troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Wizards from Outer Space

GUIDE THE SPACEMAN THROUGH THE CASTLE AND DEFEAT THE WIZARD.

Sometimes Science Fiction isn't really science fiction. Sometimes, it's actually fantasy. Even so, some things are usually seen as a part of one genre and not the other. If you see a magic sword, for example, you can assume it's fantasy and not sci-fi. Space travel, on the other hand, is firmly in the realm of science fiction, and not fantasy.

Except when the High Fantasy takes place in outer space without the use of sufficiently advanced technology or being "super-evolved" or some such, that is.

Sometimes this is a science fiction setting with some distinctly fantasy elements, such as Magic by Any Other Name. Other times, the only science fiction element is the fact that it's taking place on an alien planet. Magitek can sometimes be commonplace in such settings, but not always.

A subtrope of Science Fantasy. See also Unexpected Genre Change for when this hits unexpectedly in a work that previously seemed all sci-fi or fantasy.


Examples:

Anime And Manga
  • Lyrical Nanoha features Magitek Cool Starships operated by Space Police mages that oversee various worlds. Technically it's not Outer Space, it's the Void Between the Worlds, but it's treated the same way.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! skirts into this territory, the Magical World is in an artificial pocket dimension on Mars, with Magitek flying ships shaped like marine animals. It's connected to Earth via magical gates, so there is no actual space travel. There are also sentient robots, and a major arc revolves around Time Travel.
  • Outlaw Star has "Tao magic" used by Chinese space pirates, as well as the Caster Guns that fire magical shells.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, when the emponymous character made a student film, Yuki Nagato was cast in the role of an alien witch.
  • Dragon Ball Z has Babidi and his father Bibidi, two alien sorcerers responsible for the creation and resurrection of Majin Buu. Buu himself is a magical being, though more a nigh-unstoppable force of nature. The Dragon Balls were created on planet Namek, and Kami was working from racial memory when he made the ones on Earth.

Comic Books
  • Stardust the Super Wizard from The Golden Age of Comic Books. He used what amounts to high-powered Magitek with no explanation whatsoever to fight Dirty Commies, despite not having any obvious ties to Earth. Examples include him turning into a living star, turning communist spies into giant rats, "levitation rays", and his unseen "delicate detecting unit", which allows him to see and hear anything everywhere. Again, he uses these near-omnipotent powers to fight communists rather than crime, leaving him seeming like a combination of Dr. Manhattan and Joseph McCarthy.
  • Gemworld, from the DC Comics universe, definitely applies. When it first appeared in the Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld miniseries, the Gemworld seemed to be just another generic fantasy setting, with monsters and wizards and so forth. And then the Big Bad of the miniseries turned out to be Mordru, the incredibly powerful foe of the 30th Century Legion of Super-Heroes. It turns out that the 30th Century planet Zerox, home of not just Mordru but also Legionnaires White Witch and Dragonmage, is Gemworld, and the original miniseries was taking place on a different planet the entire time.
  • Swamp Thing, the latest in an ancient line of mystic plant elementals, once travelled to several different planets, all of which had vegetation on it, by growing a new body on the new world.
  • In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman's arch enemy, the Roman god of war Mars (aka Ares) actually kept his home base on the planet named after him.
  • Maybe just a result of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink, but both Marvel Comics and DC Comics have magical and technological (and otherwise) superhumans fighting alongside and against each other, and often going into space.
    • Also averted since most alien races (though there are exceptions like the Dire Wraiths) don't have access to magic. Secret Wars had one Skrull wondering why magic "chose" Earth. Might have something to do with the Elder god turned demon that created magic being sealed in a mountain on Earth.
    • In the DC Universe, it's because the Guardians of the Universe sealed away most of the magic in the universe into an artifact called "The Star-Heart" about 100,000 years ago when they decided that Science should reign supreme.
  • Something like this seems to be present in Hellboy - in the first volume, some random aliens comment on how they can detect Rasputin's attempt to free the Ogdru Jahad, and the Ogdru Jahad (or possibly their spawn) are described in very sci-fi terms at one point, in what is probably a Shout-Out to HP Lovecraft's influence on Hellboy.
  • In Saga, the horned people of Wreath wield magic, and its their primary weapon in their galactic war against the technological people of Landfall.
  • One, particularly interesting in this way, Disney comic had Madam Mim fly into outer space on her broom. Because only Batman can breathe in space, she had to conjure a space suit helmet to survive. She then escaped the chase of some passing-by UFO by running it into an Asteroid Thicket, which led the aliens to declare they'd have to postpone the invasion of Earth if they have that sort of technology.

