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The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories

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ix · Foreword · Ray Bradbury · fw 13 · Miss Gentilbelle · ss Stories for the Dead of Night, ed. Don Congdon, Dell, 1957 31 · The Last Caper · ss F&SF Mar ’54 42 · The New People [as by Michael Phillips] · ss Rogue Aug ’58 63 · The Vanishing American · ss F&SF Aug ’55 74 · The Monster Show · ss Playboy May ’56 81 · The Magic Man · ss Night Ride and Other Journeys, Bantam, 1 ix · Foreword · Ray Bradbury · fw 13 · Miss Gentilbelle · ss Stories for the Dead of Night, ed. Don Congdon, Dell, 1957 31 · The Last Caper · ss F&SF Mar ’54 42 · The New People [as by Michael Phillips] · ss Rogue Aug ’58 63 · The Vanishing American · ss F&SF Aug ’55 74 · The Monster Show · ss Playboy May ’56 81 · The Magic Man · ss Night Ride and Other Journeys, Bantam, 1960 101 · A Classic Affair · ss Playboy Dec ’55 115 · The Hunger · ss Playboy Apr ’55 130 · Black Country · ss Playboy Sep ’54 152 · The Love-Master [as by S. M. Tenneshaw] · ss Rogue Feb ’57 162 · The Dark Music · ss Playboy Dec ’56 177 · Fair Lady · ss The Hunger and Other Stories, Putnam, 1957 183 · Perchance to Dream · ss Playboy Oct ’58 192 · The Crooked Man · ss Playboy Aug ’55 201 · Open House · ss The Hunger and Other Stories, Putnam, 1957 213 · Last Rites · ss If Oct ’55 228 · The Murderers · ss Esquire Feb ’55 241 · A Death in the Country [“The Deadly Will to Win”] · ss Playboy Nov ’57 257 · Afterword · Richard Matheson · aw


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ix · Foreword · Ray Bradbury · fw 13 · Miss Gentilbelle · ss Stories for the Dead of Night, ed. Don Congdon, Dell, 1957 31 · The Last Caper · ss F&SF Mar ’54 42 · The New People [as by Michael Phillips] · ss Rogue Aug ’58 63 · The Vanishing American · ss F&SF Aug ’55 74 · The Monster Show · ss Playboy May ’56 81 · The Magic Man · ss Night Ride and Other Journeys, Bantam, 1 ix · Foreword · Ray Bradbury · fw 13 · Miss Gentilbelle · ss Stories for the Dead of Night, ed. Don Congdon, Dell, 1957 31 · The Last Caper · ss F&SF Mar ’54 42 · The New People [as by Michael Phillips] · ss Rogue Aug ’58 63 · The Vanishing American · ss F&SF Aug ’55 74 · The Monster Show · ss Playboy May ’56 81 · The Magic Man · ss Night Ride and Other Journeys, Bantam, 1960 101 · A Classic Affair · ss Playboy Dec ’55 115 · The Hunger · ss Playboy Apr ’55 130 · Black Country · ss Playboy Sep ’54 152 · The Love-Master [as by S. M. Tenneshaw] · ss Rogue Feb ’57 162 · The Dark Music · ss Playboy Dec ’56 177 · Fair Lady · ss The Hunger and Other Stories, Putnam, 1957 183 · Perchance to Dream · ss Playboy Oct ’58 192 · The Crooked Man · ss Playboy Aug ’55 201 · Open House · ss The Hunger and Other Stories, Putnam, 1957 213 · Last Rites · ss If Oct ’55 228 · The Murderers · ss Esquire Feb ’55 241 · A Death in the Country [“The Deadly Will to Win”] · ss Playboy Nov ’57 257 · Afterword · Richard Matheson · aw

30 review for The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    RJ - Slayer of Trolls

