Young witch Morgana loves robots and longs to attend robotics school in the city. But when she finally finds a way, she learns of a troubling secret hiding beneath its gleaming surface: a secret that threatens the balance of civilisation. Caught between two worlds, only Morgana has the power to find a solution ...
Reviewed by Roy James
Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age is about Morgana who lives in a community of witches and magical folk far away from the city. But as a young witch, lacks little magical ability. When she visits the city with her father, she’s captivated by a world of flying cars and buildings that reach high into the sky. Feeling more at home in this world than her own, she insists on going to school in the city to learn about these technological marvels.
However, this throws up new problems for Morgana. Those in the city are distrustful of the magical community and vice versa. Now, both those at home and school resent her, apart from a robotic cat and new friend, Jonathan.
Their passion for robotics leads them to discover something which puts everyone in danger. It’s only when technology and magic come together that feuds are resolved and new enemies defeated.
A futuristic setting isn’t one you’d expect from a story with witches and warlocks, but it works brilliantly. However, what makes this a true work of science fiction is the questions it asks and observations it makes. These are some of my favourites:
Morgana sees technology with fresh eyes and is in awe of it, unlike those in the city who take it for granted. How many of us take the gadgets in our hands for granted or the sheer amount of data transmitted as if by magic from one place to another. Every generation grows up with new technology that’s normal to them but incredible to the generation before. It begs the question of what technologies will make our children gasp?
Sci-fi likes to also delve into philosophy. Morgana asks, “Can a robot make another that is better than itself?” a fascinating discussion point. Will a human ever be able to? Are we, as a product of nature, more advanced than any technology can ever be because humans are the ones creating it? Such questioning is the energy that drives education.
Rooted in the legacy of greats such as Isaac Asimov, robotics is paramount to the story. And just like Asimov, this world places rules on building of them. Also like Asimov, Bond explores potential problems. However, his book isn’t a warning of technology, it’s a celebration of it. Although this comes with the caveat that it’s one we have to work to understand and respect.
You can read this book as a brilliant story of magic and robots (after all, what more do you need than that?), but if you want to delve deeper, and I would suggest that you do, this book can open up a rabbit hole of discussion and optimism about the world. And isn’t that the real magic of stories?