Edward Willett


The Space-Time Continuum: Creating Magic Systems

This is a belated posting of my column from the February-March 2017 issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Don't know how I missed posting it, but better late than never! Most fantasy stories include magic: that’s kind of what makes them fantasy. (In fact, if I had to distinguish between fantasy and science fiction, I’d say, “The fantastical stuff in fantasy is ascribed to magic. The fantastical stuff in science fiction is ascribed to advanced technology.”) However, different authors take different approaches to the use of magic in stories. In older books of the fantastic (think The Lord of the Rings), magic is (in the words of Brian ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:05, May 21st, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | 2 Comments »

Event cloaking

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/07/Event-Cloaking.mp3[/podcast] It’s just possible you haven’t heard yet that the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, has just been released...although if that’s the case you’re probably also living on another planet and aren’t reading this at all. Harry Potter, boy wizard, makes very good use, over the course of the books and movies that bear his name, of an invisibility cloak. No such thing exists in our everyday world, of course, because his cloak is magic. Also (sorry to break it to you), Harry Potter is not real. But as Arthur C. Clarke famously said (and I’ve repeated more than once in these columns), “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And these days, technology is ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:18, July 15th, 2011 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | 1 Comment »

The science of fairy tales

I have a six-year-old daughter, which means in the past few years I’ve been reintroduced to the wonderful world of fairy tales.I’m as willing to suspend disbelief as the next guy--more so, probably, since I’m a reader and writer of fantasy--but I also have a scientific bent, and every once in a while I get to thinking about the scientific plausibility of these oft-told stories.Apparently I’m not the only one. Chris Gorski, writing for the Inside Science News Service of the American Institute of Physics, recently decided to look at some magical moments from famous fairy tales and examine them as a scientist. Could they actually happen?Gorski begins with Rapunzel, the Brothers Grimm ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 18:15, April 28th, 2008 under Blog, Science Columns | Comment now »

Witches and vampires and ghosts, oh, my!

This week's CBC Web column...Download the audio version.*****Orange leaf bags with grinning jack-o’-lantern faces cover the lawns. The drugstore shelves are groaning under the weight of grinning skulls, leering witches, and dancing robot mummies, and you can hardly buy groceries without getting a dangling plastic bat caught in your hair.That must mean Hallowe’en is just around the corner, and what better time to delve into some of the darker, spookier corners of the World Wide Web?There are a deluge of devilish delights, a cornucopia of creepy confections and gobs of ghoulish goodness to be found online, if that sort of thing appeals to you. If, on the other hand, you’re put off by the merest mention of magic, monsters, ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 22:14, October 27th, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »