This week, Alida, Robert, and guest host Matt Herron discuss hard and soft systems of magic, science, and other forms of world-building logic necessary to fiction. 




What is the difference between hard and soft magic systems? How does it apply to science fiction as well as fantasy? What are some pros and cons of the spectrum? How do you avoid deus ex machina with all-powerful magic systems? How do you incorporate consequence into your systems? And where do we fall on the sliding scale?

Find Matt at

What we talked about:

What is the difference between Hard and Soft Magic Systems? (2:55)

What are some pros and cons of magic systems being hard or soft? (6:43)

How to avoid deus ex machina with soft magic systems. (11:25)

How to steal from existing infrastructure, and when to beware of what you know! (16:25)

Where do we fall between hard and soft science? And how does accuracy constrain your writing? (19:25)

The issue of consequence. (26:05)

This applies to all genres, not just science fiction or fantasy. (30:10)


Things we mentioned:

Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Star Wars
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Neil Stephenson 
Ringworld by Larry Niven
The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven
The Martian by Andy Weir
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
Stephen King
Asimov Foundations Series 
Asimov Robot Series 


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