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Roger J Carlson
03-17-2005, 10:44 PM
In another thread, Moondancer said this:


You also have to think in terms of what defines the genre. Regardless if your setting is the modern world or centuries into the future, if those defining elements are missing it's no longer fantasy but something else.

If you use fantasy as a generic term, every novel ever published/printed would fall into the genre.

My question is: Is this true?

Poul Anderson used a present-day scenerio for his "Operation Chaos" and "Operation Luna". Heinlein did the same in "Magic Inc." Randall Garrett used an alternate 20th century in his "Lord Darcy" mysteries.

Are these just flukes? Is it impossible to have a fantasy that involved space travel? Even if the space travel was by magical means? Aren't there possibilities for creating a spaceship that worked by magic? Are these ideas forever banned from fantasy?

Medievalist
03-17-2005, 11:10 PM
Is it impossible to have a fantasy that involved space travel? Even if the space travel was by magical means? Aren't there possibilities for creating a spaceship that worked by magic? Are these ideas forever banned from fantasy?


No, not at all. Take a look at "Urban fantasy," for instance, Emma Bull/Will Shetterly et al, or Wen Spencer's Tinker.

Going back further, in Irish mythology, in a text in a fourteenth century ms. there's a story of the Tuatha de Dannan, the "fairies," if you will, arriving in Ireland on a ship that sails through air.

katiemac
03-17-2005, 11:26 PM
Does fantasy have to exist in the past? No.

But most of it does, and most of science fiction takes place in the future. Either genre is still its own, even it takes place in a different time period than per usual.

Moondancer
03-17-2005, 11:43 PM
A fantasy novel can take place in any time, past, present, or future, as long as the defining elements of what constitutes a fantasy novel are present... That was the point of my original post in the other thread, lol.

Roger J Carlson
03-17-2005, 11:59 PM
A fantasy novel can take place in any time, past, present, or future, as long as the defining elements of what constitutes a fantasy novel are present... That was the point of my original post in the other thread, lol.

Ah. On re-reading, I see that interpretation too. Still, I think it's a good question. What would a futuristic fantasy look like? We might come up with some novel ideas.

Moondancer
03-18-2005, 12:58 AM
That's always a very good possibility. *Gets out the :popcorn: *

maestrowork
03-18-2005, 01:24 AM
As I said in the other thread, I consider Star Wars a fantasy. Technically, it is set in the past (A galaxy far away, a long time ago) but we all know how we think it's in the future... ;)

Pthom
03-18-2005, 01:45 AM
And some here consider McCaffery's Pern stories fantasies, in that they involve dragons, although most, I think, consider them SF. Of the one I read, I got the distinct impression it was set in the future.

victoriastrauss
03-18-2005, 05:51 AM
A fantasy novel can take place in any time, past, present, or future, as long as the defining elements of what constitutes a fantasy novel are present...I agree. Especially since so much fantasy takes place in a world that's not this one, making notions of "past" or "future" moot.

I think maybe the question that's being asked here is whether or not fantasy has to take place in an "ancient" setting--swords, torches, stew, all that stuff. Obviously the answer is no--as Medievalist said, there's urban fantasy, and also steampunk and various bizarre derivatives thereof.

- Victoria

Moondancer
03-18-2005, 05:53 AM
I've always considered Star Wars a fantasy, too. For anyone who likes Terry Brooks he has a 3 book fantasy series set in Washington State. If I remember right the first of the series was "Running with the Demon" or something like that.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern Series is all in the future. One of the last books in the series found them discovering one of the ships in orbit above Pern... which they had always called a star... and the first settlement of Pern whereby they learned of their origins. I don't remember the details greatly... it's been that long, lol.

Roger J Carlson
03-18-2005, 05:19 PM
I agree. Especially since so much fantasy takes place in a world that's not this one, making notions of "past" or "future" moot.

I think maybe the question that's being asked here is whether or not fantasy has to take place in an "ancient" setting--swords, torches, stew, all that stuff. Obviously the answer is no--as Medievalist said, there's urban fantasy, and also steampunk and various bizarre derivatives thereof.

- Victoria
Right. But still, aside from urban fantasy and the like (which I had not considered), most fantasy is pre-industrial, pre-technological. Even stories like Stasheff's Rogue Wizard Series (where the wizard arrives in a space ship, but the rest of the story is always in a more or less standard fantasy milieu) are only peripherally technological.

This shouldn't have to be. For instance, how would a magical spaceship work? Perhaps in addition to Earth, Wind, Fire, and Ether, a new Elemental was discovered (Nuclear?) with tremedous power available to be tapped. Perhaps the culture is more biologically oriented because of the magic and they grow a spaceship. Perhaps it's a blending of the two.

What happens when our intrepid spaceship meets another from a technological culture. Is it possible that both could exist in the same universe? (Sure. I could explain it anyway.) How would our magical culture interact with a technological culture? Who would win and why? This could be a good allegory for the conflict between modern and post-modern thought today (if you want to get symbolic about it).

Maybe the universe swings between a causality-ruled system and a magically-ruled system. Maybe it happens quickly (decades or centuries) so that the culture of the world must change from a magically-based to a scientifically-based. Or, even better, from a scientific to magically-based culture.

Maybe this begins to happen to our world! It's nothing new to have a story where elves really existed, but were pushed out by the "cold iron" of the industrial age. But what about the reverse? What if our technological world begins to crumble because magic is on the rise?

It seems to me there is tremendous potential for expanding the horizons of fantasy.

Moondancer
03-18-2005, 05:50 PM
Just about everything you have listed has been done to some extent in a variety of different settings. The Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" series often speaks of a nonmagic Age before the 3rd Age which was both technological and magical, before the present Age which is not technological. I can increase this post to a mile citing all kinds of examples so I opted for the one most current in my memory.

In addition, there are various examples on TV in the US: Andromeda, Angel, Charmed, Farscape, and so on where magic exists with technology.

I'm not saying there isn't room for expansion, of course. There is always room for that. But you really have to know what's already been done to know in what direction you would, or should, expand.

maestrowork
03-18-2005, 05:59 PM
Don't forget Harry Potter is set in modern times.

JenNipps
03-18-2005, 06:50 PM
For another urban fantasy, you can check out Bedlam's Bard by Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edgehill. There are others in that series, too, not all written by ML & RH.

Moondancer
03-18-2005, 08:08 PM
Don't forget Harry Potter is set in modern times.

Well... I didn't want to cite something I haven't read. I might have at one time or another but my not quite 3 years old grandson goes around casting enough spells now... usually at his little brother...

Can you imagine what would happen if I had to read the actual books to him?:Shrug:

maestrowork
03-18-2005, 09:32 PM
LOL. I cast spells at my cousins when I was a boy. I'd take a chopstick and use it as a wand. I was always the evil sorcerer. I wanted to turn all my girl cousins into squealing piglets.

Moondancer
03-18-2005, 09:45 PM
Jeremy found a stick outside that was roughly the right length and diameter. It's his best friend now.

Moondancer
03-19-2005, 07:18 PM
Hey now, just because it went off on a slight tangent doesn't mean the discussion has to stop... Unless the discussion stopped because there's nothing else to discuss?

maestrowork
03-19-2005, 07:54 PM
It was all your fault, Moondancer! :Fairydust

(Hey, how come you haven't turned into a squealing piglet yet? No fair.)

Moondancer
03-19-2005, 08:56 PM
:wag: It usually is... Just call me Ms. Scapegoat... :rolleyes:

Moondancer
03-19-2005, 11:50 PM
Oh, yeah. Maestro, I'm totally confused by the squealing piglet. Please explain, I haven't had my full coffee ration yet today.

maestrowork
03-20-2005, 12:04 AM
I put a spell on you.

