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Let's talk fantasy technology

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding Let's talk fantasy technology

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  • #47963
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    So I’ve been reading this book, The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, and got thinking about fantasy technology. For those of us with worlds that go beyond one book, years or even centuries might pass. Cultures don’t stay the same, neither does technology.

    Even in our current worlds, new things are likely being invented, even if it’s ‘off-screen’ so to say.

    What sort of fantasy technology have you read about/written? What would you like to see? And where would a fantasy world turn the corner into steampunk or even futuristic as the technology evolves? Or can it stay fantasy and high technology both?


    @kate
    , @daeus-lamb, @Karthmin

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #48017
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    @hope-ann *Screams because Brandon Sanderson*

    I want to say that any technology in a fantasy book automatically makes it a mixed or sub-genre of fantasy (like Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth), but Alloy of Law defies that. I wouldn’t say it is a steampunk even though it is in that time period. The story focuses on the magic more than the technology of the time.

    I guess I would say it becomes a steampunk when the technology is steam powered, or it is set in the historical time period, and futuristic when it goes beyond the current technology.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #48034
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @hope-ann Yes! The good stuff. I’ve got a trilogy that currently starts towards the more medieval-like time(I mean, it is fantasy after all. And I can’t bear to part with my rangers and horses and swords.) but the story itself starts waaaaaayyy back in the beginning of the ages.(Yes, allegory, I know. When doesn’t allegory start at the beginning of time? Hmm… I’ll have to try playing on that sometime.) Of course, when the people started to actually count the ages. Before then, no one but the wood-sprites really bother to keep record. And even that’s sketchy, knowing sprites.

    But since the story starts a long time ago, the technology has changed drastically. (I mean, really. Can you expect the world to be continually stuck in a medieval period? That just doesn’t happen. Sorry, dreamers.) Back when this story originally starts, my villain is the MC. I’ll have to write a prequel about it some day. But the world is barely even beginning to kick off, so naturally there’s not to many people. Good ol’ Mr. Mcvillain decides to try and conquer it with an army of Lucrads(Semi-nomadic ancient tribes of barbaric lizard men with an affinity for spears.). Fortunately, he was stopped and put into 10,000 years of sleep by a wizard who just happened to be one of the original generals for Arathai(working name, and pronounced Ara-ty), a prince at that time who was some sort of ancient social reformer(Yeah. We all know who it is.)

    Unfortunately, then he gets woken up from his 10,000 years of sleep 3,000 years too soon, by yet another wizard. This one’s not so nice, though.

    So. We get to the point of technology, and what’s really amusing is when your villain is 7,000 year old 20yro man with no idea what a wheel is. But that’s beyond the point. My technology in Firemaster is pretty medieval, yes. But there are improvements. For example, (mostly) working toilets that do not involve dumping human waste into the moat. Yep. Fun one, there. (Who wants to go swimming? Not me.) And some elvish technology in swords and other weapons that allows for things like retractable blades, and etc. Except elves are almost extinct and mostly hated, so no one accredits it to them.

    (Plus, elves have that weird energy-binding trick. How are normal humans supposed to use things that have to be altered by elven magic?)

    Not to mention the Burgin insight on mining. (Boy, do those guys know how to dig a tunnel. All the cave-dwelling they do must help.) Without that valuable information we’d all still be strip mining and panning for precious al’lafarah and moon-jools. Torls helped a little to, but they’re mostly greedy folk with no interest for humans, so they guard their secrets fiercely.

    (I’m ranting on world-building now, in case you haven’t noticed. My entire life lately seems to be one big rant.)

    Anyhow. So. Yeah. Lots of technological changes throughout the ages and many different influences. I’m going to tag @devastate-lasting, because I know she likes to mess with technology in novels to. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #48045
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @hope-ann I’ve been worldbuilding with a group of online writers and this came up recently. We are really digging deep and we already have layers upon layers of history and mythology. Just last week we were trying to figure out how to space out our events to fit into the correct technology. We go from the beginning of the world (like zero technology) to spaceships! But still our fantasy world. If you think about it many genres are kind of based off the world at different time periods..

    Fantasy: Medieval Ages.

    Si-fi: Future.

    Steampunk: 19th century.

    Contemporary: … well contemporary. xD

    So it’s pretty great!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Evelyn.
    #48057
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @hope-ann I feel very under-educated about the fantasy genre now as I contemplate that I know very little about fantasy technology.

