Magic From Technology

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law

"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."

Gehm's corollary to Clarke's Third Law

The science-fiction equivalent of magic. Magic does not derive from an actual mystical or spiritual source; rather, it is technology in disguise. The characters using this magic may or may not be aware of its true origins.

Compare Clarke's Third Law. Contrast with Skepticism Failure. For "Technology From Magic," see Magitek. Explaining away magic with Techno Babble or Minovsky Physics is Doing In the Wizard. Often used by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. If the audience is left in doubt about its true origins, Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. Magic by Any Other Name often overlaps with this.

Despite similarity to the literal translation, Deus Ex Machina is unrelated. Not to be confused with Magic-Powered Pseudoscience where magic turns out to be the hidden component in a seemingly mechanistic but otherwise inexplicable invention.

Examples of Magic From Technology include:

Anime and Manga

  • Fullmetal Alchemist: We are told, time and time again, that alchemy is a science. They go to great lengths to portray it as one, with lots of preparation and study, but it can do things that make no sense from our scientific perspective; it's Functional Magic.
    • Made worse by ignoring the first law of thermodynamics, but that itself is saved by making that flaw a plot point.
  • Scrapped Princess is big on this. Despite the magi, dragons, gods, and whatnot that inhabit this apparently medieval-fantasy setting, Lost Technology actually underlies everything.
  • My-HiME contains Magic From Technology, while Mai-Otome takes it one step further: the titular Otomes are basically Magical Girls who gain their powers from Nanomachines.
  • The kemonomimi of Tokyo Mew Mew are parahumans created in a semi-realistic manner... but the genetic engineering also turned them into Magical Girls.
  • In the Suzumiya Haruhi series, the Data Overmind and its Artificial Human agents use non-mechanical technology that the Narrator usually just describes as "magic", since it can directly overwrite reality. As a result, Humanoid Interfaces fighting looks an awful lot like a Magical Girl battle. It's also implied that humanity, in The Future, will use similar technology, which is why the series's representative Time Traveler can't operate any present-day technology more complicated than a flashlight; her society has Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions as thermodynamics.
  • A variant of this is presented in episode 14 of the Umineko no Naku Koro ni anime. Virgillia explains that the Japanese fire ceremony, which today has been explained by science, was once seen as magic because it was like that to people at the time.

Battler: In other words, if you don't know the principles it's based upon, a rain ceremony is just like magic?

  • The entire plot of Neon Genesis Evangelion is based upon an Ancient Conspiracy's efforts to use the semi-understood technologies and vague prophecies left behind by a Precursor race to attempt to ascend humanity to godhood. What would have made the Gainax Ending a lot less mind screwy would have been if they had actually bothered to explain that in-show instead of couching the entire conclusion in mystical mumbo-jumbo and psychobabble, and then having the super-technology manifest as a giant nude girl who then turns humanity into orange juice by using the power unleashed by nine giant robots crucifying themselves.
  • Somewhat in the franchise, Digimon. All There in the Manual video games reveal that the two first computers, ENIAC and ABC started the digital world. There's the technology side, and this creates digimon who knows magic, demons and angels, mythical creatures and an Magic Land within the Cyberspace.
  • Show: Full Metal Panic!. Scene: two RealRobots are fighting with kinetic guns. One of them loses its weapon; the other tries to shoot but the bullet is absorbed by a forcefield that seemingly sprang up from nowhere. The attacker's yelp of suprise is then interrupted by the other guy shooting a giant shockwave of energy from his palm. Another guy complains not a minute ago that while fighting it, his cannon round bounced back and destroyed his own bot even though the opponent clearly doesn't have reactive armor. Say hello to the Lambda Driver with no one knowing how exactly it works, only that it works... most of the time.
  • In chapter 42 of Yozakura Quartet, Arthur Clarke's third law is quoted by one of the senate members to Gin/Enjin in regards to Onmyou.
  • Lupin III had the villain Pycal, who appeared to be impervious to bullets and fire, could walk on air and shoot fire from his fingertips. In truth, he walked on air via carefully placed glass panes, shot fire from his fingertips with a small, hidden flamethrower and was impervious thanks to a hard liquid chemical that shielded him from bullets and fire.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami had an story arc with the mother of Mikami utilizing the power of a nuclear aircraft carrier with a big magic circle drawn on the deck and fighting demons a few hundred times more powerful then herself.
  • In One Piece, Nami is able to practically control the weather through the use of her knowledge and her staff which can manipulate temperatures in the atmosphere. To the point most people actually mistake her for a witch.
    • Again after the time skip, where she even corrects one of the enemies by stating her abilities is "purely science" while using a new staff she calls "sorcery climate".
  • In GaoGaiGar (and its later OVA, GaoGaiGar FINAL), the G-Stone and its relative the J-Jewel, Zonder Metal, and the Pas-Q Machine all do things that either border on or far, FAR surpass the impossible, and no explanation for their operation is given beyond 'ancient alien technology'.

