Can Technology Evolve in a Fantasy World?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by AndrewB, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    Does gunpowder even work in Westeros? The laws of nature in that world allow for a whole lot of stuff that's impossible in our world (even sticking to chemistry, we have no equivalent to the green fire), so maybe it's not a 1:1 equivalent.

    And even if it is....it's very, very easy to fall in to the trap of "we've grown up with this technology, it's not that complex when you break it down, so anyone in the past could have figured it out on their lunch break". The march of science is historically much less inevitable than modern culture might make us think--even now, several interesting lines of development are hampered by the question of "Yes, but how do we make money from this?".

    And just because something's been invented in a workshop somewhere is no guarantee that the possibilities will be recognised, and it will immediately proliferate. A prototype steam engine was created in the 1st century AD, and a manual railroad existed in Greece earlier than that--if it had caught on then, we could have had a steampunk Roman Empire within a century, but the inventions simply didn't catch on at that point.
     
  2. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    It's not a perfect equivalent, but Wildfire is pretty clearly based on Greek Fire. A sort of pre-modern napalm whose recipe we still don't know because it was such a closely guarded state secret. Wildfire seems to have a magical component and is green, but it still worked even when magic was at its weakest point in that world's history.

    On the point about gunpowder itself, it's worth remembering that it was created more or less by accident. Those Chinese alchemists were trying to make an elixir of eternal life, but they got something rather different.
     
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  3. TirelessSeven

    TirelessSeven Member

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    Azuresun, the 'gun-powder in Westeros what-if' was just an example of how an advancement in technology could - if the author allowed to happen - potentially mess with a fantasy story. Despite agreeing once more with almost everything you wrote, I still don't feel it's so unrealistic an advancement (and don't think I've fallen into any kind of trap), although it probably wasn't the best example to use to make my point.
     
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  4. TirelessSeven

    TirelessSeven Member

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    Yeah, as a solution to the problem of illness, I agree, 'magical cure-all' couldn't be bettered, so in this imaginary world, society wouldn't try - the necessity just isn't there.

    Do you think, that by negating the need for medical research in our imaginary world - and denying the subsequent discoveries (medical and non-medical) that research could potentially yield - does magic itself (in this specific case) have the potential to cause the kind of stasis we see in a lot of fantasy?
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    That is one you have do decide on yourself. You will figure it out. :superidea:
     
  6. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    I think the key words there are "mess with". I think there's a difference between "let's tell an interesting story with integrated technology and magic" (which was not what Martin was interested in doing, so he didn't--the focus is on politics and an emerging supernatural conflict, technological upheaval would mostly be a distraction from that story), and saying "your fantasy story would be better if it had less fantasy in it".
     
  7. TirelessSeven

    TirelessSeven Member

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    Precisely. So medieval stasis serves the story the author wants to tell. I'm struggling to work out why you think we're in disagreement.

    I never suggested we do this.

    Certainly didn't say this, or anything like it. I find it a ridiculous statement.
     
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  8. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    Because you said:

    If I misunderstood where you were coming from, I'm sorry.

    Okay, that second bit wasn't meant as an attack on you (or anyone in the thread), so I obviously messed up the delivery. I meant that you can have settings where the two are integrated (not saying you have an opinion on such), and that there are irritating critics who insist that science always has to be right and superior in any fictional comparison with magic (while not saying you were one of them).

    Hope that's clearer?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  9. TirelessSeven

    TirelessSeven Member

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    No problem, then. There has been a misunderstanding - in the section you quoted above, I wasn't expressing an opinion, just posing a question. I was attempting to discuss the reasons for medieval-stasis, not because I have any kind of issue with it, but because it interests me.
     
  10. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Member

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    I would say as many had told you, that depends on how your world works. For example, usually on fantasy dwarfs are related to guns, this is more because they live on mountains or underground, so they have to work with what they have; plus making a lot of experiments. So I would add the environment will influence your technology as well. And as Iain Aschendale had mentioned your economics will have an impact. You can't expect a poor city to be properly evolved like a rich city.
     
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  11. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Active Member

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    My sister asked me once why i liked making up my own worlds and cultures. I told her this: its like Sims; I can pick them up and put them where ever I want, and I can give them whatever I want. I make the rules, and they live by it. I am God.

    you want tech? BOOM! behold the tech!
     
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  12. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Member

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    We are not just Gods but as well Devils :supercheeky:
     

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