    I think it’s important here to realize the two schools of fantasy here. On the one hand, we have mythic fantasy and fairytales. On the other hand, we have alternate realities of all different shades. The first category has always had and I believe will always have a medieval bent. Part of this is convention, part the natural beauty and ruggedness of a pre-industrialized world. Having just read Tolkien’s On Fairy Storys, however, I believe what he considers the essential ingredient of a fairy story (the lure of that which is to our emotions enchantingly idyllic, whether for good or bad) is something that could theoretically be the foundation for a technologically developed fantasy world. It would just be hard.

    So I do think fantasy and technology can coexist but I would be very skeptical of combining anything beyond 1600 or 1700s technology into mythic or fairytale fantasy.

    😀
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    #48086
    Linyang Zhang
    @devastate-lasting

    @sarah-inkdragon It took me a while to find my tag in your post XD


    @hope-ann
    What an interesting topic. I’m assuming that by technology you mean like inventions and things. Since I know nothing about the past of my fantasy world (Well, I know nothing until the Crown Prince gets banished) I can’t really say how it has evolved.

    In my book it’s basically Magic Users with cell phones. I’ve got a team of Aurorean elves in the background working on developing extremely high tech stuff with the help of magic (as opposed to the Avian Elves, which are basically your go-to elf when I say ‘Elf”).

    Also since I have 13 different worlds in my book(s) it gives me a lot of freedom to say which worlds are, as Daeus put it, in the first type of fantasy box, and which ones are in the second type fantasy box.

    Also, since my world is extremely messed up, I tend to have a lot of seemingly random time periods floating around, and random people from each time period (though it might just be their longevity, inability to age, and that one team of time travelers that completely destroyed some…stuff). There’s swords, yet there’s guns. There are laws, yet there aren’t. So, um, I’m not the best at worldbuilding. (Though, it also, might be, um, that I use the whole ‘anarchy’ thing as an excuse to hide behind)

    But I haven’t given them iPhones yet, and I don’t really plan on giving them that kind of new tech. Let them have flip phones, ride horses, and swing swords. I don’t really want to go beyond 2010 for tech.

    Also I have realized that I don’t have any explanations for any of this so it is a pretty good time to come up with something…

    I don’t believe that i have read any fantasy with technology like I have just talked about. In fact, I’ve only ever really seen Tolkien type fantasy…

    I don’t think I have a point here, I guess I am too random…

    Another thing is that most of the fantasy stuff isn’t even really what you think of when you say fantasy, it’s more…abstract…is there a name for that? Where everything is basically in like a big white place where time is weird and the Train of Souls runs by…? Like a blank space…that’s not even earth….

    So, yeah, after all of that, I don’t even know if I can call myself fantasy anymore. And I feel like a lot of you would be really offended by this…

    Or not…

    So I guess my only explanation for all of this is that near immortal Magic Users were kinda ahead of people in the Real World, and they brought what they thought was cool along with them to the present day era.

    "I set a melody upon the scenery I saw outside my window;
    It's beginning in my spacy world."
    - TK

    #48159
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @hope-ann

    Well, I don’t mean to brag or anything, but my fantasy world has flying machines.  I got tired of the lack of flying in fantasy novels, so one of my principle characters is an inventor who builds a working flying machine. It’s set in a very late 1700-early 1800 type world, so there’s also guns and various bits and pieces not found in the normal run of the mill fantasy, but it’s still “Otherly” enough that it’s fantasy. it has nice fashion too.

    @devastate-landing

    I love your method of worldbuilding! I’m sort of the same. I love just throwing a weird conglomeration of details into the story.

    Ceud mile failte

    #48370
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    @hope-ann

    In the original, truest sense of the genre, I don’t think you can mix fantasy with high technology at all. Now, I have to clarify, the above statement applies only to the term as it was originally defined by the founder of the genre himself: Tolkien.

    I recently finished reading Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories (like Daeus), and I think I can say with confidence that technological advancement is not on fantasy’s radar. It is not a focus of the genre. It is about Recovery, Escape, and Consolation. In particular, under his explication of the term Escape, Tokien said the following:

    (par 89) “For a trifling instance: not to mention (indeed not to parade) electric street-lamps of mass-produced pattern in your tale is Escape (in that sense). But it may, almost certainly does, proceed from a considered disgust for so typical a product of the Robot Age, that combines elaboration and ingenuity of means with ugliness, and (often) with inferiority of result. The lamps may be excluded from the tale simply because they are bad lamps; and it is possible that one of the lessons to be learnt from the story is the realization of this fact. … The electric streetlamp may indeed be ignored, simply because it is so insignificant and transient. Fairy-stories, at any rate, have many more permanent and fundamental things to talk about. Lightning, for example.”

