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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Magic vs. Science - a Guest Post by Amy Laurens

Types of Magic

Originally posted on Amy's Worldbuilding Inc, blog.

Unlife Magic: Science and Technology

Magic, fundamentally, is anything we cannot explain. However, by this logic one day magic will cease to exist, as understanding increases over time. But we know that logically, things do not cease to exist simply because we understand them. The fact that we understand the processes by which scientists manipulate physics to give the results they desire does not make the process itself any less magical. The fundamental difference between scientific or tech magic and natural magic, however, is that while natural magic draws its power from life itself, the mysterious 'something else' needed to consider something truly alive, tech magic draws its power from electricity. It's the most limited form of magic in that it works on a one-item-one-function basis (although objects are becoming increasingly capable of multitasking), but it's also the most accessible form of magic, because literally anyone can use it.

Life Magic: Aura-based Magic

Aura-magic is based on the manipulation of individual life forces, whether that individual be plant or animal or human, and whether the life force be one's own or somebody else's. This is the most flexible kind of magic, encompassing everything from telepathy (communication aura to aura), illusion (manipulation of auras), shapeshifting (a different method of manipulating auras), and persuasion (control of another's aura) to the various forms of necromancy, loosely divided into two categories: sacrificial magic, where the power is drawn from the burst of energy given off as something alive dies and the connection between lifeforce and body is broken, and true necromantic magic, which is essentially reanimation - forcing life force into something not alive. At its most fundamental level, illusions relating to inanimate objects are necromancy, because magic users can only manipulate things that have life forces, so in order to manipulate inanimate objects, they must first imbue them with life force.

Life Magic: Elemental Magic

Elemental magic packs the most raw power. It's the magic that's traditionally assigned to the four elements: water, wind, earth and fire. This magic is the exception to the necromantic rule of dealing with inanimate objects; although water, wind, earth and fire do not have life forces of their own, elemental mages draw on universal magic, called by some the fingerprints of the Creator. The life force they draw on is creator, not created; hence the tremendous potential power.

Amy Laurens is an Australian fantasy writer who teaches language arts during the week, shows dogs on the weekends, and writes whenever she can grab a spare moment. Her main blog is Inkfever. She is also on Twitter as @Inksie

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