Comic Books

  • The Flash villain Abra Kadabra was from a far future time, who used his advanced technology as "magic".
  • Gold Digger both exemplified and subverted this in equal measure.
    • At one point, Gina discovers that magic is just a derivative of an ancient Magitek known as Beta Technology. The Saurians who were involved in its creation bio-engineered the dragons as a slave race, encoding them with the ability to use magic (how it works) but not the principles of the science (why it works). After the dragons rebelled and the Saurians were mostly wiped out, the knowledge of how everything worked was lost or sealed away, and what little the dragons knew about how things worked combined with the knowledge of other races formed the basis of ancient magic, with technology becoming a different science altogether. This explains why the Artificer, Gina's future identity, is a spellcaster beyond the comprehension of all but the most powerful Big Bad, Dreadwing, and Gina is unable to comprehend even the most basic levitation spell in the present, though bits and pieces of her research that will eventually lead to this revelation have actively worried many magical authorities about Gina's continuing "merging" of magic and technology, which works in ways they don't understand.
    • However, a later revelation added another layer in that the Magitek that formed the basis of Beta Technology is the physics and science of the previous universe, destroyed before our Big Bang. When survivors of that universe managed to thread the needle and escape into the new universe, they brought their science with them, which bent the natural laws of the new universe in ways that shouldn't be possible, thus making it Magic From Technology and Magitek simultaneously.
  • Skartaris, setting for The Warlord, not only contains genuine magic but a lot of pre-cataclysmic Atlantean technology that functions like magic to the primitive inhabitants.

Fan Works

  • In the Expanded Universe of Daria, the Ringbearers and their weapons, the Defender Rings, fall squarely into this trope.


  • Apparently the Day Of Wonders virtual reality program in the Apocalypse film series is so real it can hurt and even kill people who enter into it: a lethal snake bite in the program also becomes a lethal snake bite in reality. Willy Spino in Revelation when he first entered the Day Of Wonders program after it was hacked ran his virtual self fingers on the blade of a guillotine in the program and ended up cutting his finger in reality.
    • Arguably it may not be the programming of the Day Of Wonders that causes it to be that real, but actually the power of the Antichrist working within the program itself.
  • The movie adaptation of Thor presents the Asgardians as a race whose technology seems magical, or perhaps they have advanced beyond the point where there is a distinction. Also, old Norse legends such as Yggdrasil and the Nine Realms have a cosmological explanation.
    • At one point, Dr. Jane Foster even cited Clarke's law; "Well magic's just science that we don't understand yet; Arthur C. Clarke."
  • Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes tries to pass himself of as a sorcerer protected by Black Magic; Holmes deduces an explanation for every trick he performs derived from a combination of science and theatrics.
    • Holmes also notes however, that Blackwood has indeed actually performed the dark rituals exactly as they were described in religious texts, so perhaps Blackwood had better hope that none of it was real after all (otherwise, he will have quite a price to pay when the bill on his eternal soul comes due)
  • In John Carter, the ancient, immortal Therns wield what a modern man might call weaponized nanotechnology (powered by the "Ninth Ray"). It takes the form of an easily-concealed mass of lichen-like vines that grow and adapt to the user's needs: making beam weapons of various sizes, Absurdly Sharp Blades, and even crawling on the skin of someone else to either kill them by crushing the skull or restrain their movement by implanting themselves into the skin. Of course, since this is the very early 20th century, the stuff looks more like magic than anything.
    • Other powers include a means of Voluntary Shapeshifting, long-range communication and travel and a medallion that can transport people between planets via Astral Projection (that is, leaving the original body sleeping where you left it, and sending a copy with your mind in it to the destination).