    If anything, I think there is reason to believe that Tolkien viewed technological advancement as something that fantasy was actively escaping and steering clear of entirely. Paragraphs 90-97 of the essay go on at length with a decidedly negative view of modern technology, defending the legitimacy of escaping from the ‘real world’ into a sub-created one as a positive, enriching, and legitimate experience, rather than mere escapism. There are a lot of juicy quotes that I could pull from those couple pages that would make his view of technology clear. XD

    In addition, as a more relevant example to those who have not read his essay, but have read The Lord of the Rings, there is a decidedly negative view of technology woven into the story. Those who are the most “forward-thinking” are Sauron (global scale), Saruman (national scale), and Sandyman (local scale), with their international armies, huge war machines, etc. (Sauron); gunpowder, Uruk-hai, and mass production (Saruman), and the mill at Bywater (Sandyman).

    The Free Peoples of Middle Earth are actively opposed to the Machine in all of its manifestations, but in contrast, those who have fallen to evil are the most cunning in the development of new technologies. Part of our triumph at Saruman’s fall is the profound and beautiful victory of the ents over every machine and gadget that Saruman had created. There is an element of this triumph of Art/Nature over Machine in every eucatastrophic moment in the book; and I am convinced that this is one of the heartbeats of fantasy – a heartbeat that nearly everyone subsequent to Tolkien has missed.

    When it comes to technology, the conscious and drawn-out conflict of Tolkien’s fantasy is the conflict between Art/Nature and the Machine, between the Original (which is organic and natural) and the Created Copy (which is perverted and manufactured). Indeed, Morgoth’s imitation of Iluvatar’s song (from the beginning of The Silmarillion) is a manufacturing of something ‘new’ and ‘better’ out of the original material of Iluvatar’s song. And it is utter discord. The pattern continues all throughout the history of Middle-Earth.

    [Writers, beware! We, too, have a great power in our hands as sub-creators – let us not use it to create vain copies of things that are! Rather, let it be elvish art that brings the beauty already present even closer to the surface. ;)]

    Invention, science, and the never-ending march of technology are precisely what fantasy is escaping from. Fantasy contends that the original is better, that, as Tolkien basically said: lightning is better than an electric streetlamp.

    +++

    From all of that, as much as I love Sanderson’s work (The Alloy of Law is no exception), I think he has strayed from what fantasy originally set out to accomplish, as a genre. However, I am willing to accept the fact that the word ‘fantasy’ has taken on a greater meaning over the years. As it has become an ever-increasingly huge genre, it cannot any longer be defined according to the words of one man. However much of a purist I may be, I must accept a natural function of language, which is that words do change meaning by how they are used.

    So in a sense, I come around again to the distinction that Daeus made in his response. There are two kinds of fantasy, and if you’re talking about the Tolkien kind, then technology is to be eschewed (avoided)! It’s not exactly innately evil, but, well, Art/Nature is better. Far better.

    But if you’re talking about the modern genre of fantasy, I think what Sanderson has done is entirely legitimate, and is actually incredibly realistic world-building. And that is what makes it difficult to argue against including technology in one’s fantasy worlds that span long periods of time. Because a fully consistent secondary world ought to take every factor of the real world into careful consideration. However, there comes a point at which you have to ask whether you are simply putting Snapchat filters on the real world. The picture we get may be different, yes, and it would never occur in real life, true – but why is it different? What is the undergirding purpose of its difference from the real world? Without a purpose for the strange and fantastic, fantasy simply becomes an exercise in creativity that accepts even the Lewis Carrolls of the writing world.

    The reason fantasy doesn’t seem to fit with anything other than ‘medieval’ times is because of Tolkien’s philosophy concerning technology. The absence of technology was entirely intentional. In fact, it was one of the core elements of what made fantasy fantasy, in Tolkien’s mind. So we do lose something when we stray away from that – something essential enough that it might even be helpful to create an entirely new label for modern fantasy.

    So, to sum up this portion of my response, I think that there are two classifications, and they are different enough from one another that it would be helpful to have two different labels. Unfortunately, none exist at the moment, so we must carefully define our terms.