    Charles Beaumont, one of the main writers behind the success of the original Twilight Zone TV series, passed away at a young age due to early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. He left behind a wealth of short stories showing his wide range of interest and ability, not to mention a surprising maturity in theme and style for his tender age. This out of print and difficult to find collection contains some of his best pieces. As usual, the list of stories and ratings are below, along with some song lyrics Charles Beaumont, one of the main writers behind the success of the original Twilight Zone TV series, passed away at a young age due to early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. He left behind a wealth of short stories showing his wide range of interest and ability, not to mention a surprising maturity in theme and style for his tender age. This out of print and difficult to find collection contains some of his best pieces. As usual, the list of stories and ratings are below, along with some song lyrics that may be amusing or insightful or clever, or not. Miss Gentilbelle - 4/5 - I'm a boy, I'm a boy, but if I say I am I get it The Last Caper - 3/5 - you know he knows just exactly what the facts is The New People - 5/5 - can this still be real or some crazy dream? The Vanishing American - 3/5 - now they can't see me any more The Monster Show - 3/5 - you're face to face with the man who sold the world The Magic Man - 4/5 - try, try, try to understand A Classic Affair - 4/5 - well I'm not braggin' babe so don't put me down The Hunger - 2/5 - you think I'm a fool or maybe some kind of lunatic Black Country - 3/5 - you feel alright when you hear the music ring The Love-Master - 4/5 - you must be sure that the girl is pure for the Funky Cold Medina The Dark Music - 3/5 - darkness wakes and stirs imagination Fair Lady - 3/5 - another one rides the bus Perchance to Dream - 4/5 - we're off to never-never land The Crooked Man - 4/5 - be yourself, no matter what they say Open House - 3/5 - I used to love her, but I had to kill her Last Rites - 3/5 - would it be the same, if I saw you in heaven? The Murderers - 3/5 - life ain't for you and we're the cure A Death in the Country (The Deadly Will to Win) - 3/5 - at night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wally Flangers