Julian Black
03-20-2005, 12:35 AM
Poul Anderson used a present-day scenerio for his "Operation Chaos" and "Operation Luna". Heinlein did the same in "Magic Inc." Randall Garrett used an alternate 20th century in his "Lord Darcy" mysteries.

Are these just flukes?
Charles de Lint (The Onion Girl, Dreams Underfoot) writes urban fantasy in contemporary settings.

James Morrow has also written present-day or near-future fantasy (Towing Jehovah and its sequels; Only Begotten Daughter; City of Truth).


Is it impossible to have a fantasy that involved space travel? Even if the space travel was by magical means? Aren't there possibilities for creating a spaceship that worked by magic? Are these ideas forever banned from fantasy?
I don't see that it would be impossible...

Birol
03-20-2005, 01:29 AM
Only Begotten Daughter is classified as fantasy? It seems to be to be one of the ones that straddles the line. I always thought of it as science fiction with a religious-twist. Her birth is brought about by the use of an artificial womb (science) and it is basically science that many individuals either treats as the root of all evil or else worships throughout the book. Frex: Sperm banks, IVF, etc.

Moondancer
03-20-2005, 02:25 AM
I put a spell on you.

Well, that won't work because I countered it. :Fairydust

Julian Black
03-20-2005, 05:18 AM
Only Begotten Daughter is classified as fantasy? It seems to be to be one of the ones that straddles the line. I always thought of it as science fiction with a religious-twist.

It does straddle the line; the circumstances of Julie's conception and birth are definitely SF, but I see the rest of her story as fantasy. But then again, I'm far more inclined to read fantasy than SF, so naturally I'll stck it on "my" side of that fence...

Birol
03-20-2005, 06:19 AM
I wouldn't say the rest of the story is set in fantasy. Frex: Molly the Mechanical Hand, chemistry as it relates to narcotics. The elements which I assume you relate to fantasy are more based in the Christian mythos and I saw them more as an answer to: "What if it happened today?"

But, you said you were sticking it on the Fantasy side of the fence because that's what you prefer and that's fair enough. I jump back and forth across the fence all the time, so I don't tend to worry about the classification as much.

Moondancer
03-20-2005, 04:25 PM
This discussion makes one wonder if the boundary between SF and Fantasy is becoming more fluid. The boundaries, in my mind, have never truly been rock solid although there are a lot of opinions about it. As we move more into a technological age for our present the boundaries seem to blur even more.

Birol
03-20-2005, 11:43 PM
Yes, it is interesting, isn't it, MoonDancer. I hope Julian comes back or others jump in because I'm enjoying the conversation.

I'm just trying really hard to discuss the specifics of the book without giving anything away.

Roger J Carlson
03-21-2005, 04:36 AM
So what about a true Fanasy Space Opera? Seems to me that space is just another location. Why couldn't some if not all of the action happen there?

It could be an epic journey with the characters traveling from planet to planet in search of something. Space battles instead of sword fights. But I could also be something more modern like an extension of the urban fantasy. What if the elves (or other magical creatures) traveled to Mars to get away from Earth and the first astronauts from Earth find them there?

This looks like a good opportunity to do 'world-building'. Not only would you have to create a new system of magic (or apply an old one to new circumstances), but the choice of 'worlds' is nearly infinite.

Moondancer
03-21-2005, 07:03 AM
I'm just trying really hard to discuss the specifics of the book without giving anything away.

I tried to do that with a critique groupbecause details can change if something isn't working... totally confused one of them but just talking it through helped me make some decisions.

Moondancer
03-21-2005, 07:06 AM
So what about a true Fanasy Space Opera? Seems to me that space is just another location. Why couldn't some if not all of the action happen there?

It could be an epic journey with the characters traveling from planet to planet in search of something. Space battles instead of sword fights. But I could also be something more modern like an extension of the urban fantasy. What if the elves (or other magical creatures) traveled to Mars to get away from Earth and the first astronauts from Earth find them there?

This looks like a good opportunity to do 'world-building'. Not only would you have to create a new system of magic (or apply an old one to new circumstances), but the choice of 'worlds' is nearly infinite.


Well, there again you can look to television. SciFi Channel has all kinds of series that would fit that description... whether it's on TV or in a book it's much the same thing... the new BattleStar Galactica Series, Stargate SG-1, Farscape.. I would term them all space operas or, in the case of SG-1, urban fantasy.

Julian Black
03-21-2005, 11:40 AM
I wouldn't say the rest of the story is set in fantasy. Frex: Molly the Mechanical Hand, chemistry as it relates to narcotics. The elements which I assume you relate to fantasy are more based in the Christian mythos and I saw them more as an answer to: "What if it happened today?"

For me, "Fantasy" is a pretty broad term, and it does blur over into what others might consider SF. If there is a book with lots of interesting new technology, but that also incorporates magical or supernatural (non-scientific) elements in a significant way, I'll end up calling it Fantasy. I admit I tend to think of SF in terms that emphasize "hardware" (spaceships, computers, bioengineering, etc.) rather than "software" (mythology, magic, religion, etc.).

I haven't read Only Begotten Daughter in a couple of years, now, but the plot elements that I recall best are the ones that are most closely linked to fantasy and mythology. Without giving any plot details away, it's the classic hero's journey aspects of the story that stand out for me. There is some interesting technology that starts and later helps further that journey, but from my way of looking at it the supernatural--the fantastic--remained at the forefront.


But, you said you were sticking it on the Fantasy side of the fence because that's what you prefer and that's fair enough. I jump back and forth across the fence all the time, so I don't tend to worry about the classification as much.

I should dig it out and re-read it--not so I can make any definitive claims about which marketing category it belongs in (because that's pretty silly), but because I honestly never thought of it as SF, despite those elements. I'd like to try reading it from that angle.

Julian Black
03-21-2005, 11:54 AM
So what about a true Fanasy Space Opera? Seems to me that space is just another location. Why couldn't some if not all of the action happen there?

It could be an epic journey with the characters traveling from planet to planet in search of something. Space battles instead of sword fights.

I think the original Star Wars trilogy fits that description. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but really--it's a classic fantasy story that just happens to be set in a galaxy far, far, away. Sure, there are space battles, but there are also wizards (the Jedi) and magic (using the Force).

Julian Black
03-21-2005, 12:12 PM
And, of course, the whole Star Wars-as-fantasy has already been thoroughly hashed out on another thread, which I only got around to reading tonight...

maestrowork
03-21-2005, 05:33 PM
I think the original Star Wars trilogy fits that description. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but really--it's a classic fantasy story that just happens to be set in a galaxy far, far, away. Sure, there are space battles, but there are also wizards (the Jedi) and magic (using the Force).

Lookie look: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=124852#post124852

;)

Mr Underhill
03-24-2005, 07:35 AM
Is it impossible to have a fantasy that involved space travel? Even if the space travel was by magical means? Aren't there possibilities for creating a spaceship that worked by magic? Are these ideas forever banned from fantasy?Not at all. I believe I saw a recent arrival on the SF&F bookshelf that has exactly this premise - spaceships are operated by magic, and they're actual wooden sailing ships with some kind of magical bubble keeping the air in. There were elves and dwarves and so forth that were simply alien races.

