The Fat Magician


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Starwater Strains

When Lee Martindale asked me for a story for Such a Pretty Face, she asked me not to submit "a fat gene" story. I warned her that "The Fat Magician" was a fat Gene story, but she took it anyhow. I've written four or five stories about Sam Cooper, Ph.D.: perhaps there'll be enough for a collection someday.


The story of an obese Austrian stage magician who hid people from the Nazis.


  • The village could be Raichenbach im Mühlkreis. It's close to Freistadt and there are rails nearby.
  • The old people from fat Ernst's generation feared him while the young ones like him.

Unresolved Questions

  • What is the last name of fat Ernst S****?
    • It is the same name as the Romantik Hotel. There is a Romantik Hotel Schwarzer Adler (Black Eagle) in Innsbruck, Austria. Schwarzer would make a good name for Ernst.
  • How did fat Ernst die?
    • Did the Nazis indeed kill him? (The story strongly suggests they did).
  • Why did the waiter in the Café recommend the Romantik Hotel?
  • Near the end it's written: "...the Werewolf of the folklore...".
    • Was fat Ernst more than a simple conjurer?
    • Is this Wolfe doing his signature wolf trick? He seems to identify with Ernst, and says this is a "fat Gene" story, so it would seem so.

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