Film
  • The Jedi and the Sith from Star Wars. It is, after all, the story of a young farmboy who meets a wizard, who teaches him magic. The boy then inherits a magic sword, rescues princesses, fights monsters, a black knight, and an evil wizard, all while flying spaceships.
  • Masters of the Universe dealt with this trope.

Literature
  • Clark Ashton Smith wrote a cycle of short Weird Fantasy stories concerning the evil wizard Maal Dweb and set on the planet Xiccarph.
  • Lin Carter wrote many stories of this kind in his early novels, inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's example, though Lin Carter's stories were more adventure stories than horror. Tower of the Medusa is a tale set in a Space Opera setting, which features witch queen Azeera as one of the villains and Doctor Temujin, a doctor of the Minor Thaumaturgies, as the hero's ally. Oh, and the heroic thief turns out to have a god hidden within him.
  • In Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, Wizards travel to the Moon, Mars and to other solar systems on many occasions in the novels via teleportation.
  • Jo Clayton's Soul Drinker Trilogy had wizards, gods, and space ships. Actually, all of Jo Clayton's work is like this now that I think about it.
    • Clayton reveled in the contrast of the two genres, particularly in Skeen's Leap and its sequels. Here, hard-boiled interstellar treasure-hunter Skeen, stranded on a backwater planet, discovers an Interdimensional Portal to a world that fairly approximates the ISO Standard Fantasy Setting. It doesn't seem to make much difference in her life; she goes from being chased by saayungka to being chased by werewolves without much intermission.
  • In the Spider Robinson short story "Local Champ", a wizard dominates all magic on Earth. When someone tries to take him out with a laser weapon, he laughs at it; while physical energies can travel further than magic (which is limited to a planet's ecosphere), magic can easily overcome scientific forces — at least until The aliens the signal laser communicated with show up to pluck him out of Earth's atmosphere with a tractor beam.
  • One Elric of Melniboné stories has Elric teaming up with other incarnations of the Eternal Champion to take down alien wizards that had come to his world from beyond his reality. It's even more awesome than that summary makes it sound.
  • Alien sorcerers appear once in a while in the Cthulhu Mythos. This being Cthulhu Mythos, the line between magic, science, divine intervention and so on might be a little blurry.
  • Jacek Dukaj's short story "The Iron General" note  is set in a Dungeon Punk-style world and, among other things, involves an interstellar travel by what's pretty much a magically-propelled, magically airtight hull.
  • A Diana Wynne Jones novel called Archer's Goon is set in an apparently ordinary English town and in an ordinary sort of family, but the plot revolves around a set of super-powerful magical siblings, several of whom want to rule the world and plausibly could do so. The titular Archer does everything by means of intricate shiny machines, and Venturus is mad for spaceships.
    • It's...unclear where they're originally from. Most probably not space, or the spaceship question would be treated rather differently, but definitely not Earth. Wherever it is, their parents kicked them out of it.
  • The Wheel of Time series doesn't feature any space travel in the present, but the past was full of Sufficiently Analyzed Magic. Moghedien mentions in an offhanded way to someone she's trying to distract that "we could travel to other worlds—even worlds in the sky."
  • According to the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, the universe was once dominated by magic and mystical forces, until the Time Lords changed the laws of physics to remove all of that. Certain supernatural powers like psionics, block-transfer computation, and other methods of altering reality remained because they had some 'scientific' grounding.

Live-Action TV
  • The witches in Bewitched vacationed on other planets regularly.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place had one kid magically transport himself to Mars by accident.
  • Some seasons of the Power Rangers were all about this trope, especially early on. Zordon himself literally was a wizard from outer space. Later seasons are split more clearly into aliens / magic / science / supernatural martial arts / etc.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger's heroes were space pirates in a flying space pirate ship.
  • Although the show plays much faster n' looser with the restriction now than it once did, Doctor Who still usually maintains that magic, (at least when we're actually calling it "magic" instead of phlebotinum), does not exist. The Seventh Doctor story "Battlefield" is about an incursion into our world from an Alternate Universe where magic does work.
  • Sliders once visited a world where magic worked and dragons existed.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons had the Spelljammer setting. Wooden-hulled sailing ships, cannons, pirates, magic, and monsters. IN SPACE!.
    • Pathfinder, a third-party refinement of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, has an expansion to its default campaign setting which reveals that most other planets in the solar system are inhabited by a range of robots, cybernetically-enhanced humanoids, gas-giant-dwellers, and energy beings, most of whom mix magic and science to varying degrees.
  • In the old-school Mage: The Ascension, both the Sons of Ether and the Void Engineers travelled through space using magical spacecraft.
  • Warhammer 40,000. There is magic that is universal (all use the same rule set where it is called Psychic Powers) and necessary for space travel, but the Eldar and the Imperium treat it like magic or religion, introducing terms like warlock and inquisitor. Men in particular treat their Lost Technology spiritually or as actual parts of a god. Meanwhile, the creatures of Chaos are very clearly daemons are lifted with no alteration straight out of Warhammer Fantasy (literally, the models can be used for both games).
  • The Elder Worm from the Champions Universe is a race of Starfish Alien space-wizards who dominated the entire galaxy a hundred thousand years ago.
    • One of the Elder Worm's slave races, the Thane, fits this trope even more, what with their body-obscuring cloaks, their demon worship, and their chanting.
  • Rifts has the Three Galaxies setting, a Space Opera setting with ray guns, Eldritch Abominations, space ships powered by magic, and psychic/superpowered galactic guardians who are essentially Lensman turned Up to Eleven. One of the major intergalactic powers is the United Worlds of Warlock, a variation of The Federation where Sufficiently Analyzed Magic and Magitek are the norm and the head of state is a literal Space Elf.

Video Games
  • Most Final Fantasy games take place in a setting like this.
    • Final Fantasy IV is the most obvious choice, as the game takes place in a fairly standard fantasy world until you reach the Tower of Zot, a technologically advanced fortress run by Golbez, an evil wizard who is getting his tech, orders, and lineage from the moon, where the final boss and another major story character, both of whom are space wizards, are waiting.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: There's a sealed Sorceress who used to rule the world with iron-fist and magic. She's sealed on the Moon. Standard fantasy fare— but then, a space station is built to keep her sealed, crewed by actual astronauts. A significant chunk of the game is spent around what is basically a magical Baikonur Cosmodrome.
    • Jenova of Final Fantasy VII is some form of space alien, but her primary modus operandi is infiltrating the magical biosphere of Gaia.
  • Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land is a pretty literal example. However, the franchise also includes such things as dragons, magic, and castles while still taking place on an alien planet with space travel playing a semi-important role throughout the series. Meta Knight's airship the Halberd probably one of the best examples of the mix of science fiction and fantasy that exists in Kirby.
  • The old Might and Magic verse had a backstory involving very technologically proficient Ancients, which directly impacted eight out of nine games of the technically main series - blasters can be found, malfunctioning robots may be enemies or the Big Bad, perfectly functional robots may be enacting Failsafe Failure Salt the Earth strategies, characters from a previous game may show up in a starship after having gone off-course... all in vaguely medieval/renaissaince worlds with a high dose of magic.
  • The original Phantasy Star quadrilogy fits this. Magic, technology, and Psychic Powers are all in use in the Algol system. In the fourth game, some individuals use all three at once, and the most powerful attack in the game is a Combination Attack drawing from all three sources.
  • Kamella from Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Space Station 13's Wizard game-mode fits this trope to a tee.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Magicks of Magus-Tu".
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. The Queen of the Crown, Mogul and the Scarecrow are all examples of aliens who wield magical powers. Humans from the planet Xanadu also tend to focus on development of psionics over technology.
  • Thundercats, full stop. Castaways from another planet led by a guy with a magic sword land on a new world with colorful inhabitants, build a fairly high-tech base for themselves out of what's left of their ship, and spend most of their time fighting the schemes of an evil wizard.
    • In Thundercats 2011 Mumm Ra is literally a evil sorcerer who crashed to Third Earth centuries ago with most of the animal races and the ancestors of the Thundercats.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian is set in an age of "savagery, super-science, and sorcery." Many wizards (most notably Mindok the Mind Menace) use superscience and magic interchangeably, while Thundarr's Sun Sword appears to be scientific.
  • Bravestarr is a Planetary Romance set in a verse where magic works. Bravestarr, Tex Hex, Shaman, and Stampede all have magic-based powers, and all the Muggles seem perfectly accepting of the fact that magic is real.
  • John Blackstar fell through a black hole and wound up in an Alternate Universe where magic works.
  • Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors is a Space Opera where one of the heroes is a wizard.

What Other GalaxiesTropes in SpaceWorld Shapes
Wizarding SchoolWizards and WitchesWizards Live Longer
Wizard DuelSpeculative Fiction TropesWonder Twin Powers
Weebl & BobImageSource/InternetZero Punctuation

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
42373
5