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Book Review Space Time Magic

Book Review Space Time Magic

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Title:  Space/Time Magic
Author: Taylor Ellwood
Immanion Press, 2005 
204 Pages

  First of all, I'd like to say that it's easier to review fiction, because it's simply a ride.  Anything above and beyond a good ride goes above and beyond the requirements for good fiction.  Non-fiction, however, is serious stuff, because it deals with reality, and I want to apply the content to my life.  So, I took out the fine tooth comb, ready to pounce on every spelling mistake, grammatical error, and inefficiency of text.
  Months later, I have forgotten which adverb or adjective seemed excessive, or were that one little typo was.  Instead, I find myself remembering how excited I got about magic, with all the ideas running through my head, wanting to implement as many as possible.  I find myself wanting to read it again.  What makes the content so effective is the exercises at the end.  It's sort of like saying ", don't take my word for it, try it yourself".  There is a wide variety of techniques, something for everyone from the visualization buff, to the gadget whiz.  My favourite parts are actually the appendices.  They are very satisfying to read, well organized, and actually go in to things a more depth.  I actually wouldn't mind seeing the book be more like the appendices.  Though each type of magic is broken down into chapter, each chapter itself is bursting with a variety  of topics.  Taylor sometimes departs from one to get to another with out getting into much depth, and in the case of the Imaginary Time example, without enough clarity.  I would have liked to see the chapters broken up into sub headings, and certain things expanded upon.  Ironically, there are a few flowery sentences in there too.  I can see that there is a hard line to walk between redundancy or flowerness and being too concise.

Space/Time Magic is written in an egaging voice.  Taylor is a real person, living a real human life, doing real magic.  I love that personal touch in a book.  I want to feel like the author is talking to me, as a person.  I don't like slogging through boring academic or arcane muddled texts.  I do enough for school, thank you very much. 

Another important point is that Taylor writes with responsibility and integrety.  He's not dumping random stuff on the reader, to take at his word, no Taylor has a bibliography, as well as quotes his sources.  This shows that the author is indeed well read as well as inspires the reader to read further. 

I do have one main nit pick, with S/T M, that I am taking away an extra star for.  Our intrepid author happens to use the dreaded profaned word "quantum" in his chapter on science and magic.  This tends to bring out a rather nasty reaction in me.  Livid is a good word. 
Also, the quote on quantum, on page 115, is from Peter Carrol, a magician, not a scientist or or science writer.  Basing the introduction to quantum on an interpretation rather than the material itself.  This chapter is where most of my critisism for being overly concise came into play.  I would prefer that the science concept is explained, then the magic concept and how it relates is explained, keeping them seperate, since the science is actually only  used as a mold for the model of the technique, and not actually supporting magic itself.  Quantum does not explain magic.  Perhaps there just needs to be a better quantum book out  there for the lay person.  Not everyone is a science undergrad.  I have friends that have trouble with hypertonic and solvent, so maybe I shouldn't be so hard on everyone.

I do want to emphasize that the chapter on science and magic is still interesting, and thought provoking, and that I got a lot out of the book, especially from the chapters on divination, retroactive magic, and art. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys practicing magic. 
8/10 stars. :)
  • I'm really happy you enjoyed your book ^_^
  • (no subject) -
    • Will do. I put it up on the village (witchcraft.net)
      It will take awhile, I'm going for food and need to do laundry. I've never put up a reeeeeeview on amazon before, so feel loved :P

      BTW, I got my Inner Alchemy today! Happiness! I won't be able to read it until after my midterms though.
  • Even though I don't have much belief in magic anymore, I have always been annoyed by people who talk about some kind of link between quantum physics and magic. People who want to claim a scientific basis for magic must be prepared to meet scientific standards, and that means they must have a falsifiable theory which can be backed up with experimental data.

    The absolute worst example I can remember of trying to link quantum physics with magic was a documentary on one of the movie channels called "Down the Rabbit Hole" or something like that. The movie basically tries to argue that since our conventional understanding of reality seems to break down or become much more complicated at the quantum level, the way we view reality in general must be revised, and that's where the new age and magic-related stuff comes into the equation. That, of course, makes about as much sense as saying that civil engineers should revise their methods(based primarily on Newtonian physics) to take general relativity into account.
    • Are you sure you're not thinking of what the bleep do we know? I somehow sat through that one.

      I just want more clarity in writing. I think it's great if people inspired by science in their magic, it should just be understood that basing a technique on a scientific model doesn't mean that the technique is a proper interpretation of the model.
      I wouldn't be so picky if it was clearly "quantum is LIKE magic" (or magic is LIKE quantum), I actually agree on THAT point. But magic is NOT quantum, nor is quantum magic.
      • That's the one! I was channel surfing and stumbled into it a few minutes after it started, so I missed the title, but I just looked up "What the bleep do we know" on IMDB and it's definitely the same movie. I think the only part I actually enjoyed was that scene at the wedding dance where everyone's hormones are firing off and those two guys are scanning the women with 'Terminator Vision'.

        I also have no problem with using a particular model as a means of understanding something as long as people are careful not to confuse the model with reality. In the case of quantum, however, most people don't even understand the model. I don't think it's the kind of thing that can be properly explained in an encyclopedia article or in a single chapter of a book. It seems to me that, because it is so different from general physics, there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be covered in order for a person to properly grasp the concepts.
        • Actually, quantum, CAN be described in an article, because as itself as a word, it just means discrete, or compartmentallized. It's the quantum mechanics that's tricky ;)
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