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Technology in fantasy

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Old 08-16-2016, 05:18 PM
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Default Technology in fantasy


I'm planning a fantasy series, and one of the questions I've been grappling with is how technologically advanced I want them to be. It takes place in a fantasy world (not our own) and it has magic. And one thing I'm wondering is if readers won't find it jarring or odd if, for instance, some modern technologies of our world were in this world (and also whether the possible fusion of fantasy and sci-fi won't be confusing or off-putting, genre-wise). (For an example, I was originally thinking of just having newspapers to report on the things that happen, but I realized that having television, or something basically akin to television, would be infinitely more effective and allow certain aspects of the plot to work more the way I want them to).

I'm mostly just asking this to assuage myself, but any insight on the matter would be appreciated. Perhaps some examples of fantasy stories (but not urban fantasy, of course; original worlds) that have technological similarities to our modern world and/or some degree of sci-fi influence?

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Old 08-18-2016, 06:39 AM
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I think it can work but has to be believable. If one side creates too powerful gadgets, the other is useless. You need a balance.
You could take a look at the Shadowrun role-playing game and its novels. It is a near future setting with high tech, cyborgs and a comeback of magic and magical creatures. They tried to balance it, for example, Magic users can't have too many tech implants, otherwise, they would lose their magic powers.
The novels read believable and were a nice combination of tech and magic.

In another example, sorry I forgot the title, it was a fantasy setting. They had magic and were pretty much middle age technology. The twist came when the villain found some "magical" ancient weapons in catacombs, which as a reader you identify as bazookas, the catacombs were some bunkers. But if a remember it right, it was a massive power shift; too powerful.

So it might work, but I would balance it and make it logically. And make it clear in the book description. I doubt I would like a High Fantasy Book and one of the elves suddenly gets their smartphone out and makes a selfie with some monsters in the background :-)
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Old 11-07-2016, 03:51 AM
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this may be quite interesting
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:30 AM
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As a writer, maybe as the reader, I would want to know whether magic and technology were developed and progressed side-by-side or if one was created before the other. If one is newer than the other it may be seen as progress by some people or as something scary and untrustworthy.
I think what you need to decide is do you want the influence technology and magic can have on anyone's life to be the same or one to be stronger. If a person is shot in the chest by an arrow or bullet can they have surgery to save their life, use a potion or spell, both or neither. Also consider that things can have equal levels of influence but in different manners.
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Old 11-13-2016, 03:04 PM
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Hi Jinjonator. Your post follow mine for reference.

Interesting post. You wondered: "whether the possible fusion of fantasy and sci-fi won't be confusing or off-putting, genre-wise..."

I like to think of writers who don't follow the recipes of genres as 'genre busters'. I always get excited whenever I run across one because it will present something new. I try to be a genre buster with my work.

I think there are lots of readers like me so you shouldn't worry about this until you get to the rewrite stages. Then that's the time to worry if you merged the genres so it reads nicely. Why not write it then fix it in rewrites if it's a problem (which it probably isn't.)

Genre's are ideas developed by critics, agents, reviewers, and bookstores. That way they can group like stories together. I believe writers should ignore this.

Good luck with your project. Hell, you might even come up with a new genre. wrc

Originally Posted by Jinjonator View Post
I'm planning a fantasy series, and one of the questions I've been grappling with is how technologically advanced I want them to be. It takes place in a fantasy world (not our own) and it has magic. And one thing I'm wondering is if readers won't find it jarring or odd if, for instance, some modern technologies of our world were in this world (and also whether the possible fusion of fantasy and sci-fi won't be confusing or off-putting, genre-wise). (For an example, I was originally thinking of just having newspapers to report on the things that happen, but I realized that having television, or something basically akin to television, would be infinitely more effective and allow certain aspects of the plot to work more the way I want them to).

I'm mostly just asking this to assuage myself, but any insight on the matter would be appreciated. Perhaps some examples of fantasy stories (but not urban fantasy, of course; original worlds) that have technological similarities to our modern world and/or some degree of sci-fi influence?
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Last edited by wrc; 11-13-2016 at 03:08 PM..
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