    The second classification (that is, modern fantasy), should have technological advancements take place if you want to create a well-rounded world. Without it, there is something missing in the internal integrity of the world that results. If all we set out to do in our fantasy is create an alternate world that is different from the real world in These-Particular-Ways and has Such-And-Such magic system(s), then we ought to stick as true to life as we can by thinking out the implications of magic upon technology and vice versa. This was historically overlooked in fantasy because of the holdover from Tolkien (whose philosophy was quickly lost sight of by the time the genre tropes had already been established). Sanderson, being the brilliant man that he is, realized this lack in the genre and filled it quite adeptly without falling into the trap of genre-bending (he avoids steampunk and sci-fi). And I applaud him for it!

    +++

    I could say more. But that should do for now; any responses that people might have will probably draw out more from me, whether to clarify or modify what I have written above. Given the hour right now, there will probably be a bit of both… ;P

    myths don't die

    #48450
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    So, I have been following all the replies here, though I’ve not had much time to get on and actually say anything. 😛


    @princess-foo
    Yessssss, Brandon Sanderson. I loved that book and am on the next one.

    I guess I would say it becomes a steampunk when the technology is steam powered, or it is set in the historical time period, and futuristic when it goes beyond the current technology.

    Yes… but what is the ‘current technology’ of a world one creates and has several millennia of history planned out? I should go look though because I know there are various kinds of fantasy–a whole long cool list.


    @sarah-inkdragon
    That sort of villain sounds hilarious. XD I want to read it. And yeah, I like how there are improvements, but it’s not past the fantasy age/tec. Things like forging and metals and mining… there are lots of ‘little’ things that improved before all the big things like steam and electricity came along.


    @evelyn
    That is interesting. But… I want it all to be fantasy. XD Actually, I just want to mix fantasy with everything else and see what happens. Dragons in a western or griffins bring people to a spaceport. That sort of thing.


    @daeus-lamb

    I think it’s important here to realize the two schools of fantasy here. On the one hand, we have mythic fantasy and fairytales. On the other hand, we have alternate realities of all different shades.

    Good point. The second aspect could be any number of genres. The first… I think one thing that can help with fantasy tec. is to give them technology we don’t have. Such as things being powered by stormlight in the Stormlight Archive. Or there being wind currents or water or weather or other science/magical elements in that the people in this world can modify to give them a culture that has a decent amount of technology. Just not the kind we have.

    The question for that ends up being how much one wants to develop the unique resources of a world and/or make up their own science and physics.


    @devastate-lasting
    That sounds interesting. 😛 Complicated, but interesting. And yeah… my brain is too tired to try to process it enough to come up with something clever to say in reply. XD


    @seekjustice
    Ooo, fun. I just have flying wolves.


    @karthmin
    Ah, definitions is it? 😉

    Though… I actually don’t have a clear cut definition of fantasy. I ought to read this On Fairy Stories deal you guys keep mentioning. I feel like I might have at one point but I don’t remember.

    That is interesting though. I’d known some bits about Tolkien and technology but hadn’t considered fantasy itself being against tecnology. Just that it was ‘standard’ which was all the more reason to make something less cliche.

    Now I’m wondering how both the systems might be combined. Bringing out the beauty of nature but, because of a magic system/how the world runs, being able to harness that beauty and powers in ways that could be considered technology. Or even just nature. A city built next to a volcano where they channel lava to produce heat or a warm glow along the gutters of the streets. Or particular metals or plants being used to delve huge caverns under oceans or rivers.

    Really… even Tolkien’s standard was a bit arbitrary because it was a past he romanticized. But if the people from that period read fantasy they would likely romanticize a time even further past. Or they’d mark out inconsistencies of what matched their time frame and what was even further past. Because medieval life was hardly static either. It just didn’t have the ’70 years from flying to landing on the moon’ sort of leaps.

    And… I feel like there’s more to say but my brain is tired and I have to go to work. So maybe later if I think of something else. 😛

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #48490
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @karthmin I do enjoy the conversation about technology vs nature in Tolkien (I’ve always found it kind of funny that even among the hobbits the miller is the most disagreeable of the bunch), but I’m strongly opposed to the idea Tolkien just gets to say “this is the genre, the stuff what I did,” and we have to try to wrestle decades of genre spread and growth around that idea. I mean, I love daddy Tolkien very much, but he was far from the only fantasy writer of his day. I actually feel we could call Dunsany the forerunner of the modern genre, I don’t believe for a second he wasn’t the major influence on Tolkien. And in fact if you were of the opinion electric lamp-posts have a place in fantasy, you wouldn’t exactly be finding yourself in poor company ;P

    But like, even Tolkien was kind of waffly on the theme of progress and invention. Morgoth’s song was twisted and discordant because of his will to dominate. Morgoth’s undoing was his hunt for the flame imperishable because he thought it was the power of Illuvitar in that it could be something Morgoth could take hold of, while the Valar used that power to create new life and modify what already existed into further beauty.

