I read a short story once that had the following features:

  • Bald wizard who was old, but youthful in appearance by magic
  • Someone casts spells that propagate in circles and disable magic within the reach of the spell
  • At one point, the wizard hits a magic dead zone and ages
  • The wizard tries to help a younger wizard who can change shapes

The rest of the details are really hazy in my mind, but it seems like it was in a book with other short stories, including one by Gordon R. Dickson.

Hopefully someone can help me locate this story.

2 Answers 2


It might be "The Magic Goes Away" by 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 resource, 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.

Description of the protagonist from the book:

He was an old man, tall and lean, his head bald as an egg, his voice thin and reedy.

  • 1
    What makes you think this is the answer? Can you provide some details from the book that match what OP's looking for?
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 19:59
  • I don't remember them aging in the shirt story, but I remember the sequel had them aging, including a scene on the flying carpet where they fly through a cloud of magic, become young, and have sex.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 23:12

Sounds to me like "The Magic Goes Away" also. The Warlock enlists help of werewolf, (can change from man to wolf.) Manna (the power behind magic) can be exhausted in an area by over-use, and if the Warlock falls into an area depleted of manna, the spells keeping him young don't work. I saw this as a graphic novel, and part published as a short story (What Good is a Glass Dagger?) in several collections. The werewolf is a rug merchant I think, and at one point a flying carpet is used.

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