Science and Magic

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First, I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday, but I didn’t have access to the internet, unfortunately. As for this week’s topic I thought I’d talk about the relationship between science and magic  I’ve noticed in fantasy books.

Often, it seems that science is almost omitted from fantasy with only the inclusion of medieval technology or during the few times more advanced scientific understanding is included it’s at odds with magic. I believe that this comes from a belief that magic and science can’t coexist, and I think that belief comes from the stigma we’ve experienced in our world. The social norm seems to rise up science and eschew magic as we use more and more technology. But in fantasy things don’t have to be the same as it is in our world.

I think it would be interesting to see more fantasy books where science and magic work together or where science is a variation of magic (and vice versa). They don’t have be separated, but could help explain each other or be viewed as the same thing.

I’ve been taking an astronomy class and it’s been interesting to see the change in how people used to view the sky and stars as a different place, but now we understand that the stars are like the sun and everything is pretty much made from stardust. There’s something magical about that isn’t there? And there’s plenty science still doesn’t know such as how the universe began or what dark matter actually is, and perhaps in using the two together magic could explain those things. New scientific discoveries and using more technology doesn’t have to mean the end of magic, it just means that maybe we can understand magic in a new way as well.

Of course, if you just want to use magic or science or some new process that’s fine too. I’ve done so myself and it can be interesting and create worlds very different from our own. But perhaps when magic and science do come up in a work together they don’t always have to be at odds. I think it would be a fun thing to explore.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great week! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

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Pets in Fiction

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Many people I know–as do I–love animals and benefit from the companionship a pet offers. The moments when the cat actually deigns to use your lap as a pillow, or the dog greets you with such enthusiasm that you think you must of been gone for ten years instead of ten minutes, really help make the day go from bad to good or from good to perfect. Knowing this, it makes the distinct lack of pets in fiction disappointing. They can add so much to the story and yet often writers don’t spare the words to add them in. Pets can help the characters by giving them support, providing them with motivation to keep going and comfort when things are bad, and being just enough of a lovable nuisance to keep things interesting. Pets aren’t perfect, just like people, but that’s just what makes them more fun.

The great thing about having pets in fiction is that they don’t have to be a dog or a cat or a fish as well. A wizard could have a dragon or a nightmare as a pet, a warrior could have their trusty stead (which could be a horse as easily as it could be a camel or rhino), a cyborg could have a sentient animal-like robot or a monkey. Truly, your imagination is the limit. The pets in question wouldn’t have to been actual animals from here on Earth unless the story takes place on Earth as we know it (and even then you could come up with an explanation about how having a fictional creature for a pet would work for that story).

This isn’t to say that every story needs to have a pet added to it. There are some stories were having a pet involved would be out of place and not  good for the characters or the pet, but having pets added to at least a few stories could help them along.

So just as there are many pets looking for adoption in the real world, I’m sure there are more than a few looking for their life long companions in fiction. I wish you luck with finding the perfect one for your story!

Feel free to post any examples of great pets you’ve read in fiction down in the comments and let me know if you have any questions. I hope you all have a great week!

Fantastical Settings

Hello Fiction Lovers!

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about the settings in many of the books I’ve read lately. All of them featured the classic European-esque setting full of fields, castles, and lords/ladies, or the normal urban fantasy setting of a Western city. Even though I like those settings as much as the next person sometimes I think we forget that in fantasy we can do anything as long as it makes sense in the story (and sometimes, depending on the style of what’s being written, it doesn’t even need that qualification).

I think it would help the genre if more authors branched out and drew from other parts of our world to influence the world they are writing or truly made up a new one that has little likeness to what we know. Doing so could make some of the classic storylines interesting again and possibly create new storylines that weren’t even possible before. After all, who wouldn’t want to read a story that takes place in a society whose morality is influenced by the moon and that has never experienced a day without snow? Or perhaps a group of reptilian-like people who live in a forest of giant mushrooms?

It would be a fun exercise I think to come up with 5-10 different settings that are different from the ones I mentioned in the beginning of this post and then start the same storyline in each setting and see how it changes/how the setting influences it. Keep in mind though that usually the best settings make sense for why they are the way they are. While you don’t have to throw all the reasoning at the reader at once it can be good for you, as the writer, to at least have a basic idea even if that idea in the beginning is only “becuase magic/the god(s) made it that way”. You could also take the route where even if the setting isn’t anything like we have on earth the society or societies that interact with that setting make sense becuase of the setting. Geograpghy has a powerful influence on culture.

I hope this post was thought provoking! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post anything in the comments that this post inspired.

Book Recommendations

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite books to read since there’s little better than sitting under a tree reading a book when the weather is warm, or snuggled up under a blanket with a  book when the weather is cold and rainy. Here they are:

  1. The Name of Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Many of you have probably heard of this book but I couldn’t make this list without it. It’s a frame story where a man tells the story about he became a legend. The book is full of worldbuilding that sucks you into the story and nuanced characters. I just have one warning for those who haven’t read it yet: the book is part a trilogy and the third book isn’t out yet. Still, it and the second book are worth reading now even with the wait.
  2. Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey. This book is also part of a trilogy but all the books are out. It follows the story of Moirin, a girl and then woman who has both the magic of her people and the blessing of the goddes of desire. There is sex in the book given the nature of the goddess’s blessing, but the book is more about Moirin discovering who she is and what it means to have a destiny. It’s full of magic and intrigue and complex characters that makes it hard to put the book down.
  3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. This book, I will admit, I listened to on audible (it was narrated by Jennifer Ikeda) and it was very enjoyable to listen to. There were a few times I cuaght myself doing extra chores just so I had an excuse to listen to it longer. I believe it is also part of a trilogy. The book takes place in the real world, but also includes witches, vampires and demons. It blends science and magic together in an interesting way as well as having new explanations on how vampires and demons came to be and why they are the way they are.

I hope you’ll find something new you’ll like to read out of these three books! Feel free to comment if you have any book recommendations of your own or contact me if you have any questions.