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Modern Fantasy

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Garren Jacobsen, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Here is a question for you all what is your opinion about creating a fantasy world that is a post industrialist society. In other words do you think it possible/good idea to create a whole new fantasy world, yet make it be a society similar to one found say between the year 1947 and 2012?
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Scribe

    Depends... what is "fantastical" about it? Alternate histories are alright, and secret societies and things like that on Earth. I don't know about creating a "new" world though.
  3. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

    Depends on how it was done. Care to explain an idea you had?

    What I thought of was everyday society with fantasy races mixed in. Instead of an evil wizard have an evil CEO.
  4. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

    That sounds like Urban Fantasy. In fact, an author named Kelley Armstrong writes a series where a few powerful wizard families run mob-like organizations called Cabals.

    I guess it could be different, though, if it lacked the "we have to hide who were are from normal humans!" and magic or fantasy races are the norm. That could be cool.
  5. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Like so much else, it has been done. China Mielville's 'Perdido Street Station' and attendant books come real close to this. So does the new 'Mistborn' book.
  6. So far what I have envisioned is a society that have two major political parties, the conservative party are mostly composed of the rich magical people who have turned their abilities into profit. Whereas the "liberal" party is composed mostly of technological non-magical people. They are peaceful but have heated debates in the political arena. The two parties are completely stratified and try to stop the other party from doing anything creating gridlocks and fillibusters galor. I am leaning towards elemental magic as being my magic element. There are other magical races in the world but do not really interfere with the humans and their political machinations...for the most part.
  7. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    I'm doing a modern fantasy setting as well and I'd like to read it something like that as well. ;) For me, there's no reason not to have magic and modern technology in an alternate world.

    In case of your idea, it's hard to tell what it will look like in a story at the moment. You probably should be careful not to get too close to real-life politics if the story isn't supposed to be a commentary on them, though. If something seems like a carbon copy of structures existing in the real world and your leaning towards one side, it might seem as if you wanted to push your own political ideas onto people. Real life parties, organisations or nations shouldn't find themselves reflected in your work too obviously.
    This is something I have to be careful about as well. In my world, there's a dominant nation with the most successful economy and the best military in the world. It's defending its interest with violence if necessary, believes, they're doing this for the benefit of humanity and and im some cases it's true. Its language is learned by people all over the world. (Many it's and its in this part, I hope I got all of them right.) Many heroic people come from there, but this probably wouldn't keep you (American forum users) from feeling offended by some things, if you saw them as a fantasy version of yourselves which they're not and I'm trying to make this clear.

    returning to your idea with one question: What does your magic do and how does it interact with technology and the "modern way of life"?
  8. The magic is what used to drive the economy and war machine. Using and controlling the never ending fires, winds, and flows of water to power the factories of the Elemental Business owners, thus making them rich. while the working class tended to be a mixture of the magic users and non magic users. The ability to manipulate light and dark has been generally sanctioned to those of the prisetly station in the case of light manipulation, or often times the criminal/terrorist/spy elements of the society for shadow manipulation. A new thing to manipulate is being discovered by a MC he learns that the magical people can control electricity. With this knowledge he could very well control their way of life. The control of which could rule peoples lives. Seeing that the magic is found in the means of production rather than in the objects themselves.
  9. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    Interesting premise. How do every day objects like ovens, radio, etc. get their power or heat?

    With the power to create a never ending fire, nuclear power would probably never had been invented, steam powered electricity generation, hydroelectric power from flows of water... How would it matter that electricity could be directly controlled?
  10. Consider just how important electricity is in a modern society. Everything relies on it. Sure while it would not matter so much matter as a source of electrical power just consider what it could do.

    In terms of combat it could stop a heart, paralyze a person, disrupt the brain, control a person's limbs and muscles, along with the standard lightning bolts and so on and so forth.

    In terms of espionage it could break into most any security system that relies on electronics by a mere disruption of the electrical signals.

    So far as industry goes it could be used as an entirely mobile power source/station or they would create easily electro magnets.

    It would have many significant uses if one were to think outside the box, which is what magics allow us to do.
  11. quenchy

    quenchy Dreamer

    I realize that you're working with assumptions, liek for example the assumption that if you had magic back in the 1400s for example, the history of humanity would have flown in the exact same riverbed as it has here-now.

    For example, if I want to set up a windmill, should I build it on a windy hill outside the city with its micro-climate or I could bind air elementals to spin the wheel? And if I have control over magical air, will this windmill require lots of compelx mechanization to work proerly or would it just require some basic mechanics? Answering these questions, we know how the medieval economy managed to move towards modern economy. Same with infrastructure. If your people can have air elementals to blow the sails of the ships, they could afford quick and safe travels over sea and water, meaning that large rivers become highways that allow people and ideas to spread quickly throughout the lands. The speed of communication and the ability of people to travel will speed-up the social processes. The Great French Revolution could have happened in 981, for example. I think that writing an alternative magical Earth setting enables to subtly adds some beckground info instead of just writing about air-elemental powered power plants and fire-elemental run tanks. Of course, don't info dump.

    Based on the mention of 1947 - use the arcane research of Hitler, Roosevelt and Stalin as motiff for the discovery of magic by the rich class after WW2. Then you will have the time flow of everthying until then, you will have the background of a society that has given traditions, religion and superstitions, you will have the Cold War with all the manipulations of the governments over their people. This will allow you to do anything with the magic in your setting with mentioning only few facts. Use the background that the readers have so that you can spare them the info dumping.

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