In Science Fiction Grand Master Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife Norman Saylor, a professor of ethnology, discovers his wife Tansy has put his research into practice for the sake of protecting him from other spell-casting faculty wives who wish to further their own husbands’ careers. A man of science, Norman has only an academic interest in the subject of magic and superstition and forces Tansy to cease all her workings and to burn all her charms. As soon as Norman burns the last charm, things start to fall apart. He has a run-in with a former student, his student-secretary accuses him of having seduced her, and he is passed over for a promotion that had seemed certain.
Norman begins to have more than his fair share of small accidents: cutting himself while shaving, stepping on carpet tacks, cutting his hand with a letter opener, and more. He begins to imagine that there is a dark presence exploiting his fear of trucks. Tansy takes his curse upon herself forcing him to overcome his disbelief and use witchcraft to save his wife’s body—and her soul.
Originally published in 1953, Conjure Wife is considered a modern classic of horror-fantasy and has been adapted for film three times: “Burn, Witch Burn” (1962); “Weird Woman” (1944); and “Witch’s Brew” (1980). Yet another film remake is in the works.
E-Reads carries eighteen great Fritz Leiber novels including the classic Lankhmar series. Click here for a complete list.