from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any hypothetical but unobtainable material with desirable engineering properties.


hand waving and the chemical element suffix -ium. (Wiktionary)


  • I'm the first to admit to the liberal use of handwavium in my stories, but to me magic is the worst kind of handwavium - oh, it's magic, as if that explains everything.

    Recommend a fantasy novel to someone who doesn't like fantasy.

  • I totally agree that language and language change is handled through handwavium (the invisible massless isotope, at that) more than it ought to be, in SF/F writing.

    Howard Hughes and the Wretched Crack of Noon

  • I was talking to a friend about the TV show Eureka (which I really like, by the way, especially in the first part of S3), and I was saying that they mostly stayed on the side of "good handwavium" for me rather than "bad fake science."

    Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway

  • Anybody else have some ideas about writing good handwavium vs. bad fake science?

    Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway

  • Maskull travels via handwavium to a distant planet.

    Philosophy Swirling Around an Exotic Sun

  • I recently reread Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed, which is more-or-less science fiction, but includes some weird stuff about cross-breeding between species from different planets lots of handwavium as well as ruins of a fallen civilization.

    Fantastic Settings

  • The claim that rural areas won't be destructively taxed is handwavium at its best.

    "George Bush called this the ownership society, but what he really meant was 'you're-on-your-own' society."

  • The fictional material handwavium similar to unobtainium is sometimes referred to in situations where the solution requires access to a substance that is probably possible to create, but only by means which would require a great deal of research, development, time, effort, and/or money, none of which the speaker intends to explain at the moment.

    Wordly Wise

  • John Scalzi pointed out this clip, which provides the most beautiful example of speaking handwavium with confidence.


  • Then I want you to find the most convoluted handwavium in your own fiction and see how real you can make it sound.


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