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Clarke's Third Law

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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Note: for anyone who discovered they are a character in a fantasy or other similar literature, remember it also has a converse: Any Sufficiently Analyzed Magic is indistinguishable from technology. Also, remember the contrapositive: any technology which can be distinguished from magic is insufficiently advanced.

Within many works, the separation between science and magic can be blurred to deceive a bystander. In some cases, one may masquerade as the other. This is an important justification for many forms of Applied Phlebotinum.

Trope Namer for these corollaries: Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, Sufficiently Advanced Alien, and Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology, as well as the reverse Insufficiently Advanced Alien.

In case you're wondering, here are all three laws. The second law is partially covered by Beyond the Impossible. And You Thought It Would Fail (particularly involving science/technology) is related to the First Law.

Compare with Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys, Doing In the Wizard, First Church of Mecha, Machine Worship, Magic from Technology, Magic Tool, and The Spark of Genius. Contrast with Doing in the Scientist, Fantastic Science, and Magic-Powered Pseudoscience. Compare and contrast Magic by Any Other Name, Magitek, and Placebotinum Effect. See also Cargo Cult, Giving Radio to the Romans, God Guise, and Science Fantasy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
    • Unsuccessfully invoked by Lu, who notes that aliens visiting Earth must have abilities humanly indistinguishable from magic. However, in this setting, magic and spirits surround her while extraterrestrials don't, and she ends up mistaking the former for the latter. Though that does make Lu technically right that humans can't tell them apart.
    • Shadow Mei believes the "online shopping" Garaku used to get her a dress was some kind of magic spell.
  • Ichika quotes this in Episode 8 of Cat Planet Cuties to explain her "magic" scrolls.
  • In Doraemon, the titular robot cat owns many gadgets from the twenty second century that is capable of defying the law of physics; from flashlights capable of altering the size, matter or density of an object, to a phone booth that can alter reality. The technology behind these gadgets are so advanced that characters from other equally advanced civilizations or from outer space mistook them for magic.
  • Dr. STONE is set in a post-apocalyptic setting where humanity still exists in small pockets but has regressed back to Stone Age technology. Because of this lack of understanding of science and scientific technique, acts of science demonstrated by Senku, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who was brought over from the 21st century, appear to most onlookers as magic, as they have no idea how even the simpler devices Senku cobbles together even work. The only one who can keep up with Senku is a genius-intellect villager named Chrome, and even then, he referred to the results of his own chemical experimentation prior to Senku's arrival as sorcery. Even after Senku has practically drilled into every villager's head that what he's doing is science, not magic, some of the villagers continue to see Senku as a sorcerer and the devices he creates as sorcery.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the people of Lior view alchemy as being a type of miracle, but others treat it as a science; they're both right, in some respects. Although it behaves like magic, it does seem to be part of the physical makeup of their universe, and obeys strict laws like Equivalent Exchange. Human Transmutation is where things get more mystical, as it's universally treated as forbidden knowledge, and for good reason — anyone who attempts it ends up dead, dismembered, or worse. Surviving it allows you to perform alchemy without an alchemy circle which, in their world, makes about as much sense as surfing the internet without a computer. The protagonists and a handful of others have this ability, and it baffles everyone they meet.
  • Lyrical Nanoha uses this to describe their technology. The title includes the word "magic", and everyone there in the anime is running on Magitek.
  • In the Nasuverse, a variation of this works with magecraft rules, which is different from magic that was common during the Age of Gods. One of those rules is that magecraft cannot replicate what can't be performed otherwise (in other words, since mankind has yet to create a Time Machine, Magecraft cannot create a Time Machine). The corollary, of course, is that as technology advances new applications of Magecraft will come into existence. The Grand Order example (where Chaldea has created a fusion of Magecraft and technology capable of traveling into the past) is this to the logical conclusion.
    • In Fate/Grand Order: First Order, the heroes team up with Cú Chulainn, who was summoned as a Caster Servantnote . The heroes use a high tech device with a holographic display to communicate with Dr. Roman. Cú Chulainn is amazed and says their magecraft is impressive.
    • In Fate/strange fake, Lord El-Melloi II's slightly above-average competence with computers is often mistaken by his technologically illiterate colleagues as a new branch of magecraft that he's studying. This is partly how he manages to garner as much respect in the Clock Tower as he does despite actually being absolutely terrible at magecraft.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • There's one arc where thousands of students are given magic to wield. Then they fight off baddies with it. The catch? They are told it's just highly advanced computerized effect technology and that it's just a game, in order to keep up the masquerade.
    • Electricity can also be used to power magic, as the magic community is quite fine with Magitek. It even appears to be pretty efficient at it. However, most mages don't seem to have the technical expertise to really take advantage of this, and obviously most people don't know enough about magic to work it from their side either. Chao and Hakase (and by extension Chachamaru) on the other hand...
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion tends to blur the lines between the scientific, esoteric/metaphysical and divine/spiritual.
  • The techniques that Nami devised during the time-skip in One Piece are called "weather sorcery", and do involve Storm-like manipulation of the weather for combat purposes. This "sorcery" is actually based upon the science of the meteorologists who live on the sky island of Weatheria, though it only qualifies as science within the weird boundaries of the One Piece universe.
  • Outlaw Star featured as an important plot point the Caster Guns that fire unique shells that are incredibly powerful. The main theories as to their origin is that they are either a piece of lost advanced technology or magical in nature. It turns out to be a little of both.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica features both magic and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in the form of the Incubators, bizarre cat-like aliens who grant human beings access to magic in exchange for their services as Magical Girls (and an eventual inevitable transformation into Witches). The line between magic and technology can become extremely blurry with the Incubators, but it seems that almost all that they do other than the granting of wishes is done with conventional but highly advanced means, since magic use appears to require psychological traits that they don't possess. This includes moving human souls to new containers, forming new bodies from the air, and ensnaring a Physical God in a trap with a person's soul as bait.
  • In Soul Hunter, it's highly implied that the Paopei used by Sennin and Doshi alike are more akin to hi-tech artifacts fueled by the Sendo's energy, which in turn is generated from their peculiar bone structure. A good example is when Taiitsu inspects Sengyoku's Paopei (a seemingly normal large stone) and opens it, revealing an interior akin to that of a machine. It's ultimately revealed that the Paopei are knock offs of the original deal left behind by aliens, which are even more advanced.
  • Discussed in Sound of the Sky. The characters in-universe recognize that the Lost Technology from before the apocalyptic war that defines the setting is technology, but most of it is so far beyond their current state of roughly WWII-era knowledge and resources that they feel like it might as well be magic. This includes everything from Black Boxes with floating holographic displays to the products of advanced glass making.
  • Vividred Operation is a Magical Girl anime...where the girls are given their powers through pure science.
  • Implied in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. In previous series, when people with magical powers start flexing their sorcerous muscle, usually the first thing they did was make the damage the Solid Vision holograms dealt real. By Arc-V, that kind of power can be used by anyone, when they upgraded to Real Solid Vision. It can even be miniaturized and put inside a standard duel disk.
  • Likewise, in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Kite had the power to take the soul of anyone he beats, like a Millennium Item wielder. The catch is, all of his power is attributed to science. Deconstructed, as other characters can achieve the same results using actual magic without dealing with the detrimental side-effects that destroy Kite's health.

    Comic Books 
  • Abra Kadabra, a member of The Flash's rogues gallery, takes advantage of this. His schtick is coming from the 64th century, where the technology is so advanced that he passes as a magician in the 20/21st century. Then he made a Deal with the Devil to get real magic which also exists in the DC Universe.
  • The Green Lantern rings and by extension the other Corps' power rings use light in order to form physical constructs. It's supposedly advanced technology, but because light isn't normally physical, for all intents and purposes the power rings are magic to everyone except Superman because he's weak to magic and this is not magic.
  • Although Superman enemy Mr. Mxyzptlk has vast powers traditionally attributed to magic, many interpretations of the character suggest it's due to his access to very advanced technology and the physical advantage that living in the fifth dimension confers over tridimensional beings like Superman. Batman's analogue to Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite on the other hand runs on "5th dimensional technology" through and through, doing the same Reality Warping effects.
  • Supergirl:
    • In a classic issue Supergirl fights Kraken, a super-villain who claims to be a wizard. Kara deduces Kraken is not a wizard, because if his skills were magic-based, she would have been seriously hurt when his blows hit her. She scans his costume with her X-Ray Vision and spots his gadgets.
      Supergirl: So much for your magic — or should I say super-science... technological marvels that only appear magical to someone not familiar with them!
    • Invoked constantly by a secondary character in the final arc of Supergirl (Volume 5):
      Henry Flyte: Magic is just the science for which we don't know the rules quite yet!
    • In that same storyline another character said: "It only looks like magic if you can't do the math."