Then you have other books where the line between magic and science is blurred. One of my favorites is Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile series, where an alien race takes the roles of the Celtic Tuatha De Danaan (elves) and their enemies the Fir Bolg (goblins and ogres and the like). They arrived in a spaceship, but they mainly do "magic" through the agency of mental "metapsychic" powers. Occasionally they'll whip out a laser cannon or an antigrav sled, but they seem to consider that cheating. Technically that story is set six million years in the past, but it involves humans from your future, plus aliens, spaceships, beam weapons and time travel. There are a number of settings for this type, what you might call a science fiction "emulation" of fantasy. May and Bradley's Trillium books, Stasheff's books, etc.

There are two other absolutely classic SF&F works that are essentially fantasy though set in the far future. Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun books and Jack Vance's Dying Earth series. In the first humans have gone to the stars, but that was long ago they are back to a renaissance level of technology. Perhaps things have even cycled several times. You have both magic in the Clarke's 3rd Law sense, plus instances of what appears to be actual magic magic, such as raising spirits of the dead by contacting a powerful being from a distant star and healing people with a religious relic.

Vance's books are a fully magical world set billions of years in the future, when the sun is faltering, or about to go red giant or something. They long ago abandoned science and now do things by magic, including things like traveling out to neutron stars to collect powerful talismans. Incidentally, the original D&D magic system where the spell disappears from your mind as soon as you cast it is based on Vance's magic in those books.

Oh, and we haven't even got into the point that many classic fantasy works are not in the past nor the future - they are set in a different cosmos entirely. Sometimes people are even able to travel between Earth and the other plane: Thomas Covenant, Elric, Narnia, Zimiamvia, Zelazny's Amber books... Those all have worlds where magic works that run parallel to the modern Earth timeline.

Zolah
04-14-2005, 12:05 AM
Orson Scott Card's excellent book 'Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy' addresses this topic in some detail. He basically says that science fiction is what he points at when he says science fiction, and the same with fantasy. He mentions that, to some people, fantasy is a story where things happen that could not possibly happen given the laws of nature (magic, faeries) and science fiction is a story where new laws of science are discovered which give people the ability to do things which appear magical (space or time travel for example), but calls that definition 'bunk!'. His view was that how a story feels is incredibly important - plastic and rivets are science, woods and witches are fantasy.

An example of this might be Diana Wynne Jones' book 'The Year of the Griffin', where characters use magic to do gene-slicing and genetic modification, ship goods such as oranges in from 'off-world' and travel to the moon using a sphere of compressed air. Reading that description you might think it could be either fantasy or science fiction, but no one reading it could call it anything but fantasy. There are wizards, dragons and griffins. It's fantasy.

In 'Only You Can Save Mankind' by Terry Pratchett, a boy enters the world of a computer game (described as Game Space) in his dreams and finds the remnants of all the ancient civilisations (such as Space Invaders) that humans have fought against and unwittingly wiped out. He realises that the ScreeWee (scaley dragon-like creatures, the Enemy in a popular computer game) are NOT evil, and helps to lead them to a mythical land beyond Game Space, where they can be safe at last. We're never quite sure if all this is actually real or if the boy is using these dreams to hide from reality as his home life disintegrates. Again, you might read the description and think it could go either way - but because there are space ships made of metal and plastic, ray-guns and aliens, no one could call it anything but sci-fi.

The first DragonRider books were definitely fantasy, even though McCaffrey showed us that we were in the future. The definition blurred as her Pern civilisation developed, and plastic and rivets crept into common use. The Chronicles of Morgaine are based on a scientific idea (worm-holes), but they are fantasy, no question.

I personally agree with OSC. What I point at when I say 'science fiction' IS science fiction, and the same with fantasy.

katiebug57
04-14-2005, 06:22 PM
I'm struggling through the first major edit of a middle grade urban fantasy. My "kids" begin in Maine, current year, and end up in Nova Scotia, again, current year. I really like working with urban fantasies because I don't have the burden of world creation. World creation is very daunting to me, because I don't know much about armies and war, politics, etc.

With my urban fantasy, I certainly do have to blend the reality with the fantasy, which presents its own special challenges, but it seems to be working for me. Also, I get to deal with what I already know: the here and now (even if I have to do a lot of research about places I haven't been, climate, flora and fauna, etc.).

So, the whole process has been enjoy--except for the current revision, because I am stuck and rewriting chapters 25 and 26 (never revised before now), and it's a real pain in the butt!

Katiebug

preyer
04-15-2005, 11:27 AM
i mentioned somewhere an idear that had our society set in the near future doing an achaeological dig of an ancient town drown in magick. i thought that would have some interesting conversations contained therein between scientists, diggers, religious types, etc.. you could also mirror the story to tell how the old town came to such a fate, somewhat like uncovering pompei. i love the notion of that story-telling technique, using it for one WIP called 'the blood queen.' i love seeing resplendant mansion and strong castles full of characters of the time, then visiting them with the modern characters as the places are wrecks and ruins. that idea just turns me on. :)

i've mentioned before, 'preyers' (hm, i should really try to get that published some year) is set on earth after all humanity is dead for an indeterminable time, and is raised from the dead to fight the last war between good and evil. magick exists there, and the war is going splendidly for the good guys... until the baddies resurrect old technology in the form of machine guns and pretty much romps over the city of God on earth. there's really no comment on genre or focus on theme there as much as it just, well, seeming pretty damn cool to me. at the same time, i'd hardly argue with someone who ever wanted to read a depth into something i didn't do intentionally, lol.

still, i tend to like my fantasy more defined apart from sci-fi. nothing wrong with combining them, just not my personal taste. i reckon it's just as 'easy' to tweak the question to read, 'can sci-fi exist in the past?' (as an aside, 'the long time ago...' part really comes into question in one of the expanded universe books (forget which one-- most of 'em are pretty forgettable, but this was one of the good ones, 'shadows of the empire,' i believe), when luke skywalker is standing on his balcony sipping hot chocolate. it's specifically called that and mentioned as having come from another planet far away. i'm not a food historian, but 'long ago' can only go back as far as hot chocolate, right? 'long ago' is appropriately vague enough to put a chink in the chain... up until it's contradicted, or at least weeded down to some timeframe, in literary canon.)

here's an idear fer ya: rumrunners. smugglers. bootleggers.

i can hear it now: 'what, o great one, dost thou meanest by thatith?'

well, i'll tell ya. you're in space, so it's got a sci-fi thing going on, but since magick is universally banned by the gov't, people use a complex system of smuggling magick to those who want it, because, come on, if magick came in a can we'd all buy it. maybe people can get together in space speakeasies and have their fun with it, maybe even showing off what they can do onstage in a talent show (i'm thinking some funky version of '8 mile' here). off the top of my head, i'm thinking some kid grows up in a speakeasy, deserted by some pirate captain, with a little 'goodfellas' template thrown in for the helluvit.

magick in a can.... cool. i'd buy a case, wouldn't you? just make sure you buy some high proof, not some bathtub magick cut with formaldehyde and gasoline. always buy the natural stuff, though: that synthetic gargabe will give you gas.

since the gov't hides everything else, makes sense they'd hide magick, too. but, as our near-future world hurls towards implosion, maybe magick needs to be leaked out to fix the economy and energy concerns. indeed, my WIP is based on our world a few hundred years from now where people depend on wishes granted by the genie.

i've considered stories where magick has been discovered in anything from the veins in marble to architecture. i even had one story (which kicked as s) about a violin virtuoso finding a lost etude by nicolo paganini (a historical person, very interesting: read about him) which was really a spell to bring him back to earth from hell. ...and hell followed with him, naturally.

