Clarke’s Three Laws

One day, while skimming the cable guide, I came across episodes of “Prophets of Science Fiction” on the Science channel.  It was a marathon of the episodes that had been aired previously.  Marathon might be quite the misnomer as there are only eight one-hour episodes, but I found them early enough to record five or six of them, including the one on Arthur C. Clarke, in which they mention Clarke’s Three Laws (of prediction).  The law they discuss briefly is the third:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Sufficiently advanced is the key phrase to this law.  There are things we take for granted now that people two to three generations ago might call magic, and that people hundreds of years ago certainly would.  There are technologies and experiments being conducted around the world that can be explained by the folks who are developing them, but for most of us, if we just happened upon them, they’d be akin to magic for us.

I’d love to be the creator of a technology that was regarded as magic.  Let me rephrase that.  I’d love to be the writer of a story that involved a previously unwritten-about technology that might some day be developed that we, in our day and age, would call magic.

**Prophets of Science Fiction is a pretty cool series.  I’d previously read about how science fiction writers during the Golden Age of science fiction would meet with scientists to discuss their imaginings and how possible some of them might be.  This series spotlighted some well-known writers and tried to link their writings to technological advancements that have been made or are being worked on for the future.  Some of these linkings were much easier and better than others.


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