven had written less than half of this book, but the more I read the more I liked it. The other authors (apart from Zelazny) may not quite rise to the levels of which Niven is capable, but they introduce a fascinating variety of points of view and emotional climates. All in all, strongly recommended!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time 7 Feb 2005
By Bette Noir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Larry Niven, primarily known for his hard science fiction, is equally adept at fantasy. "The Magic Goes Away", his masterpiece in this genre, has been out of print for years, and increasingly difficult to obtain. At last, it is available again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back to an old favorite. 23 Jun 2011
By JULIE WHEAT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had read this when it first came out in the late sixties. I happened to think about it again and couldn't find my original so I ordered it from Amazon and I'm very pleased that I was able to get it again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stories dealing with Magic 25 Nov 2008
By Norman Strojny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Magic Goes Away Collection" has stories from three separate collections of stories that are from "The Magic Goes Away" fantasy universe created by Larry Niven. All the stories are good. I think Larry Niven's stories are particularly good.

The novella, "The Magic Goes Away", was the start of this universe and is based on a new concept for Magic universes. Larry did good!

There are some stories by other authors, but they are good, too.

I recommend this book for anyone who has ever enjoyed a magic-centered fantasy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The magic has returned! 21 Dec 2007
By Sean P. Logue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The idea of magic as a non-renewable resource is such a simple, logical concept that once you see it you wonder why everyone isn't treating it that way. It just makes everything so much more interesting because it ties magic in with the real world. This is a great collection of stories by various authors. As you might expect, because of this the styles and quality tend to vary as well, which is why I took off a star.
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