i think it was fallenangel who's idea was to keep spells on a laptop. there's a lot you could do with that.

the thing with magick as the engine for a spaceship is that's just an idea, not a plot. do electric toothbrushes work by magick, too? what about mundane things like computers and plumbing? essentially, you wouldn't really need a computer as much as you'd have a magick mirror, eh? still, these are just details. if the details are such for no other reason than to be different, what's the point of that? i mean, if the bad guy can pull out a blaster just as easily as a wand, why would you do that outside of just being bored with the genre? how many places can you go with the premise anyway? stories where tech meets magick, where magick starts to fail, where magick is mistaken for tech or vice versa, where both exist and there's a battle between the two. are there any more? i mean, doing a robinson crusoe in space where magick is the norm would just be pointless.

while not adverse to the notion (obviously), it has to be more than just a gimmick. if you can't justify why magick supplants technology, why would anyone read it? and if you have to add huge amounts of backstory to explain it, you could just be digging yourself into a hole unless there's some significant theme propping it up.

if otherwise stated, i'm going to assume space travel through a flimsy bubble is some form of technology. depending on how it's done, of course, more often than not i'll probably be asking myself why there's magick in my sci-fi story.

fallenangelwriter
04-15-2005, 06:15 PM
I reiterate: Magic IS technology

preyer
04-15-2005, 10:19 PM
be that as it may, most people don't share that viewpoint, nor to they have an advanced definition of magick. i venture to say that even an average SF/F reader (and i give us props for not being the dullest blades in the drawer) draws sharp distinction, perhaps subconsciously, between magick and technology. there may be a little middle-ground or gray area there for the purposes of a story, though i have to wonder if most will ever truly believe it's true or a real possibility beyond a suspension of disbelief. an avid reader will be subjected to so many varying definitions and viewpoints that yet another definition, no matter how established the notion in the author's personal life, can be inconsequential. does that make sense? it's rather like saying 'my company makes the best tasting dog food on the market.' and that may be true, but how do you measure it to convince other people?

now, i understand what you say is something you entirely believe in, but if i didn't know how you thought about it and read your book, it would probably be just another magick system or a story with a twist. there may something about it i'd remember from the explanation of magick that i'd file away and add to like a string on a ball of twine, something that's added to my own overall definition of magick. by the end, my definition isn't going to match anyone else's, especially the more i think about it. as a writer, i sure do want to write with passion and conviction right up to the point where my opinions stop being entertainment and become preachifying (that's why you do it through your characters, eh?). the simplified 'magick IS technology' is something i believe you believe in as fact.

and i think there's a logic in that statement that possibly might contain a flaw when you apply it to a story, that is even in a magick society non-magick technology will be something people naturally strive for. by far most magick-users are a special breed in fantasy, but if magick truly is technology in a story, you might have carts that float because the wheel had never been invented. it goes to say that if the wheel hasn't been invented, neither have gears. no gears means no building blocks of, well, anything. imagine for a moment where we'd be without gears. we'd literally still be in the middle ages, and that's if we're lucky, i'm guessing (maybe we'd make it up to the renaissance... maybe). so, if you're only a nominal magick-user in a story, a whole world of opportunity is lost unless your character's goal is to improve on magick by making it smaller, faster and cheaper. the point is that if you minused out technology from you society, the distinctions between those who can and those who can't use it are very sharp where your society is too lopsided to exist indefinitely. your society would most likely be headed straight for revolt if the non-magick users are left to use just what's given to them.

i don't believe a strictly magickal society is plausible over the long haul. everyone using it at the same level even has its flaws because eventually, humans being humans, we'd will stumble across technology. i'd be hep to a story of a magick society that mirrors the industrial age up to the work situations we're going through now, but just as a twist. guess some ancient curse could exist where all wheels break on their own or where gears explode like grenades just to keep people dependant on magick (hm, an interesting slant, no?), but in an everyday sense 'magick IS technology' is a concept that most people, myself included, don't, won't or can't grasp nor give it much reflection outside a story setting. so, what do you mean by your statement in a nutshell?

Medievalist
04-15-2005, 10:52 PM
but in an everyday sense 'magick IS technology' is a concept that most people, myself included, don't, won't or can't grasp nor give it much reflection outside a story setting. so, what do you mean by your statement in a nutshell?

That's historically inaccurate. Blacksmiths were historically regarded as magic-workers, as were millers. In the middle ages, magic and technology lived side by side--we have charms and spells for keeping blades sharp, for removing the pain of menstrual cramps and childbirth (both of these remedies consisted of a chemical/herbal remedy, with some efficacy, and a charm), instructions for the proper collection of herbal ingredients tied to both the lunar sequence and properly prepared ustensils. . . there's a lot of other examples, including brewing and the "magic" of yeast, which was perceived, and treated, as magic.

preyer
04-16-2005, 05:14 AM
i didn't say anything about its historic veracity, rather that a modern reader doesn't have that concept in their minds. there's no magick behind a computer, no magick behind radiation therapy, whatever. thanks for pointing those things out, though.

Medievalist
04-16-2005, 05:22 AM
i didn't say anything about its historic veracity, rather that a modern reader doesn't have that concept in their minds. there's no magick behind a computer, no magick behind radiation therapy, whatever. thanks for pointing those things out, though.

For most people, to take computers, it is magic. They don't know, really, exactly how the computer does certain types of things so well, and so quickly. I frequently show a user a way to use the computer to accomplish a task (most recently, create a reverse concordance ordered by suffix) and the user will look at me with astonished pleasure, and say "It's magic."

In the software industry we frequently refer to a process as doing something "automagically." If you don't know how a lump of raw iron that fell from the sky becomes a sword, if you don't know how a reverse lookup sort is done, then it's "magic."

I keep reminding people of Clarke's "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

He ought to know.

preyer
04-16-2005, 08:58 PM
certainly they don't think it's actual magick, do they? lol.

fallenangelwriter
04-16-2005, 10:15 PM
first of all, i never said anything about a wholly magical society, but, actually, one is entirely possible.

if the magic of the story is such that wizards can make magic things, than it's just like earth. i don't really understand any of the technology that makes my life possible. only a few people can really "use" technology like magic, shaping it to their own ends. most people just accept what the technocrats give them.

if magic worked, and somehow there was no non-magical technology, i could still lead a comfortable life despite not knowing any magic myself. heating companies would employ magicians who would summon fire spirits to heat my house. instead of a Tv i would have a mass-produced crystal ball. i would go to school by flying carpet, rather trhan by car, or possible by a car-like object propelled by magic.

preyer
04-17-2005, 02:14 AM
my point is that without any technology whatsoever, there's stagnation and ignorance. what would you go to school to learn? personally, i doubt there'd be a lot of satisfaction living in a strictly magick society. how would people actually earn their money, assuming there'd be any? i mean, someone isn't going to pay a ditchdigger for a drainage ditch that's going to take a week to do when he can pay half the price and have it done instantly, will he? what type of jobs go towards supporting the economy?

with all due respect, i disagree: a 100% magickal society would not only be a miserable place to live, but it would be doomed to failure. it might be pretty to look at, but suicides would be epidemic. there would be little if anything to live for.

Medievalist
04-17-2005, 05:05 AM
my point is that without any technology whatsoever, there's stagnation and ignorance. what would you go to school to learn? personally, i doubt there'd be a lot of satisfaction living in a strictly magick society. how would people actually earn their money, assuming there'd be any? i mean, someone isn't going to pay a ditchdigger for a drainage ditch that's going to take a week to do when he can pay half the price and have it done instantly, will he? what type of jobs go towards supporting the economy?

with all due respect, i disagree: a 100% magickal society would not only be a miserable place to live, but it would be doomed to failure. it might be pretty to look at, but suicides would be epidemic. there would be little if anything to live for.