  • Played with in an issue of Iron Man from Kieron Gillen's run. Malekith of The Fair Folk (one of Thor's usual enemies) refers to one of the Mandarin's rings as magic. When the ring protests that it is science, Malekith ignores this.
    "Insufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."
  • The Scarlet Witch zigzags this trope. Her power is to affect probability in order to make wildly improbable events happen. This has drifted to become a general ability to warp reality. Thus, despite her name and the description of her power as including "hex bolts," she is not magical. It was at one point but has since been retconned and later still it became a combination of both: her mutant powers made it possible for her to make contact with Cthon, an Elder god turned demon sealed in Mount Wundagore. Cthon bestowed powerful Chaos Magic to Wanda as part of his plans. The Ultimate Marvel universe tried to explain that in order to make said improbable events happen she had to "do the math" of how likely the events would be before she could cause them.
  • In an issue of Secret Avengers, Bruce Banner quotes Clark's Third Law while discussing Doctor Strange with Iron Patriot.
    Iron Patriot: Did you just call Doctor Strange a scientist?
    Banner: Pretty much.
  • Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme involves a MacGuffin known as the Word of God that appears to be a spellbook of unimaginable power. Turns out the spellbook is actually advanced technology from an extradimensional alien being that magic users just happen to have an affinity for. Using its spells draws the owner to the dimension it resides it.


  • The second Confessor of Astro City uses technological methods to replicate (some of) the original's abilities.
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: Goofy once asks Eega Beeva to use his future technology to help Goofy perform some magic tricks for a group of stage magicians. Since the technology is so advanced, they get kicked out for doing real magic. Goofy himself thought that since Eega Beeva's tricks were indistinguishable from magic, that meant they were magic.

    Fan Works 
  • Constants and Variables: Elizabeth's tear-based powers are all scientific in origin, but are so alien and fantastical to those unfamiliar with her origins that they are mistaken as being incredibly powerful magic. When she saves Ron and Hermione from the escaped troll by opening a tear to a raging storm, everyone thinks she instead used wordless magic to summon a storm.
  • We get allusions to this in consecutive episodes of Dragon Ball Z Abridged. In Episode 12, a doctor in Freeza's army refers to medicine as "delicious, magical science" while treating Vegeta. And in Episode 13, Goku refers to senzu beans as "sweet, science-y magic".
  • The trope is deconstructed in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, which demonstrates that some magical artifacts and effects, such as Animagus transformations and Time Turners, blatantly violate not only the physical laws of science but the deeper laws of mathematics. For example, time travel exists but time cannot be changed, making history not Turing Computable and thereby ruling out any kind of logic we would understand as the fundamental basis of the Potterverse. Sufficiently non-mundane magic doesn't have to make sense.
  • A Hero Forged: Everyone thinks that Luz is either using some kind of super-advanced form of Construction Magic or some kind of "Human Magic" unique to her to create her Iron Witch suits. While she is using titan bone as a power-source and has incorporated glyphs into the designs to utilize glyph magic, her suits are otherwise 100% based on human science.
  • Interesting variation in Shepard's R&R. The Equestrians, who have actual magic, think the technology of the Mass Effect-verse is magical as well. Meanwhile Shepard's crew (and the galaxy at large) invert this and believe the Equestrians' "magic" is some kind of advanced technology. The latter might be right.
  • In the science fiction universe of Sonic X: Dark Chaos, it turns out this trope is why Jesus Christ was able to perform miracles in the Bible. He discovered a forgotten cache of insanely advanced Angel technology in a desert cave, which he was able to use thanks to his mutated genetics.
  • Inverted in Steven Universe: and the Hunters of Arcadia. Being able to mentally interface with Jasper's gem using elixlore, Jamie comes to the conclusion that it is some form of advance computer, being able to properly communicate with an uncorrupted part of Jasper's mind.
  • In My Master Ed, because the method to create gold with alchemy wouldn't be discovered for another couple hundred years, when Edward transmutes some in front of an elderly couple, they start worshiping him. When he does the same in front of Hohenheim, he assumes Edward's a god in disguise and passes out on the spot.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, quite a few kings, bishops and other political figures from outside of Berk see the dragons as demons and regard Hiccup as a sorcerer who commands them. Harthacnut referred to him as a "sorcerer-smith" and was particularly unnerved by his artificial leg, which allowed him to walk normally.
    • Others are more positive, but the leg, Toothless' harness, Hiccup's flaming sword and Astrid's flaming ax are all believed to be the work of magic, not engineering.
      John the Norman Shipmaster: But the Hero is supposedly a smith without peer, practically a wizard in the forge, with skill over metal unmatched this side of Heaven itself. He crafted for himself a new leg, wrought of silver, steel, yew, oak, thorn and gold, and gave it the facsimile of life and the quickness of flesh, and upon it he can walk and run as well as a normal man.
  • Infinity Crisis: Invoked in Of Kryptonians and Queens as Merlin complains over Brainy assuming his magic is just an advanced science.
  • In Moon Butterfly -- The Refugee Princess: Teen!Moon being more intellectual than Star tends to analyze human science and technology and try to figure out how it squares with Mewnis magical understanding of reality. This leads to a funny scene when she's too distracted by the pain suppressing effects of Adrenaline on the human body when Teen!Rafael rolls down a hill of jagged rocks, assures her he won't feel it until his Adrenaline wears off just as it happens to administer medical help.
  • This is the view held by many on Master Chief's technology in A Spartan in Westeros. When the Chief explains forensic science to Tyrion, Tyrion retorts that despite his logical mind and knowing that it is merely advanced technology, he can see nothing but sorcery.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Frozen II, the stranded soldier Destin Mattias sees photography as a type of magic, even though he's seen actual magic from the spirits and Elsa.
  • Isle of Dogs features a rather mundane twist on the idea: among the dogs, Oracle earns her name and status not by having psychic visions, but by being the only one of them who can understand the news reports shown on television.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The aliens in Cowboys & Aliens are never called as such. They're most often called demons and the cast never thinks of them as being technologically advanced. Ella, another alien, says that she came from beyond the stars, giving the impression of an angel.
  • In Enchanted, many of the characters are from a fairy tale world that resembles the Middle Ages who end up in modern day New York. They adjust fairly quickly. Giselle figures out how a vacuum cleaner and the shower works and Prince Edward figures out how a TV and remote control works. They just think of these devices as magical in nature. Edward sees the TV as a magic mirror that shows different scenes.
  • The villain of George of the Jungle tried to do this with a Polaroid camera to impress his native guides. They suggested a more classic camera for the resolution improvements, then mentioned they had the equipment on them to clean a smudge on his optics.
  • The Kalahari bushmen in The Gods Must Be Crazy discover a Coke bottle and believe it to be a gift from the Gods. Hilarity Ensues. Eventually, they decide it would be best for all concerned if it were returned to the Gods and cast off the edge of the world.
  • In Hocus Pocus this is played with as the witches return to Salem after 300 years. When Max uses his lighter they believe he makes fire with his hands. He trips a sprinkler system and makes them believe it is 'the burning rain of death'.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Clarke's Third Law is actively discussed in Thor, where Thor states that to humans, magic and science are different, but the Asgardians have mastered both to such a level that making a distinction is no longer significant. In the sequel, Jane is actually able to identify an Asgardian medical device based on observed effects. She calls it a quantum field generator while they call it a soul forge, but it's clearly the same thing.
    • There's also a mention in Captain America: The First Avenger when a Nazi agent calls Red Skull's technology magic. Plus, elements in multiple films imply that Iron Man's state-of-the-art Arc Reactor is based on the Tesseract, a container for the Space Stone.
    • This is further reinforced in The Avengers, when Thor fires a lightning bolt from Mjölnir at Iron Man. While the armor sustains some damage, most of the energy is absorbed by the ARC reactor and is fired by Tony straight back at Thor. Also, Captain America says Loki's "glow stick of destiny" resembles a HYDRA weapon.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • Played for Laughs when a slightly tipsy Hawkeye ribs Thor about his "magic hammer."
        Clint: "Whosoever, be he worthy, shall have the power," whatever, man! It's a trick! It's a circus sideshow, and that is it. And you know it.
      • Tony also jokes Mjölnir's "if he be worthy" clause just means it's coded to Thor's fingerprints, something Thor is amused by.
        Tony: The handle's imprinted, right? Like a security code? "Whoever is carrying Thor's fingerprints" is, I think, the literal translation.
        Thor: Yes, well, that's a very, very interesting theory. I have a simpler one: [lifts Mjölnir] You're all not worthy.
    • The Infinity Stones, which empower some of the most destructive artifacts of the universe that have appeared so far were assumed by people like Johann Schmidt to be "the power of the Gods" (and not even Odin is completely sure it's not magic at work), but Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy showcased them to be containers and access ports for unusual energy types... and furthermore, that the Mind Stone had a neural structure within it not unlike a brain that could be copy-pasted and hacked. It's later confirmed the Stones are all self-aware and "alive" in a way beyond mortal comprehension.
    • This Trope became a Running Gag within the franchise for so long that when Doctor Strange (2016) was announced, the filmmakers decided it was necessary to make it pretty clear that no, Strange's magic would be magic and not this Trope, to prevent uproars of "They Changed It, Now It Sucks!" Naturally, Thor is rather amused by this notion in the Post-Credits Scene:
      Thor: So Earth has... 'wizards' now, hm?
  • Outlander: Kainan, a soldier from another world, is mistaken for a servant of the Gods by his wife-to-be Freya when he smashed the beacon so he cannot be rescued from Earth.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001): When Davidson explains his messenger device to the apes, Krull thinks it's sorcery.
  • In The Prestige, the audience is shown the behind-the-scenes gadgets without which the various magic tricks seen would be impossible. Most are clearly mechanical in nature, but Tesla's machine is practically witchcraft even by modern day standards.
  • In Sherlock Holmes (2009), Lord Blackwood's Evil Plan is to fool England into believing that he has Functional Magic and take over England through fear.
  • Star Wars: Implied in Return of the Jedi: C3PO's programming forbids him from ever impersonating a deity.
  • The Wizard of Oz: the Wizard fakes the all-powerful wizard role using a machine. He does it again in Oz the Great and Powerful: Oscar fools the inhabitants of Oz into believing he is the Wizard prophesied to save their land using technology and parlor tricks from his homeland. His plan to rescue Glinda and retake the Emerald City in the climax hinges on the wicked witches not being able to distinguish his technology from genuine magical ability.

