In the mid 00's I read a novel where starships FTL drives were powered by magic. The better the magician on board, the lower they could go, the faster the FTL drive.

The crew reminded me of a typical 'Firefly' type of characters and, as far as I can recall, were to carry out a heist possibly at a zoo. That zoo bit may well be wrong.

My own google-fu came up with the following, but none are what I'm looking for:

  • The Quantum Magician - Derek Künsken
  • Aetherbound - E.K. Johnston
  • Lieutenant Spacemage - Timothy Ellis

Any help would be appreciated :-)

  • 4
    Black Ocean series by J.S. Morin?
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Apr 8 at 9:09
  • What does "The better the magician on board, the lower they could go, the faster the FTL drive" mean?
    – RonJohn
    Commented Apr 8 at 19:46
  • RonJohn, from my memory that was how they described the relative velocities of FTL flight. For example, and the numbers here are purely speculative, a moderately able wizard could take the ship a few levels down to 4 times c, a better wizard further down to 9c, and a superb wizard to 20c.
    – Gunney
    Commented Apr 12 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


Thank-you Paulie_D. Spot On - it was the Black Ocean series by J.S. Morin

In the year 2254 gravity was officially declared to be magic; the scientists gave up trying to figure it out and handed it over to the wizards. Without the inherent respect for the laws of physics, the wizards poked and prodded at gravity, poring over all that science knew about the attraction of one object to the next, and dismissing it as poppycock. They discovered ways around the tired old limits, and gave birth to the first true starships. Some enlightened journalist, covering the maiden voyage of the Impossible, noted that the ship was shaped like a hand giving the middle finger to science.

The dreams of children came alive, and humanity expanded into the cosmos, unlocking the secrets of the galaxy.

Who could have foreseen that three hundred years later, a down-on-his-luck captain would be answering distress calls, hoping to arrive in time to get first pick of the salvage…

  • reads like the wizards performed science...
    – ths
    Commented Apr 8 at 11:53
  • 6
    @ths Any sufficiently analysed magic is indistinguishable from science
    – Separatrix
    Commented Apr 8 at 13:30
  • 2
    Any magic or science that can be distinguished from the other is insufficiently advanced.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 8 at 21:13

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