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This article in most ways is going to resemble a book review. I, like a lot of people, have a group of favorite authors whose style and subject matter have a great appeal to me. The genre of science fiction and fantasy is intended to stretch the imagination and suspend disbelief concerning all kinds of strange goings on. Many of these stories are based on regional myths and legends; the skills of the writers bringing them to life for us. Occasionally the original spell craft techniques or the concepts underlying them are held up for view. An Adept, reading some these, is suddenly stirred to attempt a new approach or delve into an area previously ignored, thanks to these Masters of Imagination. The following are a few of the writers who have influenced and entertained me.

David Drake is best known as a writer of military science fiction. He is a Viet Nam combat veteran and writes this kind of fiction from the point of view of one who has been there and done that. However, when he writes about magick it is well to pay attention. His first book in the supernatural vein that I am aware of is "From the Heart of Darkness" which can generally be classed as horror and was published in 1983. This was followed by "Old Nathan" which deals with the classic American back country type of witchcraft much in the vein of Manly Wade Wellman to whom the book is dedicated. His present effort is the "Lord of the Isles" series which to date includes "Lord of the Isles", "Queen of Demons", Servant of the Dragon" and "Mistress of the Catacombs". The general religion and magickal practices are Sumerian. I will quote from the novels' notes to the reader. "The magical phrases (voces mysticae) quoted throughout the novel are real. I don't mean that they really summon magical powers; personally I don't believe that they do. But many men and women did believe in the power of these words and used them in all seriousness to work for good or ill. Individuals can make their own decisions on the matter, but I didn't pronounce any of the voces mysticae while I was writing "Lord of the Isles". David researches his work from classical Roman and Greek sources.

Barbara Hambly has a Masters degree in medieval history and a black belt in karate. She has written twenty novels to date that contain a magickal theme. A basic premise that runs through her work is that there exists a group of people who are genetically endowed to perform magick (the mage born), but these abilities must be honed through education and practice to be brought to full fruition. In short an Adept never knows enough. The subjects of ethics and responsibility are discussed at some length throughout her books. Another theme that runs through Barbara's writing is the compulsion to practice and learn more about magick. It is an obsessive drive to add to magickal power and knowledge. Once the would be Adept recognizes her or his magickal Will it becomes a life long need.

The first book that I read of Barbara's was "Dragonbane". From there I went to "The Darwath Series", "Sun Wolf and Starhowk", "The Windrose Chronicles", and "Sun Cross". In the end I have read and recommend almost all of her books though her latest have strayed from the magickal thread.

Roger Zelazny, Hugo and Nebula Award winner, died in 1995 a true Master of the Imagination. When I read that he had passed away I felt as if I had lost a family member. He had written or co-written over forty novels. He had a talent for taking a religion or mythos and witing a story using a god or hero out of the original as his principal character. The first book of his that I read was "Lord of Light" in which the Hindu pantheon and a certain amount of Buddhism are central to the plot. Within this book Roger defined what it was to be an invoked god. It can be extended to what it is to be a practicing Adept.

"Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extend that your passions correspond with the Forces of the Universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken.

Being a god is being able to recognize within one's self those things that are important and then to strike the single note that brings them into alignment with everything else that exists. One rules through his or her ruling passions."

His Amber series consists of ten novels beginning with "Nine Princes in Amber" and ending with "Prince of Chaos". They all deal with magickal forms. Two of his novels, "Changeling" and "Madwand", have been combined under the title of "Wizard World". In these novels there is a very interesting concept of viewing magickal energy.

If you have had some personal instruction and/or have read some of the how to books readily available, putting this knowledge into practice, some of these books may not only entertain you, but also they may give you some new directions and ideas to pursue. The world of science fiction and fantasy is an open book. Enjoy!

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