Thursday, December 3, 2015

Science of the Magical by Matt Kaplan

"Most of us only encounter magic when we want to."
That would be one of the quotes from the book, which I find that I like very much. While the book isn't one of those open a page and bam QUOTES GALORE sort of book, it's a very eye-opening book.

Science of the magical looks at things that we consider magic or mythical, to see if there can be any basis in reality. So, can superheroes really exist? What about love potions? And was Circe from The Odessy really a witch? All these, and more, are topics covered in the book.

Matt Kaplan writes in an engaging, and easy to understand style. Each chapter can stand alone, and within each chapter, he writes about his discoveries in the order that he makes it. There are tons of references, and I'm glad that he is there to break it down for the reader. I read this in two sittings, and neither time did I have to close the book because I was learning so much that my brain needed to take a break. I was learning, but it wasn't a chore.

I don't really have much to say, apart from that. If you're the sort that's inspired or curious about myths and legends (or you want to find out the possibility of becoming one of the X-Men), I think you'd enjoy this book. As for me, I'm going to try to see if I can get my hands on a copy of one of his earlier works - Science of Monsters (or something like that).

To close, I leave you with another quote that I particularly liked:

With this final point in mind, I'd argue that science and magic are not as much at odds with each other as we tend to think. I might even describe the experience of discovering the science behind our myths as magical.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.


  1. This book would definitely be right up my alley but I am not sure at all if and when I would have time to even read it... I have such a huge backlog of books that I need to and should read that this kind of book that would be nice to read has a hard time finding a slot for itself. Though, it is said that one should read something non-educating every now and then as well.

    1. The chapters can actually be read by themselves, so you could definitely make this a book that you dip into every now and then :D

  2. Wonderful in the geekiest way, I loved how many times I'd "Oh, neat!" from start to finish. Matt Kaplan also injects a lot of humor by way of the footnotes and the writing in general without it ever feeling as if it is interrupting the flow of his discussion.


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