If you're creating the society, you deal with those problems. If magic is a governing force, what does it use for energy? Is it always reliable? Does it have any kind of after effect? Does the person who "starts" it have to be nearby? Does the energy come from that person alone? Are there different kinds of magic? Is everyone equally magical? Do you have to learn to use it?

There's lots of example of ways these problems have been solved already--look at those.

Look at the Potterverse--there are squibs, there's a train (why a train when you could apparate?--because not everyone can apparate). There are times when a magical solution isn't appropriate or efficient--just like now. It's often more efficient to hire two typists to type a book and then compare the two files for error correction, than it is to scan the book and proof the file.

There might be social constraints as well--for instance requirements not to use magic under certain circumstances. Think about what people said about electricity, for instance, or Plato on writing. These are both similar kinds of technological /social issues.

brokenfingers
04-17-2005, 05:22 AM
my point is that without any technology whatsoever, there's stagnation and ignorance. what would you go to school to learn? personally, i doubt there'd be a lot of satisfaction living in a strictly magick society. how would people actually earn their money, assuming there'd be any? i mean, someone isn't going to pay a ditchdigger for a drainage ditch that's going to take a week to do when he can pay half the price and have it done instantly, will he? what type of jobs go towards supporting the economy?

with all due respect, i disagree: a 100% magickal society would not only be a miserable place to live, but it would be doomed to failure. it might be pretty to look at, but suicides would be epidemic. there would be little if anything to live for.

Hmmm, I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you need a paradigm shift in your thinking. By that I mean that you're relating your world or a supposed world or the past to this world and this time and this culture. I think that's a mistake.

For instance you ask: what would they go to school to learn?

What do you mean what would they go to school to learn? Only recently in man's history has school become so prevalent. Before that, the only knowledge passed to the younger generation was whatever was needed to survive ie: trades, apprenticeships, the best places to hunt, how to plant, where to find water, etc. Formal skill training was closely guarded.

The only other thing passed on was tradition. Myths, stories, legends that would promote the ideals and values necessary for the young to carry on keep the tribe thriving.

Only those whose family was wealthy or had station (ruled land and were responsible for the well-being of lessers) actually went and were taught things that were not directly related to survival.

If you make your world just like ours, but change the names and locations - it won't ring true.

The key here is that you're unable to believe a magic society could exist and so no reader in this world is ever going to believe it either if you write it.

A writer must believe wholeheartedly in the world he/she creates. Then and only then can they transfer that belief to the reader.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if the writer believes it, it will be so.

That is the magic of being a writer.

The key to being a good writer is being able to transfer that belief to others.

That's our job. That's what we do...

fallenangelwriter
04-17-2005, 05:25 PM
pereyer- the problem is that your assumpitons about magic are different from mine.




my point is that without any technology whatsoever, there's stagnation and ignorance. what would you go to school to learn?
you seem to feel that magic is something limited to a few specific spells, that are instinctively known to those who can use it. in this society, people would study magic in school if they wanted ot be good at it. there would be technologoical advance, as people developed new spells and techniques through the years. i would also point out that most of what people study in school would remain untouched. people still need history, literature, music, social science, psychology. some of these disciplines will be aided by magic- like summoning self-playing instruments- but who's going to compose the pieces they play? even the physical sciences will still be around. we'll styill have physicists, to strudy the basics working of magic, and engineers, because even buildings built by magic need to built so that they don't collapse.

personally, i doubt there'd be a lot of satisfaction living in a strictly magick society.
what makes such a society any different in this respect from ours, or any other?

how would people actually earn their money, assuming there'd be any? i mean, someone isn't going to pay a ditchdigger for a drainage ditch that's going to take a week to do when he can pay half the price and have it done instantly, will he? what type of jobs go towards supporting the economy?
i'm not assuming that magic is instant or effortless, just alot easier than working by hand. people DO pay a distchdigger. that ditchdigger will do it with magic. it may not be instantly- it probably requiresw a long ritual and is very tiring to do repeatedly. the sorts of jobs would be the same as those in our society. whole vast areas would be untouched. writer's, for instance, might have magical recording systems, like a pen that takes dictation, but they're sitll the ones doing the writing. doctors are still around, only using magic with their medicine. lawyers are the same as in our world. then there are the magical jobs, which constitute most of the service and manufacturing indistries being carried out by wizards.

with all due respect, i disagree: a 100% magickal society would not only be a miserable place to live, but it would be doomed to failure. it might be pretty to look at, but suicides would be epidemic. there would be little if anything to live for.

this is a bizzarre nonsequitur. i don't understand how you can predict suicides. actually, this paragraph makes me think that you have a deep prejudice against magic.

that your would begin to p[redict that people would find it valueless and depressing suggests that you simply don't think of magic in anythinglike the way i do. either your conception od the whole concept disturbs you, or you are part of the camp that belives that magic is intrinsically bad, whether because it's granted by evil or simply because it has a detrimental effect on society.

few stories show a setting as magcial as the one i'm describing, but it parellells nothing so well as the mechanization of our society. there were thos ehwo said that advancing technology would ruin our lives, but the luddites were proven wrong.

preyer
04-17-2005, 11:10 PM
i reason i mentioned schools was because it had already been mentioned, so i was just reacting to that statement.

my version of this world in relation to the one of this part of the discussion centre obviously centres around human psychology which shouldn't change despite the genre, setting, or plot. most societies advance. okay, an overwhelming amount of societies advance, particularly technologically, with the exception of a smattering of tribes, though i'd argue there are several reasons why that doesn't/hasn't happened. my notion is that with a substantial population and no technological growth, not only is that seemingly unrealistic but also self-destructive in the long haul.

so, when 'tribe' is mentioned, that's the only conceivable way i can see it working. however, by 'thriving,' it think it has to be said that that term applies only towards its survival. thriving implies growth, which is all but shattered when total magick rules your life, eh? i mean this from a psychological standpoint. i'm not suggesting you should just change the names, of course, but nor would removing humanity's desires to thrive ring true, either. if *any* story has people not doing what people do under the circumstances, it's not going to ring true, no? people just tend to be more industrious than we give them credit for, and even the idle rich is a lifestyle most people, thrown into that situation after forty years of life, might very well be bored with very quickly.

could i write this society? i don't know. i certainly don't believe it could exist and at the same time be free, healthy, and thriving. i'm sure i could if i tweaked it to such a point where it feels forced. and that's just it, i'd have to really force it to fit the mold. or i could throw caution to the wind, write it as a matter-of-course story and rest assured that probably not a lot of readers would question it. i disagree that i as a writer have to believe it, though: i can convince myself along the way if i have to, at least to a point where it gets done, albeit i'd focus on different aspects than another writer might. i'd write from the perspective that it exists, but indeed it's not a great place to live and 'here's why.' obviously, it would have some benefits.

a good writer transfers his beliefs? then a great writer must be one who transfers what he doesn't believe and make it believable to the reader, eh? i'm confident in myself to make it so given the desire to write it like that. after all, that's what being a hack is partially about. (i'm a hack.)

you seem to feel that magic is something limited to a few specific spells, that are instinctively known to those who can use it.' ~ i'm not what i wrote that made you think that. i feel i got across that my entire basis for a completely magick based society requires a vast amount of magick used quite obviously by *everyone*, which is the reason why such a place wouldn't function. quite simply, that ditchdigger won't feel satisfied, and even if he existed, economics would dictate that that process becomes more streamlined, efficient and *cheaper*, which eventually would practically negate the use for all manual labour. if i'm a magician and can sell you the same product in a can for a fourth of the price, you're going to buy it every time.

