by Martin H. Greenberg & Loren L. Coleman (Editors)
Edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Loren L. Coleman
Review by Andrew Brooks
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756404390
Date: 06 November 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Ever wonder what the wizards who aren't battling dark lords, or teaching the next generation spells and potions, do for a living? DAW's latest anthology, Wizards, Inc., gives you an idea. The wizards and witches in this book dabble in magic, sure, but it's less of a heroic calling and more of a, well, job. And that's the major thread woven through each of the tales in Wizards, Inc. We've all got to make a living somehow; these folks are just going about it a bit differently. There are wizards who use their skills doing corporate security work, a small business owner struggling to pay the bills, and a research and development firm that specializes in the defense against criminal wizards. Those are only a few examples of the kinds of wizarding careers laid out in the 15 stories DAW has pulled together, a collection that mostly works.
As is the case with all anthologies, there are decent stories and good ones, although none of them were truly great. And yes, there were certainly a few that didn't quite pull the rabbit out of the hat, but that's a given with even the best of anthologies.
Two stories that stuck out in my mind were "Jamaica" by Orson Scott Card and "Audition" by Steve Perry. Although "Jamaica" wasn't the best Card story I've ever read (check out his short "Fat Farm" if you get the chance), it did feel more complete to me in a way that some of the others didn't. It's the old tale of a boy realizing he has far more talents than he could have imagined and is actually not an ordinary kid but (of course) a wizard. It worked for me. "Audition" follows a man who does corporate security and by the close has had a spell of a different sort cast on him. It's a fast and fun read that's pretty humorous. Which is what most of these stories aim for, and why I found Wizards, Inc. to be a bit hit-or-miss. A lot of writers talk about how hard it is to write humor, and that's pretty evident in a few of the stories. Also, the brevity of some left me with the feeling that this or that writer hadn't really been given the word count or space to complete their vision.
The 15 stories in this collection aren't all solid, but there's enough magic for those interested in how wizards might go about bringing home the bacon to like.