Magic is barely understood science in Tom Miller's The Philosopher's Flight. A United States engaged in the early days of World War II both eagerly adopts Philosophy as everyday technology, while rejecting the few able to use this magic in as the United States always does.
This novel starts out at a furious pace and held me captive til I'd finished it. I was disappointed when I saw that Goodreads had mistakenly listed a sequel as being available now. Miller creates a fascinating vision of a late '30s United States still suffering from a violent and abrupt end to the Civil War. Much like the submarine, the torpedo, the repeating rifle and smokeless firepowder, in Miller's universe the Civil War also gave birth to magic as a recognized science. The fact magic was used to put the South down, and is more effectively practiced by women, gave racists a whole new thing to hate.
Miller's world building is wonderful. The politics, social attitudes and behaviors of society are amazing to watch develop. I really enjoyed the characters the author had time to flesh out and grow a bit, the pace of the novel and vast amounts of history and activity made that hard for all of the more minor characters. The characters you do get to know are fantastic.
There is a lot of similarity between colleges of magic in fantasy literature of the 21st century, however I found Miller's take on the post-depression state of magic in the United States and globally to be excellent. This is sadly spot-on to how I think the world handles new things.
Read it cover to cover. Alaska Airlines are criminals for not serving tea.
The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller via Amazon
For your summer reading pleasure, Bill Gates recommends: • “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson • “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler • “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders • “Origin Story: A Big History of Everything” by David Christian • “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund
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