i thought about many of the professions you mentioned, too. archetechs don't need to build structurally sound buildings as magick would hold them together regardless of how poorly engineered they are. the people who study magick to find out how it works would be such a small segment of the work force as to not make a difference, and by what methods would a 'scientist' use without actual technology to guage things? besides, working to magick better only ensures the society's continual decline.

i thought about art, too. but what about it, really? not every one can be an artist. having so much free time, entertainment would take too much of a priority and unless your entire large population is unlike practically every one that's ever existed, it's prone towards moral decline unless heavily restricted (and that sounds like fun, doesn't it? lol). the eastern societies that have existed for thousands of years is also warlike and repressive. art as a large society's only catharsis may be a poor crutch to support its weight indefinitely. the first sign of moral decay invites religious sects to impose their own morality on everyone, which almost invariably creates yet more problems while ultimately not resolving any.

why would a totally magick society go unsatisfied? i think i've given enough reasons so far, but i'll re-cap, add a few:

it would likely be repressive if it's to survive a long time

there's a basic satisfaction of actually building things, which such a society negates entirely for no other reason than economics

i think you'd naturally have widespread unemployment issues leading to crime and moral destruction (most people *aren't* professionals. the bulk of your work force constitutes those service and manufacturing your society has eliminated. why hire a driver when the cart drives itself?)

the lack of stimulus leads people to self-destructive lifestyles

that society will be sharply divided into haves and have-nots

i guess there're more, but i'm trying to wrap this up. :)

i don't have a prejudice against magick and all your characterizations about me concerning that are plain wrong. i'm saying that in this setting and humans being who humans are, the idleness provided gives way to such a deep innui that people will likely not see the value. people have to have a *purpose* to be satisfied, the society in question removes most of that and replaces it with entertainment for the most part. it's a simple fact that when you take peoples' jobs away from them you increase their chances of suicide. not only that, but some will turn to crime. you seem to think that magick solves everyone's problems, but it just wouldn't. i never said it was valueless or depressing, just that it would be were it the only game in town (and do i have to say yet once more this is based on a technologically stagnant society? saying that technology co-exists with magick then attacking my argument wouldn't be fair, as that's not the premise of my argument.)

i don't have anything against magick. i use it quite often in my stories.

true, the magick society can parallel a technological one, but to say that the results would be the same is just not thinking about it. that, or someone just doesn't have the experience to differentiate between the two and equate one with real-life psychology with the one that should be extrapolated from the fictional one, if that made any sense. while you may think my version of a magickal society is too depressing, i think yours is too ideal. ah, well, so it goes, eh? i guess the only way to resolve it is through writing and seeing which one rings more the true, lol. :)

victoriastrauss
04-19-2005, 04:04 AM
Preyer, why is it "magick" for you (as opposed to "magic")? What difference does the "k" confer?

Not meaning this to be a hostile inquiry at all--I'm just curious, since you consistently use this spelling.

Re: magic vs. technology--two of my books are set in a world in which the magic-users--for various complicated reasons--have come to the belief that the development of technology is deadly to the practice of magic. Technology can't be entirely eliminated--you can't survive if you don't have a plow--but the magic-users have established a social system in which the use and practice of technology is rigidly limited and controlled (being magic-users, they have the means to enforce their will). The culture is stuck at the medieval level, and it is very stagnant indeed. Of course, magic use is just as stagnant, since in order to perpetuate their views the magic-users must control magic as thoroughly as they control technology. One of the central questions of the books (which deal with the unravelling of their power-structure) is whether or not they're correct in their beliefs.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
04-19-2005, 04:10 AM
Good premise, Victoria. I hope it sells well!

fallenangelwriter
04-19-2005, 06:40 AM
Preyer- please, please attempt to think of magic by analogy to technology. your latest post leads me to belive that you are assuming the following thignsd which drastically differ from my vision.

Preyer's version of magic:

magic can do anything

magic is instant

magic is effortless

(less important) magic is usable only by a few people
these are completely different from my basic assumptions.

if magic has the first three porperties, than i don't know what happens. the point of my argument is that a society can exist where magic IS THE TECHNOLOGY, meaning that it acts generally as technology acts.

magic cannot do anything, only what is possible under the laws that govern magic, and only what people have figured out how to do

magic is not instant: magic may save time by allowing things to be done much faster than by hand, but building a building still takes quite some time. in particualr, assuming that it's easier to change existing thigns than create from whole cloth, it would take a truly godlike being to simply wish buildings into existence that stay around for more than a day or two. rather, the building is built, and magic is used to carry stones from place to place to glue one thing to another, to lift and sort and smash and so on. in this way, magic takes to place of modern construction equipment, making the construction of skyscrapers possible, but not the work of an afternoon.

magic is not effortless. few fantasy books portray wizards a able to use magic all day as much as they like. generally, it's tiring, or simply uses a poll of power that can be exhausted, or it shortens its user's lifespan or something.

some corollaries to this:

magic is hard. magic that creates a one time change in a physdical object is relatively easy, but magic that persists over time is a steady drain on its user. architects exist because i'ts cheaper to hire an architect to design a building that will stand up than to hire a dozen or fifty wizards to hold it up with magic. because magic users are in demand and are skilled professionals, busiensses limit the amount of magic they use. even with magical healing, healers become simply doctors, using spells in place of drugs. they're still expensive, and most people prefer to but over-the-counter potions than pay for a visist to a healer for either a more advanced magiuc drug or the equivalent of surgery, a healign ritual (presumeable taxing for the healer.)

most of the other problesm you mention are problems that already exist in today's society, yet have not destroyed it.

you mention satisfaction is building, but whether because of magic or machinery, modern buildings are not built by people carying piles of brisk in their hands. furthermore, many practitioners of abstract jobs take pride in their work. you're a writer, i assume. you aren't actually building anything, but i hope you take pride in your writing.

there is no reason a magical society would need to be mroe repressive thna a technological one. actually, maybe slightly mroe so becausde one effect fo magic is to put more power in individual hands, but there are people of great personal power in today's world, like computer hackers.

in case you didn't notice society is now and always has been devided into have and have-nots. of course, magic would make the divide more obvious if it were all or nothing, but let's assume tat everyone can use a few basic spells. to learn requires both the natural capacity and advanced education. there are academies that teach high school graduates advanced magic, but the prices are too expensive for poor students without scholarships, and minorities are underrepresented in higher-level education. what do you have? our world!

there would be no lack of stimulation, because there would still be work.

you mention service industries being replaced by magic causing unrest. this is true, but remeber two things. for one thing, magic would have been in this society since the beginning and would have slowly advanced, not suddenly meterialized. also, this is something thatother viable societies contend with. people in today's society protest the loss ofm jobs to machinery. automation is automation, whether it's done by robots or golems.

to conclude, nothing that you've said about this society is unique to magic they are all features of means of doing things, any kind of power. that's what i mean by saying that magic and technology are the same.

Throughout this argument, you've voiced scepticism in the value in higher learning, the advantages of labor-saving technologies, the satisfaction in doing nonphysical work, and people's apprectiation for art. the fact that you use magic in your stories doesn't mean you don't think it's bad. i use murder in my stories, after all.

everything you've said seems to indicate that you have a great distrust for magic, would feel it was a bad thing if it existed, and have a similar attitude towards the technology that makes our society function.

