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The Witching Hour Paperback – 1970


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Paperback, 1970
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3 stories, including "The Magicians" 17 Jun 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Unknown Binding
The Witching Hour is a collection of three stories by Gunn: A short story about a hillbilly girl with telekinesis (think of it as a 1950's cross between The Beverly Hillbillies and Bewitched), a very short piece about the god Bacchus and a brewery, and the novella "The Magicians". This last piece, which takes up most of the volume, posits a group of people who have learned how to recreate the powers of magic, using mathematics rather eye of newt as the basis. I wrote a review of this story under the Magicians, also for sale through Amazon. The version is this volume is the slightly modified one that appeared in the 1960's. It is much the same as the original story from the mid-50's. In the mid-70's Gunn went back and expanded and updated the story, and this was published in a seperate volume as "The Magicians". As of this writing, (June, 2004) Amazon offers both. Both are recommended, although I don't believe that the later additions really contribute much to the plot. Whichever you pick, it is a little gem. The other two stories made little impression on me, but perhaps they will entertain you.
The appeal of the Magicians lies in its using a very standard formula (the Hard Boiled Detective) to introduce something exotic (witchcraft, curses, magic mirrors, teleportation, True Names) which turns out to have its basis in tensor analysis and chalked equations. Think of Harry Potter, where magic is a learned craft. If you like this sort of thing, i.e., magic with rules and technique, then I think you will enjoy this book.
I am writing this review to save the remaining copies of the book frim becoming landfill, and to provide another reader out there with some of the entertainment I had.
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