Indistinguishable from Magic Archive

Indistinguishable from Magic, 2 Rash and Final Action

Posted October 12, 2022 By John C Wright

Indistinguishable from Magic is now posted.

Two of Two.

This story is odd because it is a case where the humble author disagrees with his own muse, at least in regards to the title and theme. The story attempts to capture some of the eerie wonder of a magician’s lab in a museum of extraterrestrial artifacts.

The reader must judge whether the tale succeeds or fails, and such a judgment is final.

But I myself do not think technology is indistinguishable from magic, no matter how advanced it is. The two are based on different principles, have a different nature, and a different point when used in storytelling.

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Indistinguishable from Magic, 1 Midnight at the Museum

Posted October 5, 2022 By John C Wright

Indistinguishable from Magic is now posted.

One of Two.

This is a previously unpublished short story of mine, offered here as a lagniappe to my beloved patrons. The title and theme is based on an famous, albeit comically incorrect, quip from Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Certainly the feeling of awe and wonder fairytale magic, can often be provoked whenever technology discovers arts thought impossible: as when the Wright Brothers taught man to fly, or Marconi to send messages winging unseen through the air, or when advanced medicine teaches physicians to cure cases previously incurable, or when Americans put a footprint on the Moon.

One way to distinguish technology, no matter how advanced, from magic, is to study it as if it were technology, and not merely to bow the knee and call it magic. Magic is from realms unknowable; whereas technology, even if unknown, is knowable.

Aha! But, even so, can your humble storyteller tell a story where the unquiet artifacts of ancient and unknown superhuman civilizations provoke the awe and wonder of fairyland, and mortals are wise to tread cautiously within their perilous shadow? That remains to be seen.

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