HConn
04-19-2005, 06:59 AM
I reiterate: Magic IS technology

I must admit to skimming most of this thread, so my apologies if I'm stepping in something, but Magic does not have to be technology.

Check out Hellblazer: Hard Time (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1563896966/qid=1113879145/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-9429028-6984704?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) for a non-tech style of magic (warning: *very* mature themes and harsh language).

You could also check out Knight's Wyrd, (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1563896966/qid=1113879145/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-9429028-6984704?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) which was written by some dude and his wife. It's another good example of magic that is not structured like technology.

Medievalist
04-19-2005, 09:19 AM
You could also check out Knight's Wyrd, (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1563896966/qid=1113879145/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-9429028-6984704?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) which was written by some dude and his wife. It's another good example of magic that is not structured like technology.


What we have here is a failure to communicate :)

Let's look at the terminology. If you see technology and think "Machines, devices, electricty, motors, springs, pulleys, computers" or some version of that--you're forgetting the core meaning of technology.

Tekne, Greek for "skill." Cognate with text, and textile, among other things, including technologyThe definition of technology that applies in a fantasy context is (via the American Heritage Dictionary (http://www.bartleby.com/61/91/T0079100.html)):


3. Anthropology The body of knowledge available to a society that is of use in fashioning implements, practicing manual arts and skills, and extracting or collecting materials.

Macdonald's Knight's Wyrd fits that definition (as the word wyrd suggests).

The root, magh (http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE292.html), that gives us magic (and magi and magus) also gives us mechanism, machine, mechanic.

Magic is just another technology, another system of knowledge, for affecting the environment around us.

A writer decides how the technology, the magic, operates in the writer's world. The writer creates the technology system.

preyer
04-19-2005, 11:10 AM
thanks for the def, med, but i think it went without saying what was meant by 'technology' by the context.

magick with a 'k' is one of those little idiosyncracies i picked up along the way, as 'daemon.' notice i spell centre and theatre with an 're' instead of 'er,' which, for whatever reason, my teacher taught us how to spell those words. it's merely habit, though 'magick' gets changed to 'magic' depending on the story. if anything, i think it conveys a sort of old-world feel to it. some people might even believe i'm using the word's spelling more correctly than what they're used to. suckers. truth is i've seen it spelled that way a few other times, most notably to me the book, 'the magickal year' (forget the author), about the origins of a lot of religions' symbolism, from pagan to chrisianity. good book (non-fiction, obviously).

"Throughout this argument, you've voiced scepticism in the value in higher learning (in real life, i'm skeptical of people who hold a piece of paper from a cookie-cutter factory that translates education into competence without proof and the culture that education makes one person intrinisically better than someone else. i can't count the people i've known with higher educations that are completely incompetent at their jobs. while i understand the importance of education, our society values that now more than experience, which it's been my experience that that's one great failing we have. certainly, having a masters in literature doesn't make anyone a better writer and someone with talent who knows how to write a story, eh? ideally, the best combination is education, experience *and* talent, but that's far too rare. when you have that, you've got someone who's a free-thinker, outside the box-type, which is fairly impractical in lots and lots of settings. having doubtlessly bored you enough already about it, i'll spare you umpteen examples from personal experience unless you want them. i used to have a theory that about 75% of what you learned in college is completely inapplicable to the profession in question. while i had a few examples already (one minour one being personal experience), i asked my ex-g/f's relative, an ob/gyn, the percentage of what he learned in school goes into what he does. i assumed a doctor would use much, much more of what he learned. nope, he said about 70% was totally worthless. of course, that stuff is good to know), the advantages of labor-saving technologies (there's a big difference between technology replacing certain aspects of dangerous and/or repetitive work and the complete eradication of manufacturing. i can't think of many better ways to destroy your economy than to create the cheapest items possible and have a population too poor to pay for it at any price, which is where we're headed at a pretty fast pace. fortunately, for those who didn't already buy their grandfather clock, wal*mart has cardboard clocks for about forty bucks. i hate poorly made crap-- probably why i buy games for my PS2 moreso than i do for the x-box, which i'm on my third one in two years), the satisfaction in doing nonphysical work (in the context of the discussion, i tried to make it clear by my examples that there's little satisfaction in a job if that job is done for you by magick. however, despite notable exceptions, there are few occupations more satisfying than making something with your own hands, talent or genius. there'd be no satisfaction mixing up a few powders and doing an incantation as opposed to actually doing the labour. ya gotta understand there's difference between putting a roof on by hand than being a secretary can, which probably has very different satisfaction levels (at the risk of sounding sexist, maybe being a man biases me on that, though, and there's probably little satisfaction in a sweatshop situation)), and people's apprectiation for art (depends on a person's definition of 'art.' art is a great veil. people will pervert it. the type of magick i've been discussing has violins playing themselves, a concert of bodiless instruments. the artist telling the chisel where to cut is one thing. a chisel has no soul to convey, not like through music. that's more of a gray area, methinks). the fact that you use magic in your stories doesn't mean you don't think it's bad (i don't think it's bad. i don't think i ever said it was. the fact is, however, when applied to human nature, it's likeliness of it being a corrupting influence is greater than money's). i use murder in my stories, after all."

whew! blah.

DaveKuzminski
04-19-2005, 04:05 PM
One problem that writers should keep in mind when writing a story where magic is available is that the usage has to remain consistent. It won't make sense if magic is available for one purpose at the beginning of the story but not at the end unless a sufficient reason is given.

fallenangelwriter
04-19-2005, 04:12 PM
i'll try to limit my post to two points which specifically rankle with me.

your statement that people would not enjoy doing jobs by magic seems preety baseless to me. i'm not sure it's true, and even if it is, it applies equally to technology.

i'm more sympathetic to your arguments about art. however, there are a few ways around it. first, there's still the joy of composition and invention, of thinking of something and seeing it realized. second, it might be that using magic to create art doesn't work without the skill. perhaps one cannot direct a violin to play a piece unless you know the piece and known how you must make the bow and strings move. third, technology has changed art, too. electric instruments, synthesizers, cd players, and microphones have all changed the way the musical world works. finally, people might still value and appreciate nonmagical performers more than magic-using ones.

You've still failed to show how any the problems you attribute to a magic society would be worse than the ones we already have in our society.

HConn
04-19-2005, 05:04 PM
Macdonald's Knight's Wyrd fits that definition (as the word wyrd suggests).

I don't think it does fit.

Some of the magic in the book, yes, but at the end the magic is different. I don't think it's "available to a society" at all.

Roger J Carlson
04-19-2005, 07:22 PM
What we have here is a failure to communicate :)

Let's look at the terminology. If you see technology and think "Machines, devices, electricty, motors, springs, pulleys, computers" or some version of that--you're forgetting the core meaning of technology.

Tekne, Greek for "skill." Cognate with text, and textile, among other things, including technologyThe definition of technology that applies in a fantasy context is (via the American Heritage Dictionary (http://www.bartleby.com/61/91/T0079100.html)):

The root, magh (http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE292.html), that gives us magic (and magi and magus) also gives us mechanism, machine, mechanic.

Magic is just another technology, another system of knowledge, for affecting the environment around us.

A writer decides how the technology, the magic, operates in the writer's world. The writer creates the technology system.
Seems to me there are two types of "magic" systems. (There may be more, but two is all I can think of right now.)

