Skip to main content

Ass-Hat Magic Spider by Scott Westerfeld

* Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

"Ass-Hat Magic Spider" is a 2008 science fiction short story by Scott Westerfeld. It is about a teenage boy who is desperately trying to lose weight for his space colonist flight.

What’s Your Prized Possession?

Do you have one special thing that you just couldn’t live without? I used to. When I was a wee little one I had a special teddy bear that was my most favourite thing in all the world. I didn’t go anywhere without him. He and I were best friends… until my dog got a hold of him! He met a violent end that day. Anyway, on a lighter note, this story is about one boy’s prized possession and the great lengths he goes to in order to keep it – and there are no dogs involved!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Charlotte's Web by pixieclipx, CC 2.0 License

Being a space colonist going to Tau IV is tough – you need a certain body type, the right psychological make-up and you must endure being frozen for many years. Plus, you and all your belongings must come in under a very strict weight quota. This is the story of a 13 year old boy who is trying to shed some extra pounds (oh, I mean kilograms) so he can bring his most prized possession on the multi-year voyage. He does all the extreme dieting and exercising, but when it is time for the final weigh-in he gets a bit of a surprise… two surprises actually.

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Audio Length: 18 minutes
  • Page count: 10
  • Did you know that Scott Westerfeld has written 18 novels, of which 13 are for young adults? Yep. You can lean more about this excellent author at his web site.
  • Special thanks to Carl V. for recommending this great story!

Where To Find Ass-Hat Magic Spider

  • This short story was first published in the 2008 science fiction anthology aimed at young people: The Starry Rift.
  • You can download or listen to "Ass-Hat Magic Spider" for free online at – the story goes from time index 4:23 to 22:45.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked "Ass-Hat Magic Spider" then you may also enjoy “Orange” by Susan Forest – about young couples who try to escape the Earth as it crumbles around them.