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Why arent story settings/worlds like Shadowrun, Bright, or Avatar: Korra where scifi-fantasy blends

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Dayu, Dec 21, 2020.

  1. Dayu

    Dayu Scribe

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    Personally, iam kind of tired with the basic fantasy and scifi setting in the past (medieval) or the future (scifi). When I saw Bright, that concept of modernized fantasy setting was a breath of fresh air (although it had a LOT of stuff to be worked on). I mean how cool is it to see an high elf in a suit with suave-magical looking necklace thing at the same time. Also in Korra, where they made a sport out of bending, it got me thinking how cool it would be if the Avatar live streamed his/her fire-bending training. Or even Youtube tutorials in how to do a specific bending move (Hahaha).
    Care to shed a light on this matter guys? Really curious why this aint more mainstream.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Troubadour

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    First, and just for your reference, you can find a number of examples of such blending in japanese comics and animation. For instance:
    • Silent Mobius: high tech setting with demons and magic.
    • Nausicaa: postapocaliptic future world part medieval, part technological (they have planes for instance and some sort of reaction engines) with some hints of magic (mostly at the end).
    • Eatman: some kind of futuristic yet also fantasy world with both high tech, strange magic and sometimes even dragons.
    • Darker Than Black: set in our world, some people have a magical skill that comes with a particular tradeoff. It's more of a modern espionage/mistery story than scifi, but I think it also fits the blend since some tech is also used here.
    • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: alternate scifi world with combat humanoid robots and other high tech combined with the existence of some few people with very concrete magical powers.
    I don't remember more of them, but the japanese have a knack for those kind of stories. Yet in the western world we also have some franchises that kind of fall into that blend: Star Wars, Warhammer 40000, Mass Effect (where magic is presented as a high tech thing, but you can tell that is magic nevertheless). And we could say that most superhero stories also use that mixture of scifi and fantasy in varied degrees. I also happen to remember a long-running novel series called The Dresden Files in which you have an american wizard detective investigating paranormal mysteries for human and non-human clients.

    As you can see, the problem is not that there's no content done in the style you're pointing at. There's quite a lot in fact, sometimes in subtle or less noticeable ways, so you just need to look more carefully or ask around if you're searching specifically such kind of fiction.
     
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  3. Dayu

    Dayu Scribe

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    I have realized that Japanese are doing these stuff but not really in the way iam talking about. So far I've noticed that their stuff is like a genre pretending to be the other. Like what you said (where magic is presented as a high tech thing or the other way around).
    What I had in mind is more close whats Bright is doing. Ork cops, Centaur Cops, Cyclop accountants, or a Succubus Twitch streamer. Like, a world what Lord of the Rings would have looked like after the Medieval ages, up to the modern age.
    The Dresden files is more like what I am talking about. You know, the one genre INTERACTING as itself with the other one. A Wizard that uses a wand made of magical wood but has a gun as a back up just in case he runs out of magic, or a an elf using a lazer gun completely made with sci-fi stuff instead using magic as an energy because that kind falls into magic pretending to be science.
     
  4. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    You could always read superhero comics- they have everything from mutants, to aliens, to wizards, to demons, to robots, to robot-alien-wizard-demon-mutants, to...
    Here's a TV Tropes article about Science Fantasy: Science Fantasy - TV Tropes
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Seems like something you should write. The perfect opportunity for a writer is an angle they care about plus an angle overlooked by the mainstream market.
     
  6. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    I made a stupid amount of money doing exactly this. To be fair, I didn't know I'd done it; I stumbled backwards into my target readership.

    If there's a book you want to read and no one's written it, that's the universe telling you to sit your ass in a chair and start writing.
     
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  7. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Troubadour

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    I get where you're going, and after thinking about it again, I don't remember any other fiction series done exactly in the style of Shadowrun or Bright. Sure this feels a bit strange, given the potential such settings has. It's as if there's a strong bias to use certain elements only under certain settings or for certain kind of stories, something that also seems to happen a lot with the usual attachment of fantasy to medieval settings (although there's quite a bit of urban fantasy nowadays).

    On the other hand, a weird fantasy series by China MiƩville came to my mind: the Bas-Lag series that start with Perdido Street Station. There are no LOTR-like or mythical creatures in it, but other strange beings and magic with steampunk tech. I know is not set in a modern age like ours, but it's one of the closest thing I can think of.