  • In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, human colonists stranded on a metal-poor alient planet eventually develop a new science based on Psychic Powers and "starstones". The resulting "matrix technology" can do things believed to be impossible by the conventional technology used by other human worlds.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who... Won, a Role-Playing Game-obsessed space ship crew find a planet where magic seems to actually work. Then they discover there's a powerful weather control system built into the planet that can be operated through gestures and "magic words", which the inhabitants have just about broken through their overuse of it as a weapon and source of cheap magic tricks.
  • John Ringo's Council Wars series is based around this trope. Unlike most such examples, rather than being set After the End when people have long since forgotten the origin of their "magic", it's set during the breakdown of a Sufficiently Advanced Aliens society into relative barbarism.
    • Also in his Posleen War series the Indowy (and a very few human) Sohon adepts.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Homecoming Series series, the deity of a human colony world, the Oversoul, is in fact an AI in orbit around the planet, which provides certain favored characters with "magical" devices to get them to return to Earth because the society it created is breaking down. Humanity is developing resistance to the Oversoul's mormonism-inducing mind-control, leading to an outbreak of atheism and violence.
  • Subverted in the Harry Turtledove short story Death in Vesuna. A hot-headed time traveler shoots a Roman book dealer in order to get a book that doesn't exist in his time. The locals, who only heard the gunshot and found the corpse, assume it was "Zeus's thunderbolt", but the two men investigating the case use logic and intelligence to figure out exactly what happened.
    • Also subverted in The Guns of the South, the novel that made Turtledove famous. Time travelers go back to change The American Civil War in the Confederacy's favor by arming them with AK-47s. The guns are never treated as magic, simply as weapons of amazing quality whose appearance makes no sense (as a Confederate gunsmith points out, the guns simply appear out of nowhere, without any precursor models, which would still be vastly superior to anything currently available). Within a couple of years, the Confederates are producing their own copies (and the last chapter says that the United States has developed similar weapons). The same thing is true of the MREs and instant coffee the time travelers had. Dessicated foods are nothing new, just the idea of preparing coffee and whole meals that way.
  • Averted in the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. Incompetent wizard Rincewind has sometimes wondered whether there might be something different from magic, something better. The Agatean tourist Twoflower shows up with a camera and hires Rincewind as his guide/interpreter. When Rincewind first sees it, he surmises that it could possibly work by focusing light onto paper treated with extracts from photosensitive plants, thus creating the image. Simplifying for the locals Twoflower wants to photograph, he says, "He has a demon in the box that draws pictures. Do as the madman says and he will give you gold." He's rather disappointed to discover that the box indeed contains a demon that draws pictures.
  • Taken literally in The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe—all magic comes from Lost Technology.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Last Question turns out to be Divinity From Technology.
  • And Isaac Asimov's first Foundation novel, the Anacreonian civilisation is basically taken over by Salvor Hardin's new religion of science.
    • Interestingly, this wasn't the original intention of the Foundation citizens (though it was of course part of Seldon's 1,000 year plan). They simply created the religion as the most convenient way to spread atomic technology to the Four Kingdoms who have regressed into barbarism (The Galactic Spirit Did It). It's only later that they realized that they now hold power over the people of these kingdoms, if not the rulers.
  • H.P. Lovecraft's earlier Cthulhu Mythos stories were full of gods and magic. His later stories leaned more toward extraterrestrials and suggested that all magic is really super-advanced science.
    • He never went that far, actually. The aliens (like, say, the Mi-Go swarms) had both super-advanced technology and magical knowledge, which may have been given to them by one of the more powerful Eldritch Abomination.
      • In Lovecraft's world "magic" is super-advanced knowledge of the laws of the universe that humanity has only scratched the surface of. For example, in The Dreams in the Witch-House it's shown that the witches in fact use Sufficiently Advanced Mathematics to teleport immense distances and grant themselves near-immortality, but they still do it in the context of a religion, or possibly it just looks like a religion to the outsiders - the pathways beyond the three-dimensional space are guarded by Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, and he expects annual human sacrifices in return for their use - possibly simply as a sign of cutting themselves off the rest of the humanity than any practical purpose, though this isn't elaborated.