    The elves themselves invented gemstones, and the blood that stains the silmarils does because of Feanor’s tragic arrogance and not because of their status as something invented. Gimli in the very dwarfish tradition of modifying rather than subcreating turns Galadriel’s hair into a sort of dwarfish silmaril, and it’s seen as something beautiful that draws people together.

    As for having a different name than fantasy for “modern fantasy,” I think it would be more appropriate to put a different name to the Tolkienish sort of fantasy that emphasizes the personal spiritual awesomeness of the individual, man’s desire to return to nature, and ripping off taking inspiration from classic Norse mythology and ancient European literature in general =P We can’t really call it Tolkienesque, because that just means “ripped off Lord of the Rings.”

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #48540
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @hope-ann Okay! Cool! Sounds like that will be very interesting!

    #49019
    Northerner
    @northerner

    @Hope-ann On Fairy Stories is essential reading for any authour, but most especially those trying to write from a Christian worldview — not limited to fantasy. Here’s a not-as-sketchy-as-it-looks link: http://brainstorm-services.com/wcu-2004/fairystories-tolkien.pdf. Be off with you. Quiz on Thursday.

    #49344
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    @hope-ann

    You wrote: “Now I’m wondering how both the systems might be combined. Bringing out the beauty of nature but, because of a magic system/how the world runs, being able to harness that beauty and powers in ways that could be considered technology. Or even just nature. A city built next to a volcano where they channel lava to produce heat or a warm glow along the gutters of the streets. Or particular metals or plants being used to delve huge caverns under oceans or rivers.”

    In regards to this first paragraph, I’d like to say that I do agree. If I can paraphrase/interpret what Taylor made mention of in his reply, invention is not the villain of Tolkien’s fantasy. So I agree with you – I think there is a way that we can create ‘technology’ in our fantasy worlds through creative applications of our magic systems. Which was, I suppose, the entire purpose of this topic. Ugh. And I’ve just gone on a big, looping, rabbit-trail that is dumping us right at the same place that we started…

    I do have some ideas about how to go about it; but I’ve written myself out of time this evening. 🙁

    Then you wrote: “Really… even Tolkien’s standard was a bit arbitrary because it was a past he romanticized. But if the people from that period read fantasy they would likely romanticize a time even further past. Or they’d mark out inconsistencies of what matched their time frame and what was even further past. Because medieval life was hardly static either. It just didn’t have the ’70 years from flying to landing on the moon’ sort of leaps.”

    I have to completely disagree with this paragraph. From what I have read of Tolkien, he was not at all romanticizing a specific time period. His purpose in actively escaping from technology in his fantasy was to get back to the heart of things. Hence, in the example, we have instead of electric lamp-posts… lightning. And the focus is not so much on the lack of lamp-posts, but on the presence, power, simplicity, and beauty of lightning.

    So it is, from that point of view, more of an escape to the heart of things, rather than escape from the ever-encroaching march of technology. Though there are definitely elements of both, for sure.

    I would never call fantasy the romanticization of any age in particular. Tolkien’s world is not, to my mind, medieval. It is ageless, if anything. I can’t put it neatly into any particular historical locale because he successfully created an alternate world which is internally consistent to itself, not to earth’s history. It just so happens that the closest analog in our minds is medieval. So then, rather than getting back to any specific time in earth history, Tolkien created his own time, one that exists independent of our history, one that was created intentionally to allow him to introduce specific themes and emphases.

    Not only that, but it doesn’t take into account the worldview that Tolkien made evident throughout his works. Drawing from the whole of the history of Middle-Earth, I think his conception of history was one of cyclical devolution, rather than progression. From the age of ‘gods’ in the First Age to the coming of the Age of Men (aka the Fourth Age), we see a progression in the history of Middle-earth that leads me to believe that Tolkien had a very counter-cultural view of history. I find it to be quite thought-provoking and profound.

