7 Books Depicting a Magical World

Delight in the extraordinary with books that coexist between science and nature, wonder and horror.

Magical World

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It’s hard to remember, sometimes, that we live in a world that is magical, both in terms of the absurdly and increasingly powerful science on which we rely, and the extraordinary beauty of the natural world and the human. That’s not to say it isn’t also hideous. The two don’t cancel each other out. Wonder and delight aren’t diminished by their fragility—in fact, they’re heightened to an almost painful peak by the awareness of risk.

I try to live with a constant appreciation of wonder, because—perhaps as a consequence of what I do—I have difficulty separating on an instinctive level what is possible from what is probable. There is a part of me that worries about the La Palma Tsunami or the possibility that the whole of Earth is a complex and unstable Boltzmann entity. Do not worry about these things. They will drive you nuts, to no good end.

Wonder doesn’t cancel out horror, or vice versa, but a person can choose where to stand. I choose to acknowledge the extraordinary, because it is all around us. No account of life is complete without it.

S. Splajn/Shutterstock.com

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NICK HARKAWAY is the author of three previous novels, The Gone-Away WorldAngelmaker, and Tigerman, as well as a nonfiction work about digital culture, The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World. He is also a regular blogger for The Bookseller’s FutureBook website. He lives in London with his wife, a human rights lawyer, and their two children.

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