  • Perhaps the most plausible example of this trope appears in the Dream Park novels, Niven & Barnes' series about live-action adventure gaming at a future amusement park full of high-tech illusions. Sophisticated simulations allow fantasy combats to be played out in reality, holographic or robotic monsters battling role-players with computer-controlled magic staves and hit-point-tracking electric dog tags.
  • Black Trillium eventually reveals that the Big Bad is using advanced technology from a lost civilization and calling it magic.
  • In one story, Lord Peter Wimsey convinces the inhabitants of a small Basque village that he is a magician by using 1920s technology. ("Jesu Maria, the wizard could make music come out of a box!") It seems that this is a village so backwards and isolated that not only has not heard about the radio by the late '20s, but neither the gramophone or even music boxes.
  • Sharon Shinn's Samaria (Archangel) series. In Archangel, the only hint we get that the angels and oracles aren't magical is a note before the story begins and the fact that the oracles use "interfaces" and apparent computer screens. In Jovah's Angel, the characters finally figure it out.
  • Clarke's quotation is spouted almost verbatim by Ted in Michael Chrichton's Sphere.
  • Sherri S. Tepper's The Waters Rising in which all the magic stem from Lost Technology or gentically engineered Psychic Powers. Likewise various "magical" creatures are also either products of genetic engineering or cyborgs.
  • Theodore Sturgeon depicted a technology known as Logros in the novel 'Venus Plus X'. Logros was employed to do such effects as anti-gravition, force fields, cold fusion, and many more diverse and fantastic things. But the principles behind logros are advanced beyond any ability to describe, and all the machinery is invisible or not recognizable as technology to the uninitiated. However, we are assured that logros is quite simple to build and use, as with any sufficiently advanced technology. For example, the underlying theory behind an electric motor is quite advanced, but the actual product is a series of simple coils of wires and magnets. Sturgeon goes on to make the statement 'Someday, we will be able to do absolutely anything with absolutely nothing, but the science behind it will be too complicated for any human or computer to comprehend.'
  • The majority of stories where starship-era characters somehow meet medieval-era characters have the medieval-era people believe that the technology is actually magic, at least initially. Generally, it's only the trusted allies who are told that it's actually advanced technology, the bad guys are left believing it's magic, often with truly hilarious reactions. Sometimes has unfortunate consequences if there's a local Inquisition. David Weber is fond of this.
    • In Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramaraye series the main protagonist lands on a medieval world and because of his modern technology, he's taken for a magician (understandably, since magic - technically, Psychic Powers - is commonplace on the planet). It is eventually revealed that they're right.
  • Thieves' World has Kemren the "Purple Mage" who channeled magic power from waterwheels. This setup has its own drawbacks, though.
  • Trapped by James Alan Gardner explains that magic on earth is actually alien nanotech that has displaced about 1/3rd of all bacteria in the entire ecosystem, including all the bacteria inside animals, and humans too. It can be controlled by people that had nanotech attach itself to the right spot in their brains while still in the womb. Where and how it attached determined the types of powers, and how they were activated. One character explained the feeling of performing magic being like having a million happy puppies eager to do his bidding.
  • This is the central conceit of The Steerswoman. The characters all use terminology that seems straight out of a Standard Fantasy Setting, but their world is actually much more science-fictional (the "spell"-casting "wizards" are actually people who've preserved more technology than everyone else, the "gnomes" are chimpanzees, the "demons" are Starfish Aliens, and so on).
  • Elizabeth Bear's Dust and Chill. Angels are A Is given "bodies" by means of forcefields, magic swords are products of nanotech and the "magic" of the various sorcerers, priests and necromancers are varying combinations of cyber and biotech.
  • Mike Resnick's The Buntline Special has Thomas Edison and Ned Buntline working under the auspices of the US government to find a way to circumvent Native American magic.
  • David Weber's Safehold series takes place on a planet where the original colonists were brainwashed to believe the founders were archangels, backed up of course by high tech and kept in a mideval state of technology by orbiting satelites that wipe out any exampe of technology that isn't muscle, wind or water powered.

