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High Tech VS: magic


What if any would be the difference between magic and high tech to those not accustomed to such devices? Could their presence be kept under wraps to an entire society and what would be the fail safe if this knowledge were inadvertently revealed.

The entire thing is about a world inhabited by felaniod creatures that are deeply religious and are born and breed to represent the honor of the God their religion espouses. They are told, there is no higher honor than to lay down their lives for their deity and are trained from the time the are able to pick up a weapon, to fight.

Their society is based on a hierarchy of the priests/lawgivers on the top.
Immediately below them is the honor guard, which are monk devotees that run what passes for police worldwide. Then comes the Breeders, who are those that have the honor of birthing babies that will eventually serve their God, once they are called to glory. Those who are born are schooled in religious schools from the time they can remember that their only worth is to serve their God and to fulfill their honored duties as his son's and daughters. Those who the priests deem worthy are destined to be these breeders, in service to their God.

These creatures are short lived. Only 20 to forty years of age and they must enter into paradise through the gates of utopia, which is set off in the plushly forested area of their planet. No one can enter utopia or even get withing several miles of the fences that surrounding it, unless they are called. Those that attempt this are engulfed in holy fire from the Angels guarding the path. Of those that are chosen only gain additional wisdom in the use of holy garments and, after a time ascend into heaven by huge flaming chariots of metal. Those that ascend, never return.

In reality the entire planet is a breeding ground for warriors crafted, mind and body for a technologically advanced race that claim to be Gods. These beings use these creatures as cannon fodder in an ageless galactic war, who's enemies are designated as Evil and the Felanoids are thrown at them in service of what they think are Gods. They are trained and armored in high tech armor and are sent into battle with warrior priests that seem to have mystic power of magic.

What the story centers around a skeptic that witnesses the death of one of these Warrior priests, and finds out that their mystic power is only a high tech contraption that misfires and kills everyone in his unit, except his self.

He escapes a religious hostel after a failed attempt at killing him and heads towards the planet of his birth to reveal the fraudulent nature of the religion itself. The story, I'm writing deals with his exploits and the exploits of those sent to silence him.

I have some ideas, but they really seem like they've been hashed over in earlier books.


Myth Weaver
At that level, the lines start getting blurry.

In my college days, I saw films about the power of the mind. One of them showed a guy wearing what looked like a hat made by Rube Goldberg on an off day - upside down metal strainer deal with wires and gizmo's all over it. But that guy could get a model train to move just by thinking at it. A few months ago, I saw a commercially marketed version of such a device, advertised as a game, on the racks at WalMart. A guy can do that with his mind, makes you wonder what else is possible - and get right down to it, barring the really exotic stuff, magic is a thing of the mind.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
—Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law

All I'll say.


This sort of thing–the blending of technology and magic, or the confusion of technology with magic–is a primary feature of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series, Walter Jon Williams' Metropolitan series, and several of Roger Zelazny's books, probably most prominently Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness, though I could name several others as well. (All of these will generally be shelved under SF, if your bookstore differentiates it from fantasy.) It appears prominently in some of Steven Brust's Taltos series; and crops up occasionally in Glen Cook's Black Company series and, arguably, in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series (depending on how you interpret their mental powers). As well as several other places, I'm sure: China Miéville, for instance.

So in one sense, I suppose you could say there's a lot of it out there. That hardly invalidates your own use of it, though. If anything, it reinforces the idea that this can be done successfully. So I wouldn't worry much about it being "hashed over."

In response to your initial questions, concerning whether or not a society could be kept in the dark and what would happen if it were revealed (inadvertently or otherwise), I'd point to Zelazny's Lord of Light in particular: it's the main theme driving the plot… and religion is what gets used to "explain away" the technology and maintain the power of a small elite. Besides, it's one hell of a good book. ;)
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Max Cooper

Well in a way we already do just that. Most people don't really know how their technology works, they just know its not magic.