  • Lone Wolf normally takes place on Magnamund, a world of sword and sorcery that resembles the Middle Ages. In Book 19, Wolf's Bane, the hero gets sent to Avaros, a world with advanced technology. When Lone Wolf gets attacked by two mooks wearing Powered Armor and wielding flamethrowers, he thinks their weapons are magic staves. He in general thinks of the many technological marvels he sees as advanced and unique magic.

  • Downplayed and partly averted in Sixty Eight Rooms by Mariannne Malone. Jack showed Thomas (from the seventeenth century) a flashlight, but tried to explain how it worked. Thomas, eight-years-old, doesn't understand, but comments that if it was witchcraft, he wasn't afraid of it. Thomas later becomes an inventor.
  • Against a Dark Background has ancient technology that does inexplicable things. Scientists create their own maddening explanations for how something can weight three times as much when upside-down.
  • Repeatedly lampshaded in the Animorphs series, in which humans gain the ability to absorb foreign DNA through their skin and replicate it at warp speeds until their entire body transforms (usually into an animal of some sort, though other humans/sentient beings are used for stealth purposes once in a while). This power is obtained by touching a wholly unremarkable blue box.
  • Area 51: A lot of objects deemed magical or miraculous in myth were in fact very advanced alien technology left on Earth.
  • Artemis Fowl both embraces and averts the trope. To an outside observer, most (if not all) Fairy technology would seem to be magical. The story, however, is also told from the Fairy point-of-view, where it's shown that technology and magic are distinguishable, and it's someone's job to distinguish them further.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • The Foundation Trilogy: When Foundation begins, the Galactic Empire's civilization and technology has already begun to crumble; local systems are losing the scientific expertise necessary for an interstellar society to function and control of the Periphery is quickly lost. Starting from the end of "The Encyclopedists", the people of Terminus begin educating people from the Four Kingdoms in technology, such as nuclear power, radioactive synthetics, and hyperwave relays. However, in order to explain the technology in a way they could understand, Terminus has to couch everything in religious terms, effectively saying The Galactic Spirit Did It to convince the local barbarians that it was safe for human use. When a better educated man is trying to piece through the veil of mysticism created by the gulf of distance, he protests that a personal shield is impossible. To which the person he's interrogating drolly points out that their status as "magicians" is not wholly unearned.
    • George and Azazel: Azazel is described as a demon in some stories, and a Sufficiently Advanced Alien in others. This is because the publishers would change their minds on if they wanted Dr Asimov to be writing Science Fiction or Fantasy, so he would revise the stories as needed to suit the editor.
  • The Book of the New Sun: in the distant future it is often unclear whether phenomena are technological, magical or theological in nature (or just mundane trickery). This is part of the obfuscatory nature of the text and forms a puzzle for the reader, since we can't trust Severian to figure it out correctly.
  • Demonstrated by Arthur C. Clarke himself.
    • In Childhood's End, the alien Overlords possess technology so far beyond human understanding that they might as well be gods. Humans for the most part accept that it is in fact some form of technology, but characters within the story observe that from the human perspective, Overlord technology might as well be magic.
    • The City and the Stars, is set in the very far distant future. The city of Diaspar has existed in its current form for a billion years, and it is not made clear how long Human history before that was. So technologies such as Brain Uploading and Matter Replicator functions controlled by mental command simply are, even to the inhabitants of the city. Their ancestors achieved even more fantastic heights of science, such as building stars and planets. Feats the current Diasparans no longer even understand.
  • In Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the main character's success relies on the 6th Century folks mistaking his 19th century tech as wizardry.
  • Inverted in Discworld where sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology:
    • The Colour of Magic When Rincewind first sees a picture box, he surmises it must work by use of photosensitive materials capturing the light off the target... right up until the magical imp inside complains that he's out of paint.
    • The Science of Discworld quotes Clarke in its frontispiece and later agrees with Florence:
    "'Advanced' here is usually taken to mean 'shown to us by aliens or people from the future' — like television shown to Neanderthals. But we should realise that television is magic to nearly everyone who uses it now."
  • In the Doctor Who novel "Engines of War", Cinder can't tell most Time Lord technology apart from magic.
  • The Dreamside Road: Explaining and controlling the "magic" of the world was one of the main motivations of the IHSA and the Dreamthought Project, former owners of the Dreamside Road trove.
  • The Dresden Files: Disputed by Harry Dresden. He comments that the spells he used on his heavy leather duster allow it to be waterproof, bulletproof, and breathe like cotton. He is warm and dry even in a rainstorm as he awaits battle and no piece of modern clothing could be all of that.
    "Sufficiently advanced technology, my ass."
  • The Dune series
    • Most of the organizations in can fall into this group, but most of them also need spice melange at some point. Even if each group doesn't, cannot or elects not to understand the deepest inner workings of another group's near-magical technology, they accept that there's a rational, scientific basis underlying it.
    • The Ixians emphasize pure technology and can electronically duplicate the Guild Navigators' future-path-mapping abilities and in the process nearly bring about the extinction of humankind.
  • Enchantress from the Stars: The Andrecians view Imperial technology as magic wands that turn people to stone (stunners), dragons (rock-chewer), monsters with no faces (Imperials in suits) and the examples in the summary. Also, telepathy and psychokinesis among the Federal field agents are stand-ins for advanced technologies humankind can't think of yet.
  • Taken to its extreme in The Flying Sorcerers by David Gerrold and Larry Niven. A planetary scout gets stranded on a primitive world, and has to enlist the help of the natives to get to a place he can summon help. Said natives have to be taught production technology and how to create certain things in order to do this...which makes them regard him as a high-powered magician. The story is also told from the perspective of one of the natives, for added humor.
  • In The Familiar of Zero there are a number of old artifacts in the magical world that the protagonist was dumped in, including a family's heirloom book that can seduce men, a weapon called the "Staff of Destruction", and a tale about a dragon, whose blood was collected. The objects are a porn magazine, an M72 LAW rocket launcher, and a Japanese Zero Fighter aircraft respectively. The 'blood' was actually gasoline.
  • Full Metal Panic! has Kurz lampshade the Lambda Driver shortly before its first appearance.
    Kurz: If this was a regular battle, they'd be even. But that silver AS... it's got some kind of hidden trick going for it. It bounced my cannonball right back at me and toasted my M9! I wonder what magic he's using?
    Kaname: Magic, huh? No, I'm afraid it isn't that. This guy isn't using magic but rather... technology... The enemy has it, and it's an integral part of his mecha's defenses.
  • Garrett, P.I.: In Wicked Bronze Ambition, the Operators kidnap Kip and Kevans in order to steal their "magical talents" in a ritual of sorcery, not realizing that the teens have been using mundane engineering and creativity, not supernatural insights, to invent ingenious devices.
  • In Gate, the world beyond the Gate resembles a mix of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, with magic. Seeing modern marvels like guns, vehicles, etc. tends to make its inhabitants confuse it with magic.
  • J. K. Rowling: Played with in the Harry Potter series, where sufficiently mundane technology is indistinguishable from magic. For every technological advance non-magical people have made, wizards have a magical equivalent. Many wizards are stumped by Muggle technology, despite being surrounded with it, so they're generally told that A Scientist Did It. It was implied that sheer virtue of growing up in a muggle family was enough to make Hermione more qualified to teach the "Muggle Studies" course than Charity Burbage and that she explicitly said she was taking the course For The Lulz. JKR has stated that the most powerful wizard is only equal in combat to a human with a shotgun. As the shotgun has existed since the Middle Ages humans have had at least combat tech equal to magic since then.
  • The "data manipulation" of the aliens of Haruhi Suzumiya is barely distinguishable from Reality Warping; the time travelers from the future ostensibly do things with technology, but they seem to just happen with no source due to computers having advanced beyond having physical hardware. To make matters more confusing, it's heavily implied that the aliens and time travelers were created by Haruhi's inexplicable reality-warping powers, i.e. magic. The super-advanced aliens are studying her because even they don't understand her ability to "create data".
  • Lord of Light has some characters develop psionic powers through genetic engineering and centuries of practice. They become strong enough that they are mistaken for gods. They take advantage of this by adopting the appearance and persona of Hindu gods and rule the populace via existing Hindu temples.
  • Referenced after a fashion by Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings, when she comments on the Hobbits' tendency to talk about "Elf Magic" while taking Frodo and Sam to look at her mirror. In the Elvish language, their word for magic also means "skill," and for them, making a camouflage cloak or an incredibly light but strong rope is just something they do; for the Elves, there's nothing supernatural about it.
  • The epinomus magicians of Magic Tree House are the inventors Alexander Bell and Thomas Edison, the scientist Louis Pasteur, and the builder Gustave Eiffel.
  • Jenny Ng and stage magician Calvin McGuirk, in Geoph Essex's Lovely Assistant, invoke the trope by name, with a nod to Clarke himself, in their first discussion of Calvin's incredible props. It turns out to be a bit of a theme, considering what the Big Bads say about the same props shortly before the climax. The actual origin of the items is never fully explained, but based on the nature of the monster they face, probably is technological rather than magical, proving Clarke's pointwhich is ironic, since Jenny herself is probably magical rather than technological, as a Grim Reaper.
  • Orson Scott Card's "The Originist": When Chandrakar Matt and Hari Seldon are discussing his recent dismissal of Leyel, she directly calls him an "old wizard", based on his dramatic scripts for the Time Vault Holograms. Hari waves away Chanda's comparison and insists on calling himself a scientist. They end the exchange by tossing friendly insults to each other.
    Chandrakar Matt: "Artists. Wizards. Demigods."
    Hari Seldon: "Stubborn misguided women who don't know science when they're doing it."
  • The Reckoners Trilogy: Zig-zagged, in Steelheart. Prof uses technology to imitate an Epic for Steelheart to fight. Then we learn that he was really an Epic all along, and most of the technology he used was fake.
  • From John Ringo's works:
    • In the Council Wars series, there are elves, orcs, dragons etc that are the result of genetic engineering combined with nanotech, "spells" are based on high energy manipulation of quantum physics; you name it and there's science behind it!
    • The Mentats from his Legacy of the Aldenata series are capable of Teleportation, 'conjuring up' or modifying items with resources pulled from the surroundings (or seemingly, thin air), with the use of advanced nanomachines.
  • In David Weber's Safehold, Langhorne and Bédard used their technology to turn the last survivors of humanity into their own personal cult. Later, when Cayleb gets his first true glimpse at the technology that was kept from them, he comments that he'd always thought Ridiculously Human Robot Merlin was clearly magical, whatever Merlin said to the contrary. He feels a bit less ignorant when Merlin quotes Clarke's Law for him.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's Seekers of the Sky duology is set in an Alternate History, where Jesus Christ was replaced by a mortal man, known as the Redeemer, who was granted a single divine power, the Word (ability to instantaneously transport inanimate matter to and from another dimension known as "the Cold"), to prove that he was God's Stepson. Lukyanenko is primarily known as a rather "hard" SF writer, so his Word falls well within the "too advanced technology" category, and he has a lot of morbid fun subtly playing with the way humans either elevate what they don't understand to the divine status or downgrade it to Mundane Utility.
  • In Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series, several spells have suspicious names, such as one called "flashlight".
    • At the end of Fyre, the quote takes up the final page of the series.
    • It's also important to note the series is set in the 10th millenium, and that people have legends of ships that fly through the stars.
    • All in all, it can reasonably be assumed that Septimus Heap is set in a future so far that technology and magic are the same.
  • In H. Rider Haggard's She, She Who Must Be Obeyed uses magic that she explains is simply knowledge and technology that are completely unknown to the main characters.
  • In Space Marine Battles, Spirit of Integrity was built during the Golden Age of Technology and outclasses the Imperium so badly they can't do a thing to stop it. It can do a variety of things that leave the techmarines with their hands spread out and saying "I don't know".
  • Late in the Star Trek novel Federation, Zefram Cochrane arrives aboard the Enterprise-D from the Ent-Nil and is reminded of this. He could guess at the basic principles behind the Constitution-class's devices, but the Galaxy-class is so far in advance of anything he's dealt with that, for all he knows, it's magic.
