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Showing posts from April, 2014

A Particular View of Magic in the Context of Science

There have been quite a few different systems of magic invented for fantasy stories. It's not the purpose of this post to examine these systems broadly. Instead, I'd like to talk about the implications of specific concept of magic. One of mine. I'm not the only person to do so, but I've hypothesized that one type of magic could simply be a form of energy unknown in our universe. A form that could be harnessed in a systematic way, which we do not know about either because it is too uncommon in our world or does not exist at all here. But which responds to concentrated thought or other acts directed from a person, such as speaking out loud, which would wind up resembling the magical spells of fantasy lore. This type of story would not utilize Wizard of Oz type magic, where the entire world had reasons for existence that don't make sense in scientific terms, where pretty much anything is allowed. No, saying that magic is an additional principle added on to what

A Galactic Superhero Rebellion--a solution to the supervillain shortage

Superhero stories are becoming increasingly popular in American and yes, world culture. I'm not actually a huge fan of the superhero story, though. The most important reason why not is because to be interesting, a powerful hero needs to be opposed by powerful villains. Of course superhero stories feature supervillains, but as a general rule, supered-up bad guys tend to be silly and/or uninteresting for me. Silly because there is something compelling about someone who goes through an extraordinary set of circumstances to make him or her no longer an ordinary person for the cause of goodness. We all root for the superhero, wishing secretly we had a set of circumstances happen to us  to propelled us into that role. A superhero is, ironically, an everyman sort of figure, who most people are able to identify with. But the supervillain goes through a process to make him or her extraordinary as well--but then must adopt characteristics the audience will not identify with or like to be s

The Watcher--A Story of an Intelligent Tree

Call it the lingering influence of 1973's The Secret Life of Plants  if you like. A story idea today popped into my mind today with an intelligent tree as the central character. The book I referenced above made many claims that plants observe what human beings and other animals do. That they are aware of other plants being destroyed and can recognize the particular human who destroyed another plant--so the book claimed. The book also legitimized things some people tended to do with plants anyway, such as talk to them or play Morzart to them. Because supposedly, the plants recognize this. The book was largely debunked not long after publication. There is no proof trees or other plants really do such things. But modern science does find that trees actually  do have a number of sensory perceptions. Roots know which way up and down are (like the human sense of balance). They also seek out water, including the sound of rushing water when experiments are performed that exclude any

The Alteration of Subjective Time

A number of speculative fiction stories have played with the notion of changing subjective time for a person in one way or other. In  Inception , the changes in the perception of time between differing levels of the dream world is a significant element in the plot (even thought the idea of time passing at a different rate in a dream is not established in reality). Quite a number of stories have also played with the notion that a great deal of subjective time could pass in a short time in the real world and vice versa. For example, an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine has Chief Miles O'Brien receiving a twenty-year prison sentence in subjective time from an alien culture, which takes only a few hours to serve in real time (episode title: Hard Time ). What's new about this story idea (as pointed out to me by Lisa Gefrides) is that current work is ongoing in 2014 neurobiology to change a human brain's perception of the passage of time. This actually should not come as b