Live-Action TV

  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episodes "Who Mourns For Adonais?", "Catspaw" and "The Squire Of Gothos". This is also vaguely implied to be what powers Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Prophets from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Who Watches The Watchers" uses this explanation to convince the people that they are not gods, by pointedly asking how they themselves might be regarded by ancient ancestors who had never seen a bow and arrow strike down an animal at range.
  • Babylon 5 and Crusade had the Technomages, who used advanced technology to create the effect of magic (for example, holographic dragons). In a scene from the Crusade episode "The Long Road", two Technomages nonchalantly watch a pack of flying demons attacking people in a room, and discuss details of how they were constructed.
    • Interestingly, they're entirely forthright that they're using techonology; their belief seems to be that magic is at base defined as functional artwork, artistry, or artistic intent. The trappings are an attempt to reconnect themselves and others with the inherent wonders of the universe and of manipulating these through applied will. Even more interesting is that other people actually buy into it as well. For example, after a Technomage basically infects Londo's computer with a virus, Londo himself refers to it as being "possessed by a holo-demon".
    • It is, nevertheless, important for them to use as much theatrics as possible in order to have the desired effect on their targets. This is described in much more detail in The Passing of the Techno-Mages novel trilogy, including how exactly they do what they do, which was never revealed on the show (the novels are actually based on JMS's own drafts). Each mage has his or her own way of casting spells. Galen's, for example, is one of the least impressive from an outside point of view (he does it all in his head). Others, like Isabelle, use certain motions (weaving, in her case) or sounds (in case of Elizar).
  • On Stargate SG-1, Not Quite Sufficiently Advanced Aliens the Goa'uld use technology that their subjects believe is magic, but which the main characters realize is just machines. The Ori combine Sufficiently Advanced technology with strong Psychic Powers due to their evolved state.
  • The "abilities" (i.e. superpowers) demonstrated by The 4400 are a result of the existence of an extra neurotransmitter, Promicin, in their brains due to biological modification by people from the future.
  • That how the existence of magic is justified in Wizards of Waverly Place—it's produced by a dragon-powered thermoelectric plant and transfered through circuit breakers in each wizarding household.
  • It remains to be seen whether the powers in Heroes will turn out to be an example of this, but the Techno Babble descriptions of the mutations that resulted in them are definitely in the spirit of Magic From Technology.
  • Many episodes of Doctor Who involve discovering the Magic From Technology truth behind apparently supernatural menaces. (However, the truth tends to be scarier than what things looked to be at the beginning). The Doctor's race, the Time Lords, also have this going on in a BIG way. Many of their more notable pieces of technology, especially anything created by Rassilon or Omega, are magical items in all discernible respects and some are capable of potentially universal effects.
  • Smallville has Kryptonian crystal technology that can create werewolves, hold spirits, possess bodies, bestow superpowers on mere mortals, and enhance real magic, not to mention all the usual applications of an uber-advanced race, like Time Travel and teleportation.
  • Quatermass and the Pit explained traditional black magic and the occult as being garbled racial memories of Ancient Astronauts meddling with the brains and cognitive abilities of primitive hominids.

