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Discussion: Shamans and Sorcerers


Today’s topic comes from QSFer John Allenson:

“Shamans and Sorcerers. How to write competing magical systems.”

So let’s break this down a little. There are many forms of magic in film, literature, and cultural tradition. As John pointed out, we have Shamans and Sorcerers – but we also have magical systems from most cultures and traditions, as well as the many types of magic invented in Fantasy.

Mixing and matching these can be fun for both the writer and the reader, but can also be disastrous, especially when the systems clash. Think of such cross-cultural disasters Patsy and Eddy from AbFab in their horrendous “Roseanne” appearance. Or Torchwood’s “Miracle Day.” They didn’t involve magic, but can give you an idea of how a blending of two ideas can go badly wrong.

So my questions for the day: As a writer, have you written any blended magic stories? As a reader, what have you read, and which books did it well? Which ones could have been better?

Come join the discussion.


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