waldo and magic incI’m astonished how many people have read these two novellas and miss the point. Some readers apparently can’t see any connection between the two stories. They think these novellas are in a single volume by a fluke or “to fill up space.” Either they didn’t really read them 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 our belief it will work. As long as we believe in it, it functions. If or when we stop believing, it won’t. It’s all magic.

When we lose faith in technology, magic jumps in and becomes the new technology. The difference between one and the other is functionally negligible. The stories’ plots are irrelevant. It’s the concept that counts.

I read these books about 50 years ago. I haven’t read them since, but remember them. Meanwhile, I can’t remember the plot of whatever book I read last week. These were original concepts when first introduced in the 1940s, was still original 25 years later when I read it. Probably still original today, more than 60 years after the stories were first published.

The best science fiction is concept-driven rather than character or plot-driven. These two have stuck with me for a lifetime. Both novellas are based on a unified concept: We believe in what works — and what works is what we believe.

Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing. Chaos is king and magic is loose in the world.

Available on Kindle, in paperback and from

Categories: Book Review, Books, Fiction, Literature, Magic, Reviews, Sci Fi - Fantasy - Time Travel, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Love Heinlein. Best is Starship Troopers (not the movie though!) and Tunnel in the Sky. There are others that are good but those were my top two for him. Visionary. Controversial. Entertaining. If you want to understand where The Mazerunner, Hunger Games, etc. got their start then read Tunnel in the Sky. It was only 40-years or so ahead of it’s time.


    • I think I’ve read just about everything Heinlein ever wrote, though some of it so long ago it blurs together with other things he wrote. He was ahead of his times …. the whole group of sci fi writers with whom he worked were way far in front of the crowd. They blazed a trail for the genre and took it from “unpublishable” to mainstream. Especially Heinlein who was the first to break into hardcover print. Periodically, I reread my favorites to remind myself how very good they were and why they have become classics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I rarely read books twice. Not because they are not worthy but because there are so many wonderful things to read, both new and old, that I have’t conquered yet. I have however read both Starship Toopers and Tunnel in the Sky several times each. They are worth it. Starship was the first book I ever read that was written in 1st person…it was eye-opening for me. I didn’t know you could do that! And Tunnel in the Sky was one of the first books I read that I actually wanted to be a part of. The ultimate camping trip! Yes. Trailblazing he was. If my writing is even a 10th of the likes of Heinlein I’d consider myself lucky and fulfilled as a human being.


  2. My wife had to call Comcast the other day because the shows recorded on the DVR weren’t showing up on the listing of recorded shows. The Comcast guy reset the DVR remotely from wherever he was — most likely India — and then all of the recorded shows showed up on the listing of shows that had been recorded. My wife commented to me, “I don’t understand how they can do that. I don’t understand the technology. It’s like magic.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Years ago I was on a Heinlein kick and tried to read anything and everything with his name on it. Somehow I missed this book. I might have to search it out.


Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Social artist

Curiosity to Infinity

Story Board

News Stories

Covert Novelist

Just another WordPress site

The Small Dog

Life from the Tail End

Cee's Chronic Illness Sisterhood

Peer support and hope for women with Chronic Illness and their support team.

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast


Crittering (noun) - the observation of critters in their natural habitat.

Works by Martha Kennedy

Historical Fiction, Memoir and Paintings

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.


Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

Official Site of Speaker, Historian and Author Sean Munger


I use the best, I use the rest

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

My Blog

Just another site

I'm a Writer, Yes, I Am!

Martha Ann Kennedy's Blog, Copyright 2013-2020, all rights reserved to the author/artist

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns



The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More



Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

%d bloggers like this: