Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, with a mass-market paperback cover by Boris Vallejo and interior illustrations by Estaban Moroto.
This novel seems to pride itself on the rationality with which it presents the possibility of ancient thaumaturgy. Still, the theory of magic involved is pretty meager, and sustains little reflection. The book is too slow-paced to qualify as ripping adventure, and the prose style and characterizations rate no special acclaim. It does succeed to a certain degree as a parable about the economy of fossil fuels.
The illustrations are pretty, and complement the text nicely. The laudatory afterword isn’t much worth reading, except that it did provide me with the genre term “logical fantasy,” which I now use for library tagging purposes. [via]
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.