  • The main character of The Taking recalls this law at the end and inverts it, noting that to a cynical society magic would appear to be highly advanced technology.
  • Author Harry Turtledove strongly disagreed with Clarke's law and wrote the short story "Death in Vesunna" as a rebuttal. In the story, two time travelers go back to ancient Rome to retrieve a long-lost book, and one ends up shooting the book dealer in a fit of rage. While the common folk write it off as "Zeus' thunderbolt", the investigator (a retired soldier) ends up figuring out the truth through a combination of evidence, logic, and a well-timed "Eureka!" Moment brought on while reading The Iliad, and the story ends with him arresting the two time travelers. He inverts the law in several other stories, where industrialized magic has replaced or mimicked technology. The best examples being his Darkness Series, where magic has replaced all the technology of World War II, and The Case Of The Toxic Spelldump, a pun-laden comedy novel filled with Virtuous Reality, Djinnetic Engineering, and similar Magitek.
  • Titus Crow by Brian Lumley: One of the early things established in the series is that there is no such thing as "magic" and that everything they encounter is the advanced science of the Cthulhu Mythos or the Elder Gods. It's just the latter functions identically to magic with summonings, incantations, and so on.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is a superficially medieval fantasy setting, in which the fantastic elements come from the advanced technology of a lost civilisation. Knights use dragon-themed Mini-Mecha called Drag-Knights (and hence are called Drag-Knights), Ruins (analogous to dungeons in fantasy games) are the literal ruins of said civilisation, and monsters (here called Abyss) are living weapons also produced by said civilisation. The Drag-Rides in particular have a technological flavour, with Hard Light computer interfaces, radar and implied radio communications. People in the setting are aware that the advanced technology is just that and not magic, even if they don't fully understand it.
  • In Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series, the inhabitants of the planet Gramarye interpreted abilities like telekinesis as "magic" due to their ancestors' decision to adopt a low-tech pseudo-medieval culture and the passage of centuries without contact from any other planets. Beings such as fairies, trolls and whatnot, according to the main character, were the result of a combination of psychic powers, a psi-sensitive local plant called "witchmoss" and a lot of fairy tales.
  • In Frank Herbert's WorShip series, the ship's computer becomes self-aware and, with its vast surveillance network and predictive processing, effectively omniscient. Whether it has become a god is a question asked by the characters and left open to the readers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has fun with this one. The Vorlons have used their technology for millennia to manipulate younger races into reacting favorably to them, passing off as "magical" beings of light. It is only at the "Dawn of the Third Age" that we finally see who they are, and "They are not Gods." Then there are the Technomages, who use technology to give the appearance of magic, and this famous discussion from "The Geometry of Shadows":
    Elric: Do you believe in magic, Captain?
    Sheridan: ... If we went back a thousand years, they could only understand this place in terms of magic.
    Elric: Then perhaps it is magic. The magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology.
    • Then a trilogy of novels (based on JMS's own notes) reveals that their tech originated with the Shadows and is not being used to its full potential.
  • Blake's 7: In "Power", an After the End society decided to destroy all their technology and start again from the beginning. Years later the Hypercompetent Sidekick of local chieftain Gunn Sar has found a Master Computer room they missed, that he uses to secretly keep things running for their barbarian descendants.
    "It's self-maintained. Powered by our sun, it will last forever. This generation, even Gunn Sar, believes it to be some kind of magic that keeps the chambers light and warm. A computer is like some ancient god to them!"
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow states that "Magic works off physics" and is often seen messing with the 'mechanics' of spells. Conversely, material outside of the series itself classified superscience (for example, Warren building completely humanoid androids) as a form of magic in and of itself. That is, people like Warren were only able to create such high tech devices because of a latent magical ability that functioned in this way, which may inadvertently explain why Willow was the only one able to repair the Buffybot.
  • Catweazle was a 1970s British show about a 10th century wizard who tries to cast a spell of flight to escape a group of Norman soldiers, but ends up in 1970 instead. There he encounters such strange wonders like 'electrickery' (electricity), 'tiny suns' (light bulbs) and 'telling bones' (telephones). Naturally, being a wizard, he assumes all these things are magic.
  • Doctor Who:
    • While this is a recurring theme, there are two instances in which he plays with it. In one, the Doctor gives Leela, who hails from a superstitious and technologically underdeveloped society, a yo-yo, and gives her the impression that she needs to play with it to keep the TARDIS working. Later on he comments "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a yo-yo."
    • "The Pirate Planet" uses this trope by name; the Captain brags that he built his old raiding vessel, "with technology so far advanced you would not be able to distinguish it from magic."
    • "Battlefield" has him dealing with an alternate universe loosely based on Arthurian myth. After wandering through what looks like a futuristic tomb, Ace is surprised that this is supposed to be magic. The Doctor asks Ace if she knows Clarke's third law, when she quotes it he tells her that it also applies in reverse, and she exclaims "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology?"
    • In the new series, the law makes a few appearances:
      • In "The Christmas Invasion", the Sycorax's blood control technology is explicitly described by one character as "like casting a spell".
      • "The Shakespeare Code" has the Monster of the Week be three crones who appear to be witches that cast spells through incantations. When they use a spell to kill a man, the Doctor warns Martha to keep quiet, otherwise the townsfolk will think it's witchcraft. It turns out that the witches are aliens called Carrionites, who use science based on the power of words (similarly to the Logopolitans' block-transfer computation in "Logopolis").
      • "The Vampires of Venice" has girls seemingly being turned into vampires, with sharp teeth, burns from sunlight, and no reflections. It's revealed that the girls were turned into fish-aliens with sharp teeth and a sensitivity to sunlight. Their holographic illusions (which let them appear human) couldn't provide reflections.
    • Time Lord technology in general is this trope. Time Lord founders Rassilon and Omega are particularly inclined towards it. Most of their inventions are outwardly non-technological in design and could easily be taken for magical artifacts.
      • Apparently there were actual magic-workers on Gallifrey in the days before they were Time Lords, according mostly to supplementary materials that don't quite count. There was war between science and the magical regime, and the dubiously canon "genetic looms" on which Time Lords are made because they can't breed are necessary because of the old dictator's dying curse. "The Shakespeare Code" tried to spin it as magic really being a special kind of applied science, but basically, a lot of the science is magic.
    • At the end of "The Witchfinders", the Doctor quotes the Law to King James I word-for-word before departing in the TARDIS.
  • In Emerald City, while some characters explicitly refer to what the Wizard does as science and technology, some keep referring to it as magic, different from the magic of witches.
  • Directly referenced in The Flash (2014), when the villain Abra Kadabra appears, using 64th century technology disguised with stage magic tricks to make himself appear to be doing actual magic.
  • Quoted outright by Mad Scientist Walter Bishop on Fringe, attributing it to "an old friend" of his.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Unlike the MCU's film entry, the television side usually averts this trope and is content to let magic be magic. Daredevil (2015), Iron Fist (2017), and The Defenders (2017) regularly feature Supernatural Martial Arts and other Eastern sorcery, and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spent a whole season on Ghost Rider and a demonic spellbook. However, this trope is zig-zagged in Runaways (2017). In the comic, the Staff of One is a magic artifact conjured by Nico Minoru spilling her own blood, and it can create any affect but only once. In the show however, it's an intricate device composed of nanotechnology that interfaces with — oh hell, it's a magic staff. Nico, a Wiccan, has this exact attitude as her mother tries to explain it to her. In fact, Tina's description of the Staff made so little sense (and didn't explain everything we saw it do), that the second season retconned it into being magic after all. The third season went even further by having Morgan La Fey as the Big Bad and Nico and Tina fully showing off their sorcery. It's also revealed that the Staff of One is essentially magic training wheels, and a sufficiently skilled sorcerer, like Tina or an adult Nico, will eventually outgrow it.
  • Played for laughs by the Observers from Mystery Science Theater 3000, who are an omnipotent race of morons. Show writer Kevin Murphy wrote that, "The only thing Mr. Clarke doesn't take into account is how incredibly stupid any creature might be, no matter how advanced."
  • Invoked back and forth in Power Rangers.
    • The original series explicitly identified the Rangers' mentor, Zordon, as an alien wizard, with their powers, weapons and vehicles the creation of his magic, but later shows have made the Rangers' powers more explicitly technological in nature, such as Lightspeed Rescue being an elite contemporary rescue team and Time Force an elite police force that originated from the year 3000 but operate in the year 2001, while Dino Thunder draw their power from the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs. Mystic Force, naturally, is full-on magic, while Ninja Storm and Jungle Fury involve Supernatural Martial Arts that could just as well be magic but are never called such.
    • Moreover, while some teams have powers outside their suits, becoming an actual Ranger apparently involves tapping into the Morphing Grid, whether you use magic or science to do so.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Most of the technology of the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens is taken as magic by the majority of the less advanced civilizations in the galaxy.
    • In later seasons, Daniel tries to tell a village that there is no such thing as magic; it is ineffective because no sooner has he finished saying this than he and the rest of his team are beamed away in a flash of light, leaving the villagers baffled. Daniel hangs his head and complains at the timing.
    • This trope actually becomes an issue for the good guys in the last two seasons with the Ori as while the Priors can be overpowered by certain technologies (these are not foolproof and only last temporarily) and humans can evolve naturally or be evolved into a state where they gain the powers the Priors possess, some of those powers cannot be replicated and used or at least not as effectively with technology as they are by near-ascended humans and regardless said powers are genuine thus SG-1's usual arguments countering such claims of divinity or divine-empowerment as just being the doing of advanced technology won't work so well, especially when said Priors are granted those powers by the Ori, ascended beings who have most, if not all the powers associated with actual deities and that there's a fair argument to be made that the Ori really are gods by most definitions regardless of them not always being such and whether they are now truly divine or not. It comes to the point were SG-1 realize this and change their argument from the Ori not being gods to whether their actions make them worthy of worship.
  • This law is directly quoted, word for word, in Season 2 Episode 9 of Stargate Universe, by Eli.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "Who Watches the Watchers", Picard deliberately invokes this trope in an attempt to convince the natives that he is not a god.
    • "Devil's Due" has the crew trying to discredit a technological con artist who claims to be the devil of not only the planet of the week, but every planet.
  • In Star Trek: Discovery, Captain Pike brings up Clarke's Third Law when discussing a colony of humans who were pulled halfway across the galaxy before Zefram Cochrane invented warp drive. He then goes on to quote Shermer's Last Law, which seems very apropos for the Star Trek universe: "Any sufficiently-advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God."
  • The 1960s series The Time Tunnel had a shout out to this trope one episode:
    "We live in the 20th century. We don't believe in magic."
    "The 20th century, the very heyday of magic! And you don't believe!"
  • Jack Harkness demonstrates and then discusses this trope in Torchwood: Miracle Day. In a flashback to depression-era New York City, Jack shows off his Future Tech and reassures his friend:
    "It's not magic. It's technology. Sometimes they're indistinguishable."
  • In V (2009), Anna threatens to lead people away from the Catholic Church, as V technology is capable of many of the same "miracles" on which the Christian faith is based, unless the Church forces its priests to stop badmouthing the aliens. The Cardinal she is talking to gives in.
  • In Warehouse 13, this seems to held as the mentality of the Warehouse agency with regards to the artifacts they collect, or at least by Artie as he claimed in the first episode:
    "If a radio landed in the hands of Thomas Jefferson, do you know what Jefferson would do? He would just lock it up, until he figured out it wasn't going to kill him. That's exactly what we do here. We take the unexplained... and we safely tuck it away."
  • Mentioned by Siroc on Young Blades: when a child questions him about science and magic in the episode "Enchanted", Siroc suggests that "maybe magic's just another word for what we don't understand."

