Saturday, 28 July 2012

Magic

"You say you're into science, and yet your fantasy trilogy deals with magic!"

A fan of my Language of Stones trilogy accused me thus, recently. Well, this is true, but nothing stops a person who doesn't believe in magic in this world creating a fictional world in which there is magic.

Even hardened reality junkie scientists like to read stories set in imagined landscapes now and again. There's a great quote from the excellent Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame, to the effect that real magic is fake and fake magic is real.

The big man is right. (He usually is.)

I love the idea of magic. I love the idea of a system that can extend human power and control that which was once uncontrolable, and deliver a deeper understanding of the world. But, hey, that's a pretty good description of science too, isn't it? It was once said, and I forget by whom, that any sufficiently advanced form of science will look like magic. That (presumably) explains why the Little Green Men have done such a good job of hiding from us. Hmmm, I really must have a go at a science fiction novel one of these days.

A good friend of mine is Fay Presto, the magician. An evening with her is like no other. Apart from being intelligent, witty and kind, she is so skilled at close-up magic that a person like me is utterly amazed and thrilled by it. Close-up magic is delightful stuff to watch. I think the recent TV shows of Dynamo illustrate what I mean: watch the faces of the people he demonstrates his skills to. It doesn't matter how surly or mean they look when he starts, in the end those faces are lit up like light bulbs. Not much else can do that.

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