Tabletop Games

  • Certain of the more esotetic tech devices in Warhammer 40,000 start touching onto this trope; especially when you start seeing tech devices that interact with Psychic Powers and things having to do with the warp in general. Certain xenotech devices, like Halo Devices from Dark Heresy, definitively qualify. Despite its religious view of technology, however, most imperial tech does not come anywhere near this level.
    • This is actually state policy. Common folk do not understand that their machines are exactly that and refer to "machine spirits" which need to be "appeased" by "rituals" to keep them working, healthy, and benevolent. Lesser "Tech Priests" usually buy the propaganda, too. Of course, the "religious" rituals tend to be good, old-fashioned maintenance with a few hymns thrown in. Based on the author (and world), this cargo cult madness might be reserved for very complex machines or might result in folks sing hymns to their noble, fallen light bulbs when they burn out. Whatever the case may be, the vast, vast majority of humans truly believe technology is magic.
  • Lampshaded in d20 Past, a supplement for D20 Modern. The "Pulp Heroes" campaign setting includes a "Scientist" advanced class. One of the class features is that they make scientific discoveries, which they can then use to create technological devices by spending XP. The effects of these devices are taken from the spell lists for the "Urban Arcana" setting.

Video Games

  • In the Phantasy Star games, there is both magic and Magic From Technology, at least in the Phantasy Star universe's history. Early on in the story however, magic ( the much more powerful of the two ), is stated to have 'died', after which it was only usable by the spiritual reincarnation of an ancient and unbelievably powerful mage. TECHNICs, however, as the Magic From Technology became known, are initially just described as 'not magic' despite having similar, if less powerful effects to magic. In the later parts of the series (Phantasy Star Online and especially Phantasy Star Universe), TECHNICs are explained as manipulations of photonic energy by a TECHNIC user's mind, made possible by psychic amplifier technology and photon reactors built into their weapons.
  • The MMO Tabula Rasa is based around this - the PCs are humans with the capability to use ancient alien technology that writes information directly into their minds and lets them do seemingly magical things like shoot lightning.
  • The very definition of Anarchy Online. About twenty-four thousand years in the future, nanotechnology allows people to do such improbable things as throw lightning and fire, create huge, floating eyeballs that can throw lightning and fire, and survive death. How does nanotechnology allow people to survive death? No one knows: it doesn't work on any other planet.
  • Magic, or rather Ether, in Xenosaga is almost all derived from technology. For Ziggy, it's all functions of his cybernetic body. For KOS-MOS, an android, it's technology built into her or technology she can transport or control remotely. For the rest of the cast, it's nanomachines they control remotely to create various effects. The exception is chaos, whose magic turns out to actually be magic as we would define it.
  • The Ar tonelico games use this sort of magic. The source of magic in the game world is a series of towers made from a Lost Technology. The spell casters in the game are either the administrators of the tower or the female descendants of same. They cast spells by singing songs in a special language that function analogously to computer programs to interface with the towers and summon forth magic.
  • The Wild ARMs series uses this as well. Though studied in academies like Functional Magic magic on Filgaia is actually a result of nanomachines left in the atmosphere by the precursor race who were abandoning a swiftly dying planet, not realizing that by decreasing the population like they did they saved it anyway and the world survives. Any supernatural beings or monsters arise from people or animals being altered by nanomachines. In later installments of the series magic is channeled from technological spirits called Guardians using the same principles as above.