  • Parodied by TISM in the liner notes of Machiavelli and the Four Seasons, which declare that "a sufficiently advanced Techno is indistinguishable from Music"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Delta Green Agents calls magic Hypergeometry, due it's frequent association with lines, shapes, numbers, position and mathematics. The game gives example on how a tribal shaman drawing a mandala in sand or a scientist pointing lasers in the sky to call something begin similar things with a similar "math", the rituals are referred to be "tapping" in an infinite energy grid existing beyond the four dimensions. Hypergeometry is stated to be the "technology" used by advanced alien and unearthly species such as the Elder Things, Mi-Go, Deep Ones and the Great Race of Yith, and implied they were passed down to humanity by the Great Old Ones.
  • Demon: The Descent goes both ways on this. The God-Machine maintains a firm grip on the functions of the universe because it has absolute mastery of quantum physics; this allows it to easily pull off feats that would be impossible for some of the most powerful beings of other gamelines, like time travel, the creation of alternate universes, etc. However, because this is the World of Darkness, it also has master of a secondary set of "occult physics" that produce means-tested results but still involve gathering weird shit into a strange configuration in order to produce weirder shit.
  • Inverted in the Eberron setting where mundane technology is all but discarded because magic has reached the point where it could be called a technology in and of itself.
  • Empire of the Petal Throne: In the world of Tékumel most magic artifacts (called "eyes") actually are objects of highly advanced technology, of which all memories have been lost in a cataclysm. And the "magic" of wizards and priests actually are just Psychic Powers activated in certain individuals by the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens / Energy Beings that the people of Tékumel see as gods.
  • In Fading Suns, there's usually a possible scientific explanation for anything magical, and contrariwise there's usually magical trappings to anything scientific. But when it comes to the technology of the Anunnaki, this trope is invoked outright; Ur-tech such as the Jumpgates and Philosopher's Stones is effectively incomprehensible magic, plain and simple.
  • One chapter opening vignette in GURPS Thaumatology features a lecturer at a magic seminar demonstrating an amazing magical device that conjures fire, yet neither it nor the concoction within it triggers any of the normal methods used to detect magic. It's pretty clear from the description that it's a cigarette lighter.
  • Sneakily inserted into D&D, where spell components tend to be very crude versions of actual real life technologies or gadgets that would produce an effect similar to the spell. For example, for a Fireball you need baseline components for gunpowder, for Scrying you require parts of a television (like wires and a prepared mirror), for See Invisibility you need some talc dust, for Flesh to Stone you use components for concrete and so on.
    • Inverted in the Hollow World D&D setting, where the Blacklore elves' "advanced technology" is secretly powered by magic. This allows the Immortals who oversee the Hollow World to preserve the high-tech culture of the Blacklore elves (who've forgotten how their own machines work and can't tell the difference), while ensuring that actual technology won't spread to other parts of the HW setting and disrupt other preserved cultures.
  • Invoked but defied with the Technocracy in Mage: The Ascension; the Technocrats truly believe with all their hearts and souls that this is the root to their "hyper-technology", but the reality is that what they're doing is actually Magic-Powered Pseudoscience and they've been indoctrinated to think otherwise.
  • The Numenera setting opens with Dr. Clarke's quote and then puts it front and center with the titular devices. After multiple examples of After the End and millions of years' worth of technological advancement, if there was ever a split between what could actually be considered "magic" and "technology" within the setting, it's long since been gone and forgotten.
  • The Pathfinder Technology Guide opens with a quote of the trope-naming law. Much of the tech presented therein has similar effects to magic items from other rulebooks, and pricing is also similar.
  • While Pugmire looks like a mix between a D&D session and a Furry Comic, everything in its setting — from the Funny Animals to the "Artisans" who cast spells by focusing their ancient artifacts — is explained as being either a product or a remnant of the long-gone race of Man's superior technology.
  • In the Savage Worlds system, magic users/spellcasters and gadgeteers/inventors use the same rules to determine the in-game effects of their spells/inventions. If a mage uses a fly spell or a mad scientist builds a jetpack, both work exactly the same way.
  • Played with in Warhammer 40,000:
    • While the technology of every major power in the grim dark future is amazing to some degree, it's hard to tell where the tech ends and the magic begins. For example, the Imperium believes, by and large, that their machines are given life by "Machine Spirits" and are somehow enchanted. They might be right, or maybe they're deluding themselves. Then there's the Orks, whose technology, cobbled together from junk, logically shouldn't work half the time, and yet it does because the Orks think it should. It's not always clear whether the weapons and machines of this setting work because they follow established natural laws, or because "a psyker did it."
      • This depends more on the author than anything else. Some have described Ork technology as unconnected junk that only works because they believe it will, while others have it being entirely normal, if rather crude, and usable by humans. Background fluff, as opposed to actual novels, has generally said that Mekboys are born with inherent knowledge of technology, which suggests that it was intended to be advanced technology rather than actual magic.
    • The Sorcery in Warhammer is projection of psychic energy called Warp, and that energy comes from "condensated" emotions casted by souls and minds of sentient species. Its very similar to Force from Star Wars in principle, only Darker and Edgier.
    • Adeptus Mechanicus Priests revere machines as holy relics, in turn ensuring that whatever they build, they will not skimp on the cost. Their maintenance of it also treats each individual machine as a holy spirit. While this seems outwardly weird by our standards, this means that they will not cut corners on maintenance and will always do a precise job, keeping the machine at top efficiency until the end of it's life.
    • Then there's the Ecclesiarchy in Dawn of War Soulstorm, as somehow a relic (which is usually old bones) blessed by a saint confers invulnerability, with no other explanation given otherwise. Even in Tabletop, the Sisters of Battle faction has ability to use "miracles". These work on same principle as Ork "technology". As the Warp is projection of thoughts and emotions, it's possible, with strong enough faith, to bend laws of physics. As the Sisters are zealots even among zealots, their faith is (with morale boosts by Relic) strong enough to do this.
    • The 40K universe is as much an inversion, as it is playing it straight. By the time 40k rolls around, Humanity had suffered a civilizational collapse some 15,000 years previously where the only technology maintained was either practical and necessary, or picked up by the Mechanicus which developed into a cult as the original source material for development and maintenance degraded and they needed a way to maintain the technology without losing the how to do it. Since their lives depended heavily on keeping their systems working...
    • The Necrons, due to their nature, can't access the Warp and thusly don't have the Psychic Powers that other races do. Instead, they turn to their hyper-advanced science, which is more than comparable in effectiveness; combat scientists called "Crypteks" take the place that combat psykers do in other races, and their various scientific disciplines are named like disciplines of magic. Psychomancy includes blasting an opponent's mind with fear or despair so they die or go insane and teleporting through clouds of darkness. Plasmancy controls Pure Energy, but also can control fire and light. Chronomancy is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Ethermancy is the control of air and lightning. Geomancy, despite the name, is more about alchemy than about direct earth control; Crypteks following this discipline are known as Harbingers of Transmogrification.
    • Arguably even more advanced than the Necrons are the Dark Eldar, who are very much space Fair Folk. Craftworld Eldar have plenty of nice technology as-is, but they've turned themselves into Space Amish somewhat since the fall of their society; the Dark Eldar meanwhile have kept all their pre-fall toys and even expanded on some of them, and some of their really crazy stuff defies all scientific explanation. Dark Lances supposedly fire munitions gleaned from the inside of black holes, and they even have this really strange weapon which is like a mirror that when shattered instantly does the same to whoever is reflected in it. They can even bring people Back from the Dead.
    • A sidebar in the Dark Heresy book Blood of Martyrs recounts the story of how Goge Vandire turned the Daughters of the Emperor to his side: to demonstrate that he had the Emperor's grace, he had one of his bodyguards shoot him. The force field in his rosarius absorbed the shot. He gambled that the Brides hadn't seen it before and it paid off: they swore allegiance to him, were renamed the Brides of the Emperor, and became his Bodyguard Babes.
    • Feral worlds are often recruiting grounds for Space Marines, the inhabitants of which often describe the marines as "angels". To them, the marines are demigods who, once in their lifetimes, comes to take those few strong and worthy to join their immortal ranks. For the marines, the reason they only come "once a lifetime" is because most marine chapters are forbidden from mass recruitment and because the entrance "exam" often kills most of that generation's fertile males. They're also viewed as Angels because they often descent onto a planet by drop pod or thunderhawk transports.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed features the Isu, Human Aliens that created humanity as a Slave Race. The technology that they left behind is the driving force behind the plot.
  • The main source of the advanced tech from Asura's Wrath comes from this law, though with a more Hindu and Buddhist Twist.
  • In BlazBlue, there is a clear distinction between science and magic, however the "magic" used by most characters is called Ars Magus, which is in actuality a middle ground between the two. Pure magic is defined as much more powerful, and currently the only known characters to wield it are Rachel, Nine and her daughter, Kokonoe.
  • Chrono Trigger: Robo is one of the few characters who can't use magic, but the weapons he has built into him have enough similar properties to be functionally identical. He can even tech with other magic users to amplify the effects of their spells.
  • The Closer: Game of the Year Edition Invokes and Parodies the trope when a character to learn magic to escape an old video game. Zisik mentions the trope in all but name, and the party realizes that for a baseball game that takes place in the 40s, modern baseball statistics are a completely foreign concept. As a result, invoking sabermetrics allows one to become a Reality Warper using the power of Sabermancy.
  • In the Destiny series, the characters are Guardians, dead human(oid)s imbued with the "Light of the Traveler," a strange energy which lets them infinitely resurrect and utilize Elemental Powers. The Traveler itself is a giant white sphere. It opposes the Darkness, a force of Social Darwinism that nearly wiped out humanity and takes the form of a fleet of giant black pyramids. Meanwhile, humanity and all the alien races use firearms, hovering vehicles, and starships. It's implied the magic is just technology so far beyond humankind, they ascribe mythical status to it.
    • Later its revealed that the Light and Darkness are forces that originated from before the universe came to exist, and therefore aren't subject to normally inviolable laws of physics, like cause presceding effect, logical consequence, thermodynamics or anything else. While completely mundane and normal for other paracausal beings, for humans who exist wholly as part of the universe, these powers must be couched and understood in mystical and magical structures because, essentially, that's what the Light might as well be.
    • The driving force for the Light to insert itself like this is that the natural, deterministic laws of the universe will always favor the emergence of all-consuming AI that will convert the universe entirely into itself forever. Because these patterns like to time travel, the only way to prevent their dominance and let other interesting things happen was to cheat.
  • Hinted at in Dishonored, where the Outsider mentions that his existence and the abilities he sometimes bestows upon Corvo and others appear to be magic to them.
  • Eternal Champions: Xavier Pendragon was burned at the stake for being a warlock despite the manual saying that his abilities were based in science.
  • Final Fantasy XIV features magic and technology (as well as Magitek, naturally) coexisting, but even the most advanced Garlean magitek pales in comparison to the creations of the Allagan Empire, whose technological prowess borders on Reality Warping.
  • In GreedFall, the Nauts are the game's independent Navy faction and it's said that they have their own unique magic that aids in their navigating the sea. However, a late game quest reveals that the Nauts don't rely on magic at all, but mundane seafaring technology. They've invented the gyrocompass, the barometer, even SONAR. This is subtly foreshadowed by your Naut party member, Vasco, having no magic abilities and relying on firearms in combat, owing to the Nauts' mastery of technology. The Nauts also frequently fall afoul of The Inquisition, with some more zealous Inquisitors even blaming Naut "magic" for the Malichor. The Nauts consider it a price worth paying to maintain their monopoly on large-scale ocean travel.
  • Invoked as load screen saying for 10tons's Jydge and some of the odder tech has that result, such as Shrinkify, Killing Heals and Blood Specials.
  • Biotics in Mass Effect run the whole gamut of Psychic Powers and could easily be mistaken for magic. In fact, biotic characters fill the "mage" role of the game's Fighter, Mage, Thief dynamic. However, given the game's extreme levels of Shown Their Work and hard sci-fi, it's plausibly explained as the result of Element Zero in the body stimulated by electrical currents generated in the person's nervous system. In-universe, there is a radio story in one of the games about how a following on Earth now believes that the God-myths from ancient civilizations were encounters with alien races (likely the Protheans) and these encounters fell under this trope. In 3, Javik outright tells Liara that the Protheans guided their development, and the Goddess Athame and her followers were Prothean.
  • Invoked in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, when Otacon gives a theoretical explanation of Vamp's 'superpowers':
    Snake: So it wasn't that he had some freak, supernatural powers.
    Otacon: Hey, when technology starts to test the limits of our imagination, what's the difference?
    • Also invoked in a couple of the optional Codec calls in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Otacon compares Snake's artillery to everyone else's unique methods of attack when Ganondorf is concerned, and Mei Ling even directly goes into a spiel about how technology is simply another kind of magic when Zelda's around.
  • The Might and Magic Ancients' devices belong in this category, not because magic doesn't exist (it does, and not only through their technology) but because their technology is so developed that from the outside perspective it is impossible to say if any of their technologies are Magitek (except in one specific case, which is part of the proof for magic existing beyond the Ancients' technology as used by the barbarian survivors of the Silence), and if it is, where the technology stops and the magic begins.
  • In NieR: Automata, your Pods have many technology-oriented attacks that are essentially the copies of blood-powered magic of Grimoire Weiss from Nier. The first game itself has the separation line between magic and technology rather blurry, what with the androids that can use standard magic ...
  • Phantasy Star seems to run on this trope, particularly Phantasy Star Universe in which the spells are equipped as programs for weapons.
    • In Phantasy Star IV, for example, the main character can shoot lasers/holy light out of his hands, his partner can summon fire out of nowhere, and a companion that joins early on can freeze his enemies, etc. Your basic fantasy game magic, right? Well, not too far into the story, the characters are joined by a robed character, who (during a cutscene) blasts away some rocks with some sort of fire. The rest of the characters go, "Whoa, was that * MAGIC* ? I thought that the art of magic was lost centuries ago!" Cue the confused player thinking, "wait, you mean the * other* fire spell that the other player can cast ISN'T magic?" It's not really explained what the difference is, but the game has androids ("An droid, the droid, WHATEVER" -Raja, Phantasy Star IV) and spaceships, and such. The trope is varied, though, because the characters seem to be able to distinguish easily between magic and tech, it's just the player that's confused.
      • "Techniques" from Phantasy Star II tend to be described as science (or at least Techno Babble). The manual explains how some techniques do what they do; for instance, Foi "compresses the oxygen in the air until it ignites." The likely explanation is that they're a form of Psychic Powers developed by Mother Brain, and that magic has more or less died off in the age of modern science. Still, Phantasy Star II in general has a lot of Sufficiently Advanced vibes anyway, so you never know.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, modern technology from the Warp Destination aka the outside world is indistinguishable from and oddly compatible with magic from Rabi Rabi Island, to the point that magical energy can be used to charge Syaro's cell phone and Cicini's devices. Erina and Ribbon are confused when Cicini has no idea what magic is despite a boss fight where she was flinging around what they thought were magic projectiles.
  • Septerra Core does this big time. Both technological equipment and magical abilities are powered by radiation from the Core, a gigantic friggin' biocomputer! Essentially, anything done by a living thing is magic, and anything done by a machine is technology. Then again, the line between lifeforms and machines is blurred too, with the game having both sentient robots and biotechnology (see Living Ship).
  • In Shadowverse, the dimension Yuwan and the Portalcraft cards came from seems to be based on advanced technology (or Magitek) rather than outright magic, with a lot of machines and automatons among his followers. However, they still seem to incorporate magic into their operation, particularly the creepy soul-powered puppets.
  • Star Ocean:
    • In Star Ocean, Millie describes Ronyx and Ilia as being like gods when they discover how advanced human technology is in comparison to anything on her world, particularly when she and her friends are beamed aboard a human starship.
    • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, the main character's laser blaster, used on a primitive world, gets him branded as a prophesied hero with a "Sword of Light".
  • Super Robot Wars dabbles in this with many of its Original Generation Super Robots being products of alien technology so far advanced from anything on Earth that it borders on magic. One notable example is SRX: the robots that comprise it, the R-Series, are Real Robots with capabilities that are on par with Earth-built mecha, but the combined SRX is so powerful that it fights just like a Super Robot.
  • The technology behind the Tenno and Orokin of Warframe certainly fall into this.
  • Likewise in Wizardry 8, where a Gadgeteer class can assemble certain items into gadgets that have exactly the same effect as some spells, with advantage of them consuming stamina only instead of mana.
  • Ether from Xenosaga is advanced nanotechnology but looks and works similar to magic in most other video games.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Strong Bad Email #143 technology:
    Strong Bad: The word technology... means... magic. It's basically anything that's really cool that you don't know how it works. And if it breaks, you have to buy a new one.

