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Thread: High Technology in a Low Technology World

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    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    High Technology in a Low Technology World

    Last night I got a really good idea for my story and the origins of the world.

    Would you or do you know of many authors that include High Technology (nanites, lasers, and the like) in a Low Technology world?

    Well when I say I got a good idea, I mean it was good to me. I would be implementing this setting in my story and possibly making it a major plot point for one of my characters.

    Basically there are three scientists who have perfected a nanite that makes the host body immortal, because science is cool. As long as the nanites are left undamaged, and the repairbots are able to fix the downed bots. Playing with the idea to make them self replicating so the bots don't all get destroyed or go out of commission.

    I think it would be best to have a housing unit in the body, that way if by some chance the nanites were in an evil 'god' the said person could still be killed.
    immortality with certain drawbacks. But being immortal with no weaknesses is boring.
    Also, this would be going along with my Post-apocalyptic Fantasy World.

    Feedback wanted. And if I need to clarify I will, as soon as I get to a computer.

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    Moderator Ravana's Avatar
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    I'm the wrong person to ask about nanites—not because I don't know about them, because I hate the way they get (ab)used by most authors.

    Lasers are easy: they're just focused light. I'm not sure how much "low" tech it would require to generate a useful one—the amount of power required would probably be prohibitive in most settings—but at least in principle they could be developed by any culture with sufficient knowledge of optics.

    I've seen plenty of authors who used technological remnants in a post-technological world. Not sure I've seen any that used new technology, stuff that was developed after a collapse. As for whether or not it would fit, just remember Clarke's Law; anyone not recognizing it as technological would regard it as magic. Which, around here at least, is fine. (The one that comes to mind immediately is Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series—though some parts of that are so bizarre that even you as the reader aren't sure whether it's magic or technology at work. It's some great writing, at least, whether it helps in your situation or not.)
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    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    How about a bacteria created by scientists to keep them immortal?
    no nanobots, because yes they're over used.

    Three scientists develop bacteriums that make the host bodies immortal, one for strength, possible increased mental abilities, or something of the sort. Then they decide to destroy the world. To start over and raise themselves as gods. Only the last human test subject they had didn't die. So he's out there, immortal, and they don't know it yet. He knows what has happened and wants revenge, but he knows he has to bide his time. He waits a few hundred years (make sure to completely surprise the gods, and to get to the era I want), then sets about getting his revenge for destroying everything he loved. If he gathers a group of people to help, he wouldn't tell them the real reason he wanted revenge. Not the whole story at least, just in case he gets double-crossed.

    Opinions?

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    Moderator Ravana's Avatar
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    It's not overused, so much as misused: most people treat nanites as if they were magical, ignoring the fact that they come with some pretty stiff limitations in the real world. Yes, bacteria would be considerably more plausible, in my opinion. (In fact, in order for a nanite to be useful for much more than a single simple repetitive task, it would require complexity approaching that of a microorganism anyway… and self-reproduction is not among the world's "simpler" tasks. Neither is keeping yourself from being eaten by antibodies, if you're going to be introduced into a living system.…)
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    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    Bacteria it is then!
    I would need the nanobots to be complex, and I could see an alternate, modern earth having bacteria engineering breakthroughs before nanotech.

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    Senior Member Shadoe's Avatar
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    As far as high tech in a low tech world, I can think of Doris Egan's Ivory series. William Dietz did it in some of his worlds, too. In both cases, I thought it worked well.

    Nanites to make the person immortal, that would be the basis for Lynsay Sands' books. The people with nanites were "vampires," and required blood to keep the nanites working. Since they were originally created in ancient times on Atlantis, that would probably include high tech in a low tech world, but nobody talks about that period, so...

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    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    It would be after an apocalyptic event. Some remnants of our world would remain, but most usable technology would be gone. The only people remembering the technology first hand would be the immortals. Some of the world would probably be reminiscent of Lud in the Dark Tower Series in the way that the city is standing, but just barely. I couldn't see many people populating the old cities, as they would be too hazardous with no way to keep them from falling down all around them.

    I like the idea of vampires, especially off the map variations of them. Lately, though, they seem to be way too oveused. The same with zombies, and some other basic fantasy creatures.

  8. #8
    If you are going to use bacteria, don't forget mutations. So they are immortal, and maybe one is really strong...but dumb as a rock, and another really smart and can hardly move without help...or maybe some have been changed so they no longer look human...or whatever your imagination might dream up.

    That's the fun of living organisms, they can change and do things not intended by the creators. (which gives me a few ideas for one my stories I'll get back to one of these years) Yep, glad I dropped by for this one, I should have considered mutations in mine.

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    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    Mutations are a given. If there were enough of a certain mutation then you could have a new race. There will be nuclear mutations, as my universe is taking a real world and comic book take on nuclear exposure. Radiation sickness and some pretty cool genetic mutations (good way to introduce new animals).

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    Moderator Ravana's Avatar
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    One interesting thing about the immortality bacteria is that it would have to be immune to mutation itself—and so presumably protect anyone who has it similarly. If it mutated, it would almost certainly stop working… or at least stop working the way it was intended to.

    (Which could be a good reason to favor nanites, as they're rather less prone to mutation—though they would not be immune to it: one random glitch in a "program," one replication error, even soaking up exactly the wrong radiation and having an important atom in your makeup change into something less, ehh… "compatible," and you could be right up that same creek.)
    I have taken all knowledge to be my province. Tariff rates and immigration policies forthcoming.

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