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Not Long Before the End

Magic Goes Away

Larry Niven

Hugo and Nebula Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1969. The story can also be found in the anthologies Nebula Award Stories Five (1970), edited by James Blish, and The Magic May Return (1981), edited by Larry Niven. It is included in the collections All the Myriad Ways (1971) and The Best of Larry Niven (2010).

The Magic Goes Away

Magic Goes Away: Book 1

Larry Niven

The Warlock, whose actual name is both unknown and unpronounceable, is a powerful sorcerer in excess of 200 years of age. He observes that when he stays in one place too long, his powers dwindle and will return only when he leaves that place. Experimentation leads him to create an apparatus (now known as the Warlock's Wheel) consisting of a metal disc enchanted to spin perpetually. The enchantment eventually consumes all the mana in the vicinity, causing a localized failure in all magic. The Warlock realizes that magic is fueled by a non-renewable rescource, which would cause great concern among the magicians, as it was through their magic that nations enforced their wills both internally and abroad.

The widespread diminishing of magical power in The Magic Goes Away triggered a quest on the part of the most powerful of the magicians of the time to harness a new source of magic (the Moon), resulting in the events described in the book.

The Magic May Return

Magic Goes Away: Book 2

Larry Niven

Once there was unlimited magic, but reckless magicians have used up the "mana", the power behind the magic. Larry Niven opens his world to the storytelling talents of Poul Anderson, Steven Barnes, Mildred Downey Broxon, and Dean Ing with stories that tap the hidden reserves of mana and uncover the forgotten places of power.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - (1981) - essay by uncredited
  • Not Long Before the End - (1969) - shortstory by Larry Niven
  • Earthshade - (1981) - novelette by Fred Saberhagen
  • Manaspill - (1981) - novelette by Dean Ing
  • "...but fear itself" - (1981) - novelette by Steven Barnes
  • Strength - (1981) - novella by Poul Anderson and Mildred Downey Broxon

More Magic

Magic Goes Away: Book 3

Larry Niven

Four stories describe a world of warlocks, wizards, werewolves, dervishes, unicorns, and the magical power of mana.

Table of Contents:

  • The Lion in His Attic - (1982) - shortstory by Larry Niven
  • Shadow of Wings - novelette by Bob Shaw
  • Talisman - (1981) - novelette by Larry Niven and Dian Girard
  • Mana from Heaven - (1983) - novelette by Roger Zelazny