  • In Aisopos, this is Played for Laughs when the Barbarian encounters the Deus ex Machina created by Thales and he thinks it's an actual God with real powers. Thales explaining to him that it's all based on machinery doesn't change his opinion.
  • In Steven Universe, the show leaves it vague whether or not Gems use magic and Magitek or if they use the term "magic" to simplify things for Steven. In Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything however, Crystal Gem!Pearl clarifies that they are not magic.
  • Florence from Freefall manages to expand on this, here.
  • Girl Genius has lots of this. In a Steampunk version of Victorian-era Europe, most of the technology seems to depend upon gears, rotors and basic electricity. This does not stop clockwork robots having extremely advanced artificial intelligence, or genetic engineering being so far advanced that full revival of a dead, and often otherwise obliterated human being is very much possible with an intact brain. This is thanks to "The Spark", a powerful natural talent for all fields of science that some people are born with. Naturally, to non-Sparks, the amazing technologies that Sparks produce look nothing short of magical. An example explicitly naming "magic" is this (non-canon) little gem, where Agatha pimps up a magic wand (with SCIENCE!).
  • El Goonish Shive: It was unclear, even to Tedd, if Tedd's TFG was technology or magic. It was confirmed in this comic that it a combination of both and thus Magitek. It is also a major reason for Tedd to make magic available to everyone. Sure magic can be dangerous, but technology is usually more directly destructive, and easier to use to boot. An ancient vampire nearly kills one of the most powerful wizards in the world with a perfectly ordinary gun.
    Vampire: Fancy magic, fire and noise... all outdone by humanity's toys.
  • Eridan of Homestuck refuses to believe that magic exists and insists on calling it science, even calling the magic that he uses "White Science". Earlier, in a trans-temporal memo made by Karkat, Kanaya asks him if magic is real. While he says he's not sure, the point is moot since all the equipment Sgrub has leaves nothing for magic to really offer. They kind of have magic in the Alchemy already.
  • The Order of the Stick had a gag that any sufficiently advanced and reliable magic is indistinguishable from technology.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal gives the law an interesting corrolary.
  • In Skin Horse, Dr. Virginia Lee, a sane scientist in a Mad Science universe, believes that any sufficiently stupid technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  • Unicorn Jelly: While the majority of the Plate inhabitants believe that the two inviolably separate disciplines of Witchcraft and Alchemy Is Magic, they are in fact science — but science which seems unintelligible to humans, because it is rooted in the other-dimensional physics of the Sierpinski Triangle Worldplates. While the earliest humans to be transported to — or. rather (we later learn), duplicated into — the dimension of the Worldplates were able to learn the pre-Cataclysm Jellese science to some degree, that knowledge got disrupted when they were forced to flee the Plate they originally appeared on. However, the possibility that there is 'real' magic, such as the Holy Unicorn which supposedly empowered Uni, remained ambiguous throughout. This theme also appears in the related Pastel Defender Heliotrope, set in the sub-sub-dimension of Pastel.
  • Westward evokes the Law in an early strip. One of the characters notes that the (essentially incomprehensible) form of Faster-Than-Light Travel used by the titular Cool Starship is easier to accept if one thinks of it as magic, rather than technology.

