Magic is Science is Science is Magic

Long before Arthur C Clarke coined the phrase “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” before Howard Taylor riffed on that claim to assert that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a big gun,” and probably even before Mark Twain wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, people, and especially writers, have been fascinated by this idea of an equivalency between science and magic.

Elder Race Review

Yet for all the attention that the equivalency between science and magic seems to take, it was not to me really what drove this book or made it enjoyable. I think this book was really all about perspective and communication, and the evidence is in the very structure of the book. It is written primarily from two perspectives: the “magic” perspective and the “science” perspective, and it is the contrast between the two that makes this book distinct from any number of other riffs on the interaction between more and less “advanced” civilizations.