Friday, December 10, 2010

Magic Around Us

We often think of magic as something along the lines of a miracle. In the real world, magic is a bad thing because it puts peoples hopes in things that either have no ability to help them or have no desire to help them. But storybook magic is often a means by which a character is given something or an ability that he wouldn’t receive during the natural course of life. But suppose we wanted to apply a similar concept to a story that doesn’t have magic.

Storybook magic is an ability of a character or object to do something that we don’t understand. In a more realistic setting, there are many people who have the ability to do things others can’t. In A Little Princess, the appearance of the fine things in her room seemed like magic, even though we know where it all came from. I was at a gas station a few weeks ago when a man showed up with a gas can and asked if I could put fifty cents or a dollar of gas in it. Other than it costing money, it was a small thing for me to go ahead and fill the can. It wasn’t magic, but in a way it was. A character receives a large inheritance. We all know that a large inheritance comes from people working hard and saving their money before they die. It isn’t magic, but it seems like it. There are many ways we can introduce magic into a story that isn’t really magic.

Science fiction uses a lot of magic. In theory, every technology they use could exist someday, but we don’t have it now. It might as well be magic that allows time travel or to go to a different dimension. A spaceship with artificial gravity is also magic. In science fiction, we often assume these thing exist rather than going the normal wish fulfillment route of magic stories, but any of these technologies could be treated as the fulfillment of a wish. So, look around; you just might see magic.