  • While the entire Nanomachine technology system from the Metal Gear Solid series arguably fits here, an even better example is Fortune from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. For most of the game, she is said to have been Born Lucky. At the end, it turns out that she has been carrying around some kind of electromagnetic device that somehow deflects bullets, stops explosions, and prevents an unstable weapon from destroying itself.
    • Subverted in that, after the device is destroyed, she still manages to deflect several projectiles fired at her.
    • Otacon also invokes Clarke's Third Law as an explanation of Vamp's wall climbing skills in MGS4.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni so long as you can imagine someone inventing something, it's magic by Devil's Proof
  • In Dead Space, the Stasis and Kinesis modules are technological devices that allow the protagonist to slow down time and move heavy objects from a distance.
    • Arguably the Markers also count.
  • The Coutl, from Rise of Legends, since their "gods" are Ancient Astronauts, are able to wield alien technology as if it where magic.
  • BioShock (series)'s plasmid abilities are rife with this trope. Examples include the ability to shoot Fire, Ice, Lightning, or killer bees from your hands.
  • Due to Character Customization, City of Heroes allows you to become a magic-based hero who wields a Battle Rifle, Dual Pistols, or Devices, which include a targeting drone, smoke bombs, mines, and time bombs. Conversely, you can be a tech-based hero who can call on the power of the netherworld or summon demons straight from hell.
  • Eco from Jak and Daxter works like this. Not only can it be applied to futuristic guns, but it can allow users to fire singularity blasts, slow time, conjure green crystals, erect shields, or do any number of other things.
  • AMP (Standing for Anti Matter Principle) technology from Final Fantasy XIII used by the Sanctum Government was modeled after natural l'cie magic and comes in handy devices called Manadrives.
  • Touhou PC-98 characters Rika, Rikako Asakura, Chiyuri Kitashirakawa, and Yumemi Okazaki have all used science to such degrees that spirits and fairies emerge. In the Windows series, the kappa frequently borrow and improve upon technology from outside Gensokyo, but this might be more Magitek.
  • Mass Effect: Biotics are magic like abilities that some people develop, if they are fortunate enough to survive in-utero exposure to a Minovsky Particle, given brain surgery, and attach a cybernetic "amp" into the back of their neck. A biotic needs a lot more calories than normal due to Conservation Of Energy, and their powers are restricted to affecting mass, and creating singularities.
    • Most of the "Tech powers" in these games are supposed to be grenades, but in the second game, the lightning-like Overload ability hits enemies instantaneously, while the Incinerate ability is a fireball in all but name.
  • In the Guilty Gear games' backstory, a limitless energy source was eventually discovered and the scientists gave it the most appropriate name they could: magic.
  • NOVA in Kirby Super Star, the wish-granting comet god, is made of random mechanical parts.
  • In most of the main Shin Megami Tensei series there are technological devices known as COMPs, computers that perform all the magical rituals needed for demon summoning.

Web Comics

  • The vast majority of technology seen in Heliothaumic is derived from centuries of study of the titular Heliothaumic energy that is derived from the sun, either using solar panels or thaumite.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, a binding spell used to negate the powers of a Body Snatcher turns out to be a kind of computer program. However, the computer itself contains magic parts.
    • Magic itself in Gunnerkrigg Court is referred to as the "etheric sciences", sometimes (Kat is confounded to discover that her parents believe in magic, and moreso to find out that it's a known quantity not dissimilar to her beloved robots and computers).
  • Similar to Babylon 5, The Cyantian Chronicles has Technomages, to the point that Marcus named his familiar Galen.
  • The page image comes from a What If? sort of side story from Girl Genius, which stars Agatha in a Cinderella-like role. She fixes her fairy godmother's wand. Turns out there were toad eyes in the newt eye grid. Go fig.

