The stories in Space Magic are so disparate that it’s hard to describe them. They all explore questions about humanity and try to make you think about yourself. But the only true similarity between the stories might be the author.

It was a campaign pin in red, white, and blue. It was a little faded, but still plainly readable: RE-ELECT JFK IN ’64.

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You might be taken inside the home of a factory worker in 1930’s America, forced to choose between feeding his family or helping the labor union change policies that killed many of his friends– friends that are still seeking justice. Or perhaps you’re on a foreign planet with a salesman, wondering if the aliens really need what he’s selling.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Fellow reviewer/Geeky Library crew member Taylor gave me a signed copy as a present – as a subtle hint that I should write more reviews.

David Levine is from Portland, Oregon (like me, and the rest of the Geeky Library crew). He won the 2006 Hugo for best short story with “Tk’Tk’Tk” (included in the book).

The stories ran the gamut from haunted depression-era factories, to wizards, to alien worlds, to the far distant future. Most of them are science fiction, but with some fantasy mixed in.

Rating (3 stars)

Levine’s writing style is well-suited to short stories. By the middle of the second paragraph of each story, I was hooked in to whatever story he was telling me, and knew what was going on, whether it involved dragons or spaceships or a slightly altered present.

But the premise of some of the stories is a little too far out there for me. And books that try to make philosophical points really aren’t my style.

Hugo winner “Tk’Tk’Tk” was actually one of my least favorites. Perhaps it was just a really good description of the way aliens smell that turned me off… or perhaps my tastes are just that far off from Hugo voters?

I really liked some of the stories, especially “Nucleon,” which is about a junkyard that knows what its visitors need. As a mechanic who has spent a fair amount of time scrounging for old Volvo parts, I’ve always found junkyards somewhat spiritual.