    Web Original 
  • Emily H The Viking Princess: Implied in regards to the titular character's genetic magical powers, which is referred to as "ethnobotany".
  • Freeman's Mind points out that while advanced technology could appear to be magic, it doesn't rule out magic as an explanation.
  • Orion's Arm: generally speaking, technology invented and used by a higher-singularity being may be understandable and even able to be replicated (at least in its most basic form and applications) by a very smart individual of a lower intelligence, but once you get beyond a two-singularity difference, the tech's complexity is simply beyond a person's mental ability to process. Post-singularity technologies that cannot be replicated by a human-level intelligence are called "Clarketech" in reference to this law, and are pretty much indistinguishable from magic to everyone but their creators. Everyone is generally well-aware that it really is technology, but many argue that since its effects are indistinguishable from "magic", is there really any point differentiating it?
  • Prolecto has this as a minor theme, contributing to the Science Fantasy feel. The demons and the angels all use technology that is explained in scientific terms.
  • A Discussed Trope in Starsnatcher. When Lucas and Steve talk about wormholes, the latter struggles to understand what makes them differ from magic portals.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers loved this one, and often blurred the lined between the two. A great example was the Heart of Tarkon, which the natives assumed was magic, but the Rangers saw as a massive and advanced planetary computer. The truth was that they were both right. The Heart was a vast computer, but required Life Energy to run it. Niko also dismissed another character's explanation of her Psychic Powers as magic, saying they were just "powers of the mind...asleep in most people, but awake in me."
  • It is a debatable subject In-Universe in Adventure Time between science nerd Princess Bubblegum and the wizards in the Kingdom of Ooo. She has been proven right numerous times, but there are still a lot of unexplained and occult things in the show such as a half-vampire/half-demon girl whose father is a demon lord who likes to steal souls, a ghost princess, Death being an actual character in the show, numerous afterlives known as "Dead Worlds" are confirmed to exist, and Bubblegum herself being the reincarnation of a Candy Elemental, making her a magical being.
  • In Code Lyoko, once XANA takes control of one of the Control Towers of the virtual world of Lyoko, there's pretty much no limit in how he can manipulate the real world; on the low end of supernatural, it can hack pretty much every electronic device or vehicle or create music that makes you go braindead, and from there it just ramps up: it can summon ghost-like digital specters that can not only possess people, but also give them Super Strength and electrical powers, possess samurai armors with nothing electronic about them, generate a deadly snow storm that covers an entire town or even invert the gravity of a specific area. Most of this is barely given a Hand Wave at how it's even possible that an AI (advanced as it may be) can do any of this.
  • Parodied even harder in Futurama with the Satanic-err...scientific ritual to restore Calculon to life. "Hail Science!" The ritual involves protective, black cloaks with red lines, wireless routers laid out in a pentagram, taking a spare circuit board from a mechanical goat (which is opened with a knife on a satanic altar), and playing an installation dish backwards, which, incidentally, says "Rise from the dead in the name of Satan!"
  • In Gargoyles, after seeing one of the guns wielded by his enemies for the first time, Hudson says "We must be battling sorcerers!" When explaining the floppy disks used by computers at the time to Goliath, Xanatos describes them as "magic talismans, each containing hundreds of spells" and breaking encryption codes as "translating the spells." Tom and Katharine also describe Macbeth's and Demona's guns as "magic weapons".
  • The train in Infinity Train is nominally technological, but operates in ways so physics-defying they're hard to call anything but magic. Even when the characters manage to take advantage of its mechanisms, they do so with very little understanding of how they work.
  • Clarke's Third Law is explicitly mentioned and quoted in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "The Might of Doom", where Doctor Doom's powers are rationalized as incredibly advanced technology rather than sorcery. Doom himself takes this further by saying that Dormammu, a hellish Dimension Lord in the comics, is simply a Sufficiently Advanced Alien that primitive humans mistook for a demonic entity. It later turns out that Doom's armor is based on alien technology.
  • In The Magic School Bus, it's implied that the titular bus's powers are actually futuristic technology. Its shapeshifting and shrinking abilities, for example, are attributed to devices called a "mesmerglober" and a "portashrinker" respectively.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles provides a possible example. It's implied that the Crying Titan—from which Yōkai, magic, and the Mutagenic Goo originated—was one of the Krang, which would mean that everything mystical in the series was actually highly advanced alien technology.
  • The Scooby-Doo cartoons tend to be about seemingly paranormal events caused by scientists or technicians with enough know-how to be able to fake such incidences using advanced technology.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons when in the future Marge points out how much easier things are since scientists invented magic.
  • Steven Universe at first seems very much like a fantasy show, especially due to its Magical Girl trappings. However, as the show progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that the Gems' "magic" is in fact extremely advanced technology, including holograms, spaceships and teleporters. The Gems themselves are revealed to be an alien race that seem to most closely resemble computers in function (the show's creator somewhat jokingly called them "solar-powered robots"). That said, there are still many details that make the existence of magic ambiguous in-universe, most notably the presence of life energy and the fact that the Gems themselves refer to their abilities as "magical".
  • The Transformers: In the episode, "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court", the wizard's recipe for "Dragon's Bane" (sulfur, rock salt, charcoal and seagull droppingsnote ), reveals that it's just a fantastic name for gunpowder.
  • In The Venture Bros., this is Doctor Venture's view on all magic: specifically, magic is just a different form of science that uses differing terminology and ideas but accomplishes the same thing. Though he's quite familiar with mages and necromancers, even having one by the name of Doctor Orpheus renting out part of his property, he's also seen all manner of crazy superscience accomplishments, and he's never seen a thing that could be done by one and not the other. He goes so far as to claim that the synaptic data he uses for Brain Uploading purposes is no different from a soul—and he may be right, as Orpheus's attempt to track lost souls led him right to the computer storing said data.
  • Both inverted and played straight in the Young Justice episode "Denial". Kid Flash denies the existence of magic, insisting that there is a scientific explanation for everything. He dismisses Doctor Fate's 'magic' as technical tricks. Understandable because of his experience with the Flash villain Abra Kadabra, a straight example who uses his technology to simulate magic.

