Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where Science and Magic Collide: Kat Heckenbach's Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen

Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen are sequels in my friend Kat's story universe geared toward a young adult audience. She portrays magic as a special talent that each character has, a special skill that is stronger than any other magic he or she might be able to perform. Her tales center around the individual journeys of self-discovery for these characters—just as every person over time learns what he or she is best suited to do over time, her protagonists work to learn and develop their "talents."

Kat's a fine writer and I've enjoyed the quality of her writing and character development for a long time. But what interests me for this post—the story idea that has my own creative juices flowing--is her decision to make her magic creatively compatible with science.

In Finding Angel, Angel, whose special talent is, well...finding described as learning to focus on moving air molecules to create lift in order to levitate objects. Or in a similar way, magic in this world would create diamonds by compressing coal...or put out a fire by driving air molecules away, denying the flames the oxygen it needs, or cooling a room by selectively driving out the fast-moving particles of air and allowing the slow-moving ones to stay...

This means Kat’s universe is orderly and regular, something her magicians can study and understand, just as scientists would…except they have access to a power that goes outside the realm of what is currently known by the science of planet Earth. I really like that—it’s not 100% original, because some other worlds of magic work at least a little like that, but it’s uncommon enough to be fresh—it’s an elegant little thought, one that Kat executes well.

If I were to expand on this sort of wizardry for a story of my own, I’d make a whole set of talents focused on what we’d call on Earth scientific discovery and investigation. So one person might have a talent of knowing rocks, another details of life forms, or another the stars…or the molecules of air that we’ve already talked about…or maybe even talents of knowing about antimatter, neutrinos, or the Higgs Field…though of course, they would have other, more “magical” names for them…

(Follow the links to purchase Seeking Unseen and/or Finding Angel - I believe you'll be glad you did...)



  1. Thanks so much for the post, Travis. I love you take on my magic system and the cool ideas it's inspired. I wouldn't have thought to have Talents that know about neutrinos :). Awesome!

    1. Kat, I think you could really make something of that if you wanted to--detecting neutrinos and knowing when some of them were missing could be the ultimate "X-Ray Vision" sort of thing...