Where Science Meets Magic: A Book List

I wrote about blending hard science with fantasy today over at Mad Genius Club, and then, as I usually do, I decided to make up a list of books that do that blend and handle it well. Not necessarily Science Fantasy, which is a genre where the science is so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic, but worlds where science and magic coexist. As always, this is a crowd-sourced list of titles, some I know and love, others are new to me. Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments!

  1. Lord Darcy by Randall Garrett (I’m particularly fond of the forensic science in this series)
  2. Pack Dynamics by Julie Frost (mad science, weres, and vamps)
  3. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (more magic than science, but Harry’s comfortable using both)
  4. The Many-Colored Land by Julian May looks like it combines pseudoscience with myth.
  5. Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith looks like fun: science, mythology and statuary.
  6. The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, magic as a finite resource.
  7. Glory Road by Robert Heinlen, science so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic.
  8. Monster Hunter International (and series) by Larry Correia adds some science to monsters.
  9. Hard Magic by Larry Correia uses the laws of physics as science which is really cool. Also, a terrific read.
  10. Orphans of Chaos by John C Wright.  I am told that the main character’s powers are based on going in and out of the fourth dimension…
  11. Amber by Roger Zelazny is a fantasy brought into modern times, per the blurb.
  12. The Incomplete Enchanter by L Sprague deCamp combines math and magic.
  13. The Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka comes recommended as ‘like Dresden Files, but different’
  14. The Doomfarers of Coramonde by Brian Daley is a modern fighting unit thrust into a fantasy world. (I may have to dip into the book budget for this one)
  15. The Garret, PI series by Glen Cook comes highly recommended. Noir detective and fantasy (something I know a little about!)
  16. Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson is a classic, and a favorite, and certainly science-based magic.
  17. The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede is a young adult offering that was recommended to me for the list.
  18. Moist von Lipwig books of the Discworld series. The whole series, really. Terry Pratchett’s send-up of magic and science and so much more is brilliant. But for this list, take a look at Raising Steam in particular, or Going Postal.
  19. The Kate Daniels Series, by Illona Andrews, described to me as a world where magic and technology take turns working.
  20. A World Called Camelot by Arthur Landis. Science fiction worlds and one where magic also works… Which brings me to the last next book on my list:
  21. The Witches of Karres by James Schmitz
  22. Ten Gentle Opportunities by Jeff Duntemann, magician lands in the ‘real world’ and must make his way, with lots of humor.
  23. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson where magic is influenced by the element consumed (gold, silver, etc).
  24. The “Elfhome” series by Wen Spencer, where a young engineer-savant must learn to cope with magic in a parallel universe where elves are real.
  25. Mother’s Curse by Thaddeus Nowak was recommended to me as another YA fantasy that balances science and magic.

I’m sure there are more books where magic and science walk hand-in-hand. This was a tough list to make, as it’s a nebulous concept. But some fun reading here!