    Also, we could argue that magic is just some kind of science that uses ficticious elements (this point has been already discussed in Mythic Scribes), and that aliens could be your placeholder for elves, dwarves and so forth, hence the titles I've already mentioned like Mass Effect or Star Wars. Now, something I've thought myself is what would happen if the LOTR elves that had travelled to their fantasy land decided to return to our Earth? That's a premise that offer so many possibilities...
     
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  8. Dayu

    Dayu Scribe

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    Yeah, so now I am actually torn whether to set my story with the fantasy creatures already interacting the normal world or their still hiding in it but during the progression of the story they slowly reveal themselves. Originaly, i had planned the death of the MCs lover as the main cause of the fantasy creatures revealing themselves to avenge her death since she was their princess (thats right, MCs a playah).

    So basically, i thought about blurring the lines between magic and science a bit but not really sure now how after noticing that some of my ideas are basically fantasy pretending to be science or the other way around.
     
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  9. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    Andre Norton nearly always included fantastical elements in her sci-fi settings.
     
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  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    To me, it sounds like you're talking about the Urban Fantasy genre.
     
  11. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Urban Fantasy is Fantasy in the modern age- they're talking about fantasy with futuristic tech, not fantasy set on modern day Earth (or at least a planet that resembles modern-day Earth)
     
  12. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think you're misreading the question. Read this quote from the OP and then go back and read the initial post.

     
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  13. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I mean, considering that the Dayu gives the example of an elf packing a laser gun along with the Legend of Korra it's clear to see that simply urban fantasy doesn't cover everything though S.T's incorrect as well.

    As I see it... well, think of technology around you. It's ubiquitous. We don't really think twice about flipping a light switch, getting in a car and driving somewhere or seeing a soldier or police officer armed with a gun.

    Avatar is a good example of such a thing applied to a fantastical setting. Even in the last airbender we see the effects that bending has on bending has on architecture with the Northen Water Tribe and the walls of Ba Sing Se, everyday life via the earth bending powered trams and mail chutes of the Earth Kingdom and technological advancements as seen with fire bending giving the fire nation a head start on the industrial revolution which can then spread to their non-bending citizens thanks to coal deposits and GLORIOUS STEAMPUNK.

    In Korra there's the aforementioned Pro Bending showcasing those supernatural powers spreading to affect recreational sports, but we're also introduced to criminal gangs of benders in the early parts of Korra showcasing the spread to criminal elements.

    Mmm.... also the time skip between the two series demonstrates a good case study of such a spread. In the Last Airbender lightning bending and metal bending were both these super special techniques. In Korra you can get a factory job lightning bending to produce power for the city and the core of the city's police force seems to be entirely made up of metal benders.

    Most urban fantasy stories don't do this. The Dresden Files generally doesn't do this. It generally approaches things from the other side with the ubiquitousness of technology spreading to the magic side. Harry carries a gun. In one book the bad guys try to sell him on Ebay. The paranet is an online resource letting weak magic users and clued in muggles band together and share information on what goes bump in the night.

    Not all urban fantasy stories do that either. Harry himself has a techbane field that prevents him from using any technology too modern. In Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series demigods can't use cell phones unless they want to send up a signal flare for every monster for miles around. Harry Potter doesn't have any excuse, but not even Mad Eye Moody decides to start packing heat.

    Ahem, as an aside, I would also reccomend the manga/anime My Hero Academia as an example of another series demonstrating such ubiquitousness, though there it's X-men style mutations instead of bending.

    In Shadowrun both the fantasy elements like elves and magic and the sci fi elements like cybernetic augmentations and evil megacorps are just part of life enough that no one would think twice about combining them. Well, at least as far as the in game mechanics allow. They do have that whole "cybernetics eat your soul" thing going on to keep players from making terminator wizards.
     
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  14. Dayu

    Dayu Scribe

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    Oh, yeah. Korra did provide a good example because of how they integrated magic (bending) into people's lives while other stories seem to usually give a reason why they cant mix the two worlds together. Like, theyd give reason why Mad eye wont be packing heat even though itd fit the character, for me, atleast.

    A thought also went to my head, magic shield barriers and stuff would be a great counter to bullets and stuff. Depending how powerful it is though.
     
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  15. Dayu

    Dayu Scribe

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    Thank you guys. Ive finally decided on my setting. Its gonna be set in a modern world thats starting to improve its tech with futuristic phones, tanks etc, while its acknowledging magic for the first time.
     
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