    “The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories” is a short story anthology that was published in 1965. Nine of these stories were previously published in “The Hunger and Other Stories” (1957), six of them were from “Night Ride and Other Journeys” (1960), and three of them were from “Yonder” (1958). As with all my short story collection reviews, I rate each story individually and then calculate the average rating as the total rating for the book. But, I warn you…. Some of the reviews of each ind “The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories” is a short story anthology that was published in 1965. Nine of these stories were previously published in “The Hunger and Other Stories” (1957), six of them were from “Night Ride and Other Journeys” (1960), and three of them were from “Yonder” (1958). As with all my short story collection reviews, I rate each story individually and then calculate the average rating as the total rating for the book. But, I warn you…. Some of the reviews of each individual story includes a brief synopsis, which may or may not include a SPOILER. I write my short story reviews this way for future reference to remind me of which ones are worth the time re-reading and which ones are not. Although I do not ruin a good story by announcing any significant spoiler….. If you happen to come across one, it will be in a story that I hated and never intend on reading again. But, you can avoid potentially stumbling across a spoiler by skipping to the very bottom of the review, where it says “FINAL VERDICT”. That is where my overall review for “The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories” is listed. The stories within the book include; MISS GENTILBELLE – Although this story was first introduced in this collection, it can also be found in “Charles Beaumont Selected Stories”. It is about an insane mother of a young boy, whose confused about his gender because she has told him he is a female throughout his entire life. Instead of calling him Robert, she refers to him as Roberta and makes him wear little dresses…. When it comes to disciplinary action, the mother is stellar! Instead of giving him the ol’ spanking or taking his toys away, she chooses to murder his pets – right in front of him. Naturally, over time this behavior messes with the boys mental state of mind and he decides to get some payback. I thought this story was great and even fits in well with today’s horror. THE LAST CAPER – This story was published in 1954 and is a science-fiction, cat and mouse game of find the “Chocolate Maltese Falcon”. A man named Bartholomew Cornblossom is after it and so is everyone else, including Martians! But, Bart is closer to the Maltese than he thinks…. This story was a fun read. THE NEW PEOPLE – This story was published in 1958 and is about a couple who move into a new house in a new town and are introduced to friendly folks in the neighborhood who are interested in two things; sex and murder. This was a fun story and one of my favorites, due to the dark mood setting and disturbing ending. I highly recommend this one to fans of the horror genre. Laymon and King fans will really enjoy this one. THE VANISHING AMERICAN – This story was published in a 1955. It is about a dude who realizes he is disappearing when he stops getting responses or reactions out of people he passes on the street or meets in an elevator. It was very short, but a fun read with a good ending. THE MONSTER SHOW – This story was published in 1956 in “Playboy” magazine. In this one, the reader is introduced to a show put on to entertain a different kind of crowd…. It has a game show type of feel to it with bright lights and a loud introductory speaker and ends unexpectedly. This story was only about five pages, but it was one that I was not fond of. THE MAGIC MAN – This story was published in 1960 in “Night Ride and Other Journeys” and is about a magician, awed by his audience for his mystifying magic, who ends up dissipating his aurora by his own hand. Although Stephen King is a big fan of this story, I just thought it was ok. It had its moments, but I wouldn’t rank it among the best stories in the collection…. I never put a lot of stock in King’s recommendations anyway. A lot of short stories and books he praises and say “scared the shit out of me” end up just being mediocre in my eyes. A CLASSIC AFFAIR – This story was published in 1955 in “Playboy” magazine and is a story told in a first-person narrative. Dave, the narrator, has a long-time friend named Hank Osterman.… Ruth, Hank’s wife, suspects that he is having an affair and asks Dave to confirm this suspicion. While investigating Dave discovers that Hank is, in fact, up to something…. But, not what Ruth thinks. This was a great story with an ambiguous ending. There are many directions this ending could have gone in. Beaumont settled on simplicity. THE HUNGER – This story was published in “Playboy” magazine in 1955. It’s about a sexually inexperienced chick named Julia who is on the prowl for a mass murderer on the loose and believed to be lurking around the surrounding areas. This was another classic Beaumont story and also ambiguous. I can see why a lot of people consider this one to be among the best in the anthology. I would definitely recommend reading this one. BLACK COUNTRY – This story was published in 1954 and was the first short story ever to be featured in “Playboy” magazine. It’s about a cancer stricken jazz musician who has taken his own life, but leaves something behind. This was one of my least favorite stories in the anthology. I do not plan to ever revisit this one. THE LOVE MASTER – This story was published in 1957 in “Rogue” magazine and is about a man named Salvadori, also known by the town folk as “the love master”…. For a price, Salvadori is trying to help a man named Mr. Cubbison make his wife, Beatrice, love him again and Mr. Cubbison believes he is just the man to do it. Unfortunately, Salvadori’s methods (or spells) are not working on Beatrice and he can’t understand why…. The love master does not make house calls, but chooses to make an exception in this case and lives to regret it. Although I had an idea where this story was headed, it was still an enjoyable read. THE DARK MUSIC – This story was published in 1956 and is about a prudish school teacher who hears hypnotic music at night which makes her do things she wouldn’t normally do. This story was surprisingly entertaining but I wasn’t overly fond of the ending. FAIR LADY – Although this story was first introduced in this collection, it’s another one that can also be found in “Charles Beaumont Selected Stories”. This story is almost too short to rate. It’s a cute story about an old woman desperate for love. PERCHANCE TO DREAM – This story was published in 1958 and was adapted for “The Twilight Zone”. While visiting a psychiatrist, Philip Hall reveals he hasn’t slept for 72 hours due to a sudden fear of dying and explains the details of his recent dreams that led him to this strong intuition. This was one of my favorite stories in the anthology and contains a classic Beaumont twist at the end. THE CROOKED MAN – This story was published in 1955 in “Playboy” magazine and is about a heterosexual couple living in some sort of alternative universe where hetero’s are the queers and targeted for extinction. Given the publishing dates, I can only assume “The Crooked Man” was the inspiration behind Ron Serling’s screenplay of “Eye of the Beholder”, but I cannot confirm this. It was a great story though and I highly recommend it. OPEN HOUSE – Another one that was previously unpublished…. Eddie Pierce has committed a heinous crime and his alcoholic buddies show up plastered at his apartment shortly after it takes place and ignore Eddie’s pleas to scram so he can get some sleep. This is a good story for you nosey people who can’t take a hint (or refuse to listen). I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense this story delivers. LAST RITES – This story was published in 1955 and is about a guy named George Donovan who is on his death bed and wants his priest and only friend, Father Courtney, by his side to ask him a very important question about the afterlife and his beliefs. Although this story was good and fitting for the time, it is definitely dated and very predictable. THE MURDERERS – This story was published in “Esquire” magazine in 1955 and is about a couple of mentally deranged alcoholics who are bored one evening and decide it would be fun to kill another human being. They come across an old, homeless dude and invite him back to their apartment to fulfill their agreed arrangement but a slight delay results in an unexpected change of events. This was an interesting story. I certainly underestimated the homeless man and realized I forgot one undeniable truth…. Just because you are homeless, does not mean you are stupid. Homeless people are survivors first…. honest and law abiding citizens second. A DEATH IN THE COUNTRY / THE DEADLY WILL TO WIN – This story was published in 1957 and is about an unemployed and weathered 48 year-old stock car racer named Buck Larsen. Buck travels across the country in his old Chevy in search of car races as a means of financial survival. He relies heavily on placing high enough in the race results to award him some of the prize money to keep his belly full and float him until the next race…. I have zero interest in car racing (or even cars in general), but this one was entertaining. The ending was fairly predictable, yet still effective. FINAL VERDICT: I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. There are some great stories printed in “The Magic Man and Other Science-Fantasy Stories” with some unexpected twists in some cases. This short story collection is a must read for any “Twilight Zone” fan.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Fetters

