“The inscription over the entrance reads Scientia est Potentia, so the institution was founded on the principle that ‘Knowledge is Power’ But it is vital to realize that here, at this place, the traditional human paths to knowledge, to become political beings or financiers, are incomplete. Science itself only offers us one way of looking at our problems. One needs to add the suspension of disbelief in order to gain access to the magic found in life. You don’t learn ordinary things here. The College of Magical Knowledge is just the opposite of the kind of institution where the Fellowes wear black and are very serious. It is a place where the professors wear as many colors as possible, plus two! I’d guess that nearly every character I’ve painted went to school here. Certainly a few haven’t, but you can see here Bird Hunters, the Fishwalker, a butterfly fisherman and the Pear Balancer. For as stately as the building may appear, the College is far bigger on the inside than out. The Fellowes have an incredible library of stuff at which we can only guess. But two of the most prized possessions are the Book of Answers and the Book of Questions. I’ve heard that most find learning how to ask the right questions will get them farther than simply having all the answers, which isn’t necessarily the path many institutions take.”
– James C. Christensen
The College of Magical Knowledge is the most recognized and adored setting in Christensen’s “land a little left of reality” and was featured in his best-selling book The Voyage of the Basset.
Christensen was born in 1942 and raised in Culver City, California. He studied painting at Brigham Young University and, for a while, the University of California at Los Angeles before finishing his formal education at BYU. Since then, he has had one-man shows in the West and the Northeast, and his work is prized in collections throughout theU.S. andEurope. The artist has been commissioned by both Time/Life Books and Omni to create illustrations for their publications and his work has appeared in the prestigious American Illustration Annual and Japan’s Outstanding American Illustrators. Christensen has also won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention can bestow, as well as multiple Chelsey Awards form the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists