A few years ago, I posted an article titled “The Top Ten Coolest Magic Systems in Fantasy” on a now-defunct website called Geekus.net. The topic of favorite/coolest magic system came up at reddit.com/r/fantasy today, and it inspired me to reblog this here. It was by far the site’s most popular post.
Let’s put aside literary integrity, writing quality, and originality for a moment and just focus on the superficial. When it comes to reading fantasy, a cool magic system is often enough to hook a reader despite a cliched story, or save a book filled with one-dimensional characters. Magic is just cool, and sometimes you’ve got to give credit where credit is due, even when a magic system is more creative than the story in which you discover it. With that in mind, here are the top ten coolest magic systems in fantasy, by series title.
10. The Dying Earth Series by Jack Vance
Vance created the Dying Earth subgenre with his eponymous 1950 short story collection. In so doing, he also introduced a memorable (pun intended) system of magic. In the far future world of the Dying Earth, magicians use spells, but only 100 spells remain to human knowledge. These…
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