    Just finished reading a scary good short story collection called The Magic Man by Charles Beaumont. Every story is a winner and for your Summer reading, visit your local library or used bookstore and get you copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Found this in a local used bookstore some time ago and saved it for a rainy day. Reading this was a bucket-list kind of achievement because it's one of the books that Stephen King recommends at the end of Danse Macabre. Of historical interest, definitely, but few of the stories connected with me. My two favorites in this collection are "The Vanishing American" and "The Hunger" (and definitely were anthologized elsewhere). If you like the stories of John Collier, you might appreciate Beaumont at Found this in a local used bookstore some time ago and saved it for a rainy day. Reading this was a bucket-list kind of achievement because it's one of the books that Stephen King recommends at the end of Danse Macabre. Of historical interest, definitely, but few of the stories connected with me. My two favorites in this collection are "The Vanishing American" and "The Hunger" (and definitely were anthologized elsewhere). If you like the stories of John Collier, you might appreciate Beaumont at his best. When I was a kid, Beaumont was a guy I learned about from watching episodes of The Twilight Zone from the 1960s and you could only find collections of his stories at SF/fantasy conventions. Catching up with Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont in those days was a kind of hobby: they were the two writers for whom Twilight Zone was kind of in their wheelhouse, and they were contemporaries and buddies. (There's a story in this collection, "Perchance to Dream," which was adapted into a particularly good episode of the series.) Both Matheson and Beaumont had a peculiar flavor of satire/bitterness, they were all about sticking a pin in the conformity and smugness of the American postwar period, letting the air out of the 1950s, the writing tended to fit comfortably within the genre (unlike Ray Bradbury, who preceded them, they were more about plot than style) but there was a dark twist to the stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    I only read "The Crooked Man" from this anthology because I found the story online. It's about a futuristic society where gay is the norm and heteros are persecuted and forced to undergo "cures" to make them conform. An interesting twist. Very short, too short to really get into it, but good nonetheless. I only read "The Crooked Man" from this anthology because I found the story online. It's about a futuristic society where gay is the norm and heteros are persecuted and forced to undergo "cures" to make them conform. An interesting twist. Very short, too short to really get into it, but good nonetheless.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Stephen King recommended the story "The Magic Man." Noted as "important to the genre we have been discussing" from Danse Macabre, published in 1981. Stephen King recommended the story "The Magic Man." Noted as "important to the genre we have been discussing" from Danse Macabre, published in 1981.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Denny

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol Tensen

  9. 4 out of 5

    William Roberts

  10. 5 out of 5

    Undeniably

  11. 5 out of 5

    Still

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sooreh Mikanik

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Berendt

  15. 4 out of 5

    William Mccamment

  16. 4 out of 5

    S.M. Vance

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Moloney

  18. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ron Lasner

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike Heyd

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ali Mahmoud

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jimb Jackson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Grogan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mrdurden24

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mavis 69 420 666

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott

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