cover image The Radio Magician and Other Stories

The Radio Magician and Other Stories

James Van Pelt. Fairwood Press, $17.99 (296pp) ISBN 978-0-9820730-2-5

From robots to werewolves, witchcraft to terraforming, James Van Pelt's neatly crafted short stories have been a mainstay in science fiction and fantasy magazines for a generation. In his third collection, nineteen reprinted stories demonstrate once again Van Pelt's fertile imagination, as well as his broadly appealing and flexible style. The title story is a Bradbury-esque tale of a boy crippled by polio who puts desperate hope for a cure in the illusions of a magician on the radio. ""Of Late I Dreamt of Venus"" and ""How Music Begins"" examine the cost of perfection, while ""The Last Age Should Know Your Heart"" and ""Tiny Voices"" explore the value of life from unusual perspectives. In some of the more episodic stories, Van Pelt tackles the ugly price of world peace in ""The Light of a Thousand Suns"", the mix of teenage angst and magic in ""Origins of the Species"", and the post-apocalyptic follies in ""The Ice Cream Man""-all reminiscent of classic Twilight Zone tales: rich with provocative ideas. Readers are bound to enjoy these stories from an author who is as equally at home with magic as he is with hot-rodding spaceship pilots.