    Our conception of history has been (unduly, I think) influenced by 19th century optimism – the idea that all things are progressively getting better and better. This is (in my opinion), a by-product of anti-Christian evolutionary theory that has been applied to all of culture. And I say anti-Christian because I believe from Scripture that this time, this final age of history, gets worse until Christ returns (although, to be fair, there is some debate on this point; some do say that things will get better and better; I disagree).

    I think you could safely say that in Tolkien’s world, there is an inverse connection between the ‘progress’ of raw, unnatural technology and the regress of culture and goodness. It is a principle that I find holds true in our own world as well. All by itself, that is not the full picture, however. As always, there’s a bright spot of hope in all this. Technology/invention can be created and even used for good!

    By the way, don’t get me wrong. I am no Luddite marching for the abolishment of technology. I’m relaying these very thoughts with one of the greatest technological marvels of the 21st century. And I’m very thankful for it. Honestly, I view technology mostly as a non-moral tool that can be used either for great good or great evil. However, given the unnatural bent of fallen man, technology will be used for evil with far greater frequency than it will be used for good; or, if originally good, it will be twisted to evil use; and therefore it contributes to the speed with which society devolves to greater and greater levels of depravity.


    @taylorclogston

    Thanks for providing a needed counter-point! I wasn’t balanced in my initial comment. So glad that you said something, because I left out an entire dimension of invention/technology that Tolkien does include quite prominently throughout his works: and that is, like you said, good inventions. Beautiful things. Works of art and usefulness that coincide with the master-song. Is it these things that bring balance to his view towards technology. It’s not that he’s against it totally, but he is against it when it destroys the natural order, or when it is misused and turned to evil purposes.

    Also, you have a very fair point that electric lamp-posts in fantasy definitely do not put you outside the camp. That said, if we’re going to take more elements from that author… Tolkien didn’t exactly think talking animals belonged very well in his definition of fantasy, either. He called those beast-fables. So…

    But, sadly, I have to agree with you that one man’s words, however good in and of themselves, should not be used to limit a sprawling genre to such a small scope. Fantasy has out-grown its father’s will; like most willful children, it has gone its own way. And we must accept that.

    So… I propose to call Tolkien’s style of fantasy mythic or high fantasy, both of which have been thrown around on the forums by @daeus and I. Personally, I like mythic better. I mean, look at my signature. Haha!


    @northerner
    Thank you! Yes. I heartily second your evaluation of the book. After just one read, I can already tell that it is perhaps the resource that I will turn to consistently to remind myself what and why I write.

    myths don't die

    #49609
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @karthmin Not to be too persnickety, but both those things are already, err, things. I dunno, I’m just really tired of labels lately =P More interesting to me is thinking of other stories that might fall into this whatever-genre-it-is. I’m thinking maybe That Hideous Strength? It has the same industry-and-progress-are-symptoms-of-corruption thing though with the consummately Lewisian all-things-mythical-subservient-to-Christ angle rather than the return to nature being a sign of a return to spiritual innocence. In fact considering Ransom’s gentle reprimand to Merlin that even in the old days magic wasn’t quite lawful and we certainly know better now, maybe Lewis was offering a counter to Tolkien’s view in that progress here can be spiritually useful?

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #49633
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    @northerner *prints it* I’ll… get to it eventually. Probably.


    @Karthmin
    I had to laugh at the mention of lampposts. That’s why there’s one in Narnia you know. Cause Tolkien said you couldn’t have them in fantasy so Lewis went and did it. Writer friends…

    The comment about cyclical devolution is fascinating though. I’d not thought about it, but that is how the world progresses. His world, I mean.

    When it comes to history, my main thought is progress in the terms of change. It may not be for the better but it is ‘higher’ in a sense. Can do more or is more complicated. When it comes to the history of tec. the big thing is things getting faster, doing more jobs, getting more compact, easier, etc. It’s all about leisure and ease and saving time and money.

    In other news, I’ve been developing the technology of my world some–figuring out a few ‘cutting edge’ inventions to help the culture seem like a real-world moving forward instead of just a static people. A few things include the first quills/pens that actually have ink inside them instead of having to dip them; pens that freeze easily and are a pain. Also, a variation of a printing press where a man’s pen is connected to 10-100 others and all write the same words he does so he can write up to 100 books at one time.

    I may have been going somewhere with that. Not sure. From what you guys have been saying, with all your references back to Tolkien, it really does come down to definitions of what one thinks fantasy is, what it means, and what the point of fantasy is besides just being another genre… all fascinating topics. *goes to research definitions before proceeding with conversation*

    *promptly forgets about it*

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

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