Monday, April 9, 2012

Topic of the Week: Is It Technology or Is It Magic?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." —Arthur C. Clarke

The first time I used my smartphone, I remember thinking about the above quote by Arthur C. Clarke. I was using an instrument that I knew was technological, but the technology was so beyond my grasp that it honestly felt like magic. And that (as all things do) made me think about fantasy novels.

Often, fantasy contains some element of magic. Sometimes that magic is tied to nature, and other times it's relatively unexplained. And sometimes--as in the Artemis Fowl books--that magic is coupled with technology.

Personally, I love thinking about this link between magic and technology. Perhaps what we think of as magic is just some type of extremely advanced technology, and so the story is really science fiction. Thinking like that makes my brain hurt! But it's also intriguing.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this magic vs. technology idea. Have you read stories that you felt blurred this line? Did that make you feel more or less connected to the magic? At what point does technology start to feel like magic?

Anna Staniszewski is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life. The sequel, My Way TOO Fairy Tale Life, is coming in March 2013. Visit Anna at


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