Minor Thoughts from me to you

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

I didn't intend to read this. I really didn't. But, well, now I can't put it down.

"Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" is a fanfiction retelling of Harry Potter. It takes place in an alternate universe in which Harry Potter was raised by loving foster parents who instilled in him a great love for science, rationality, and continuously questioning everything around him. He attends Hogwarts, but attends determined to figure out what in the name of Isaac Newton is going on and how, exactly, magic fits into a rational, scientific universe. The results are rather hilarious.

I discovered the story while reading Eric S. Raymond and loved his capsule description.

Read it and laugh. Read it and learn. Eliezer re-invents Harry Potter as a skeptic genius who sets himself the task of figuring out just how all this “magic” stuff works. The science is real – it really would be a lot harder to explain transformation from a human into a cat than mere levitation, for example. When Harry, confronted with a magical time-travel device, is immediately terrified that he might be holding an antimatter bomb, this is actually a more justified fear than many readers may understand.

But the characters are not slighted. Eliezer is very good at giving them responses to the rather altered and powered-up Harry that are consistent with canon. The development of Minerva McGonagall is particularly fine.

Strongly recommended. And if you manage to learn about sources of cognitive bias like the Planning Fallacy and the Bystander Effect (among others) while your sides are hurting with laughter, so much the better.

I read the first few chapters and wasn't really getting into it. I put it down. Then I picked it up and read a few more pages. Now I'm hooked and I can't put it down.

Go, read it. Don't make me be the only one hooked on this. Grab it as an ePub or Mobi file for your favorite eReader. (Be aware that the story is still on-going and you'll need to periodically re-download the file to get the latest updates.)

This entry was tagged. Ebooks Humor