Zeetha the fairy godmother: It talks?
Agathella: I also redrew your pentagrams.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Every episode of the original Scooby Doo series. Later Spin-Offs introduced actual ghosts and magic; the OAVs Zombie Island and, particularly, Witch's Ghost were the pinnacle of the latter.
  • Parodied in one of The Simpsons's future What If episodes. "We can do anything now that scientists have invented magic!"
  • In The Secret of NIMH, no attempt is made to explain how a series of injections (in the novel, mostly steroids) have given Nicodemus Glowing Eyes of Doom and telekinesis. However, since it's awesome and thematic, it doesn't have to.
    • Nobody said the injections did it. Maybe he was just... special? By the way, the fan fiction "The Secret of the Stone" kind of explains that.
  • The Powerpuff Girls were made from Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice.
  • Used and averted in Young Justice, where Kid Flash attempts a technobabble explanation to Doctor Fate's genuine mystical powers. Klarion the witch boy, another magic user, observes this and mocks his current minion Abra Kadabra with the fact that Flash has identified the precise method that he uses to pretend to have magical powers.

Real Life

  • Practioners of Chaos Magic and Technoshamanism believe that this is essentially true.
  • Think for a moment (in the most generalized way) about what your computer really is. It is an absurdly complex machine that does nothing but add ones and zeroes together really fast. Despite this, layer upon layer of abstractions built on top of this most basic of arithmetic allows you to not only write with light but create images, store sound and produce seemingly intelligent, interactive responses using nanometer-scale metal circuits and plain old electricity. 50 to 80 years ago this would be considered such abuse of basic science that only the softest of Sci-Fi writers—or those writing outright Science Fantasy—would have dared to touch it. For some, thinking about it too deeply can destroy your Willing Suspension of Disbelief in real life. Adding the global Internet into the picture just adds another layer of Mind Screw to the whole thing.
  • There have been a few cases where human beings with less advanced technology encountered objects from societies with more advanced technology and came to the conclusion, "Magic." In some cases, the less technological society has converted religions since clearly the other society's god(s) were more capable of giving their "shamans" power. Cargo cults are one such case. These members generally believe benevolent spirits/ancestors/gods made the manufactured goods and sent them to the more technological society whether due to the rituals and temples (shipping manifests, radio calls, piers, airstrips, etc) of the other group or because these rituals tricked the benevolent spirits to sending the goods. The cult mirrors the actions taken by their more technologically endowed neighbors in order to get the goods themselves. The locals had no experience of modern industry and tended not to believe the explanations given to them.
    • Likewise this happens with missionaries. If a group had no modern theory of disease and sees many children die to a disease, they'll likely conclude evil spirits or something supernatural is responsible. If missionaries, who generally mean well whether you agree or not with them, hand out little tablets that make the disease go away, the locals most likely conclusion is, "Jesus' magic is -way- stronger than whatever we've been doing before." One hopes they are later educated.
  • We now have access to a lot of "magic devices" from fairy tales:
    • A magic mirror that can show who is the fairest in the land. (Google image search)
    • A magic mirror that allows instant communication all over the world. (Cell Phones)
    • A mop that cleans the house by itself. (Roomba vacuum cleaners.)
    • A carriage that drives itself. (Computer-controlled cars, that are still in experimental stage.)
    • How about magic fire? It can be lit and extinguished at will, and able to burn brighter than any ordinary fire (light bulbs). Even old technology can seem like magic to those who came before.
  • A history channel documentary about scientific prophecies of doom included men discussing the impending disasters such as total economic collapse and other such global tragedies. One commented that the current age of man is entirely dependent on oil products that are little more than magic in what it has allowed us to achieve, take away the oil however and...
  • Though most are still in the early prototype stage, a number of devices like Epoc's Emotiv controller use EEG technology to read your brainwaves and transmit commands wirelessly to a nearby computer. Depending on how that computer is programmed—and what hardware is attached to it—you can effect changes on the world around you ranging from changing the color of an object on-screen to driving a car, just by thinking about it.