    Real Life 
  • Several classical civilizations, such as the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, used and kept closely guarded technology used in temples to trick worshipers into thinking it was the gods' doing.
  • One of the numerous theories as to the purpose of the mysterious "Baghdad Battery" is that it was used to power a statue of a god, which would shock the people who touched it. Being that this was long before anyone was well-acquainted with the concept of electricity, this would be interpreted as the god's answer to a question. A MythBusters test revealed the voltage created by the battery probably wasn't high enough to cause a proper shock, but they posited that under the right circumstances it might produce a tingle or other unusual sensation.
  • Combined with Religion is Magic in Erich von Däniken's paleocontact hypothesis, and descendants such as the Raelian movement, where primitive humans allegedly worshipped visiting aliens as gods because of their technology.
  • Pope Sylvester II (c. 946 - 1003), after studying at Cordoba, introduced Hindi-Arabic digits into the abacus, allowing him to do calculations much faster than others in his day who were used to working with Roman numerals. He also reintroduced the armillary sphere to Europe, and constructed a hydraulic-powered organ with brass pipes. Many legends grew around him saying that he had studied magical arts and astrology, and that he was a sorcerer in league with the devil.
  • A Cargo Cult is what happens when a relatively primitive culture comes into contact with some technology they don't have the basis to understand, such as happened with some Pacific Islanders witnessing World War II. Examples included tribes observing Allied transport planes, but not really grasping why these planes had suddenly started showing up. Some tribesmen would later try to create their own landing strips in hopes of one of these planes appearing to drop off cargo.
  • In an interview on Apple's webpage, a member of the design team for the newly unveiled iPad invokes/discusses the trope; repeatedly mentioning that the feature set may seem like the result of magic. Memetic Mutation ensued.
  • In the 1850s, French magician Robert-Houdin was able to help the French government avoid an uprising in recently-colonized Algeria by using a magic trick that convinced the Algerian people he could take away a man's strength. The trick was performed by asking the strongest man in the audience to pick up a small box that was light enough for a child to lift. The man lifted the box easily on the first attempt but on the second attempt Houdin "commanded the man to lose his strength" and he suddenly could not lift the box. The real magic behind the trick was an electromagnet hidden in the box.
  • Any technology of the 21st century when compared to even a few decades ago. We have robots, lasers, and we're working on holograms and energy shields.
    • Remember those plasma balls from the 80s? That was a proof of concept that energy shielding was technologically possible. The only hangup is the prohibitive energy cost to make it worthwhile. The energy required to shield something has to be equal to or greater than the energy released against the shield, and has to maintain that at a constant output.
      • Not necessarily constant. Short bursts of energy would suffice, but only if the shielding's computer can calculate the amount of force applied to the shield at the moment of and duration of impact. Versus projectiles, it would only need to up the energy usage for about a one second interval to allow for errors in calculation.
    • Working Volumetric holograms are there, just expensive due to intense memory and power requirements. They require data for a third dimension, which instead of the square of how many pixels you need, you now have the cube of the volumetric equivalent. So a 128x128 raw image needs at least 16KB. A 128x128x128 volumetric hologram needs somewhere along the lines of 2MB. Meaning 320 pixel 3D will require as much data as 8k UHDTV, the largest format worked upon for civilian use. In other words, not something that will be available at Best Buy any time soon.
  • A common tactic among European explorers in Africa during the 19th Century was to use technology to convince natives that they were magicians or gods. Cameras trapped people's souls, tinderboxes or matches summoned the Sun into the palm of one's hand, etc. (The camera thing was referenced in Rurouni Kenshin.)
  • Played as a joke with anyone who works with electronics. A lot of times, when electronics are overloaded to the point of catastrophic failure, they burn and release smoke. This smoke is referred to as "magic smoke" and the reason why electronics stop working is "once the magic smoke leaves, it doesn't come back." A similar joke exists among engineers; ask them how a certain part of an engine works, and they'll answer "It runs on FM," which you will eventually come to learn means Fucking Magic. See also the Black Box, when you know for a fact something runs on technology, and how to operate it, but you have no idea how it works.
  • Thomas Edison was known as the "Wizard of Menlo Park" because no one expected the phonograph to be invented and it seemed magical at the time.
  • When one of the first hot air balloons was tested in France a group of farmers tried to attack it after it crashed, believing it was some kind of magical monster.
  • Nikola Tesla is often considered a kind of techno-wizard, at least in the vast legendarium that has accrued about him.
  • The Ancient Greeks found fortifications from the previous civilization, the Mycenaeans, and assumed since no man could move such heavy stones they must have been built by Cyclopes.
  • Even something we take as simple, like reading can be this. It allows one to hear the dead speak and anyone to communicate the most arcane knowledge. Non-literate societies were shocked to find people opening up dead leaves and producing voices and knowledge from them. Even in more "civilized" societies, like Ancient Rome, silent reading was a kind of magic, as recorded in Saint Augustine's confessions when he discusses Saint Ambrose, "When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Clarks Third Law


Ja'far's Chemistry

Ja'far is accused of sorcery and he uses chemistry to escape.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

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Main / ClarkesThirdLaw

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