One assumes that magic is part of the natural world which can be manipulated by people to varying degrees. This type of magic system will lead to a technological type of magic. I use technological in the sense that people will study magic to find ways to make spells more efficient and repeatable. This will inevitably lead to something like the scientific method where new knowledge is built on the back of previous knowledge. Let's call this "Natural Magic".

However, another magical system could be "Supernatural Magic". This is magic that appeals to (or compels) supernatural beings (gods, devils, fairys, etc.) to do things that are impossible by natural means.

Either way, the system has to be consistant. It is unfair to the reader (and probably unpublishable) to have things work one way at the beginning of a story and have them work another way at the end. This is akin to Deus Ex Machina and will get a story bounced.

One pet peeve of mind are stories which change the laws of nature to allow magic but completely ignore how these changes would affect the natural world.

For instance, some time ago I read a story (I can't remember the name now) which changed the laws of nature to reverse entropy. (Entropy is Newton's second law of thermodynamics which states that everything moves from order to disorder. Hot things become cool, concentrated things diffuse, basically things wear out.)

In this story, the longer you used something, the better it became. The longer you used an ax, the sharper it became. So new things were made very crude and rickety, but with use, they became better. This is an interesting concept but it ignores the fact that humans (as well as the rest of nature) could not exist in such a world.

Entropy is one of the fundamental laws of nature and ALL of our bodily functions rely on it. Cells divide a certain number of times, then die. The replication of the cells is never perfect and so copies of copies of copies are made. This is part of the reason that our bodies grow old and die. But if entropy were reversed, our bodies would get better and better. The cells would never die. In fact, this is part of the problem with cancer cells -- they replicate and never die.

The point is that the world-building has to include all of the "natural" laws that we know in addition to the magical system.

HConn
04-19-2005, 08:27 PM
I want to add one more thing about terminology.

The language we use comes (obviously) from our own world. In our world, magic doesn't work (or if you believe in it, I guess you can say it works however you believe it really works).

But we aren't writing about our world. We're writing about another one where magic functions (or functions differently). How the words evolved in our world shouldn't dictate the world-building for our fictional worlds.

That's why I find arguments based on etymology so unconvincing. We're using terms from our reality to describe an alternate, made-up reality; etymology doesn't necessarily fit.

Medievalist
04-19-2005, 09:02 PM
How the words evolved in our world shouldn't dictate the world-building for our fictional worlds.

That's why I find arguments based on etymology so unconvincing. We're using terms from our reality to describe an alternate, made-up reality; etymology doesn't necessarily fit.


I get that, I really do. But for the purposes of this forum, it seemed legitimate.

The thing about world building, and I think world building is a huge attraction for many SF/fantasy writers, is that writers have to go through the kind of questioning process we're engaging in here to figure out the rules (or the tekne!) of their world. If they decide magic is as ubiquitous as electricity in their world then they figure out what that means. It's their world.

HConn
04-19-2005, 09:58 PM
As data points go, Lisa, you've brought out some excellent ones. Thanks for making those informative posts.

I just didn't want people to feel limited to those good ideas.

/shrug. No big deal.

preyer
04-19-2005, 10:12 PM
if your characters and population are humanoid with humanoid emotions and basically the same kind of psychology as we do (which by far most fantasy is, even if the MCs aren't human), and then the setting is there where my suspension of disbelief is sustained, the world still has to be plausibly functional for there to be any realism. for example where magick *does* exist, i think there would naturally be a fundamentally different attitude in philosophy which would over time change certain aspects of people's psychology somehow, no? there would be an inherit difference in the basis of thought and reaction when magick supplants technology, eh? even in a society where magick is a matter-of-course, i think that deep down there would be some differences between them and us.

to me, saying 'magic is technology' is like saying 'politics is philosophy.' that is, it's comparing orange coloured apples to red oranges. it can be close, but in the end analysis i just don't buy it on a lot of levels and one tastes different than the other.

sorry, FA, not sure how many more ways i can say the same thing to get my point across. providing more examples seems pretty fruitless, so i'll just let it go. :)

Moondancer
04-19-2005, 10:28 PM
Politics is philosophy; at least one form of philosophy.

fallenangelwriter
04-20-2005, 01:39 AM
i guess i agree.


I hadn't heard this particular argument before, although it's an interesting one. i don't happen to belive that magic mwould change our psychology any more than magic does. of course, sci-fi does sometimes assume changes in psychology, and fantasy is akin to sci-fi.

"fruitless" indeed.

DaveKuzminski
04-20-2005, 06:52 AM
Fantasy or science fiction or whatever genre, the Hierarchy of Needs is still quite valid, even for aliens, trolls, elves, magicians, and such. Intelligent beings simply have more needs than do animals, but all have needs. Determine those and you can come up with a lot of justification for some scenes in your stories.

preyer
04-20-2005, 11:57 AM
don't get me wrong, technology, too, has changed our psychology, but in a different way than i believe magick would. imagine the thoughts of our descendants a hundred years from now were aliens to land tomorrow. and while i'm not saying every possible result would have radically different outcomes, still there would, i believe, likely be differences worth noting at points. that requires maybe a bit of a polymath's ability to connect the dots, but it would require a lot of thought on the subject i don't think most writers necessarily want to put into a story when there's already so much on their plate, and if they can get away with it as it stands, why bother? i'd have to actually write it out to be very specific, and who knows?, i just may prove myself wrong, which has happened. once. when i was three. in a different life. in a galaxy far, far away.

i specifically chose 'politics is philosophy' of all analogies for the reason of using overly-simplified statements that are only partially true. of course a person's political leanings betray their own philosophy, but to suggest that there's nothing else involved is giving the statement far, far too much credit.

i agree with DK's last post. it's really something worth pondering at great length. a good chunk of an effective writer's life should be spent observing people, eh? what humans need is a good start, then what do specific people need, then what does your character need and is that true for his character's thoughts and actions. sure, some basic needs are universal, but then you kinda need to know, or at least base on something like research or observation, why, say, a man's needs are different from a woman's, or in a broader sense why an american's needs differ from a japanese man's (or an elf's versus a dwarf's, or a man a thousand years into the future versus the space princess he's in love with).

fallenangelwriter
04-20-2005, 06:43 PM
What makes you think magic would have a different effect on us from the effect of technology? I'm not challenging you, just sincerely curious.

preyer
04-21-2005, 01:30 AM
well, like i said, i'd have to seriously plot it out to be very specific.

what pops into my mind off-hand is magick would have a profound effect on religion. consider how science has put innumerable holes in peoples' beliefs; with magick, i'd venture to say you'd go the opposite direction. that may be good or bad depending on what slant you gave it. in essence, faith would be destroyed where the power of god or gods is empirically evident in everything. faith is a highly motivational factor for a lot of people, as i'm durn sure you can attest to, no?

even the introduction of limited magick would have terrific ripple effects on science and technology, i think. for example, why would there be watchmakers with all their intricate cogworks and gears if a small magick box does the same thing at a fraction the cost (assuming, of course, the reason magick is used is for cost and time savings) and time. certainly if you can have a violin play itself, you can also have a factory where clothes sew themselves, too. one of the main problems is discovery is done a lot of time by accident. the slinky never started out as a toy. i think plastic was an accident (not too sure on that, though). the idea is that without human accidents and trial and error, technology grows more stagnant. magick will only do what you want it to do, like a computer, right? at least in the terms we're using here, i mean. when you don't *have* to invent things, they probably wouldn't be invented, and if they were, they'd likely be too expensive to manufacture, design and employ people to make them when some magickal alternative could be made.

i'll try to get back to this soon, but i've suddenly some chores to do. :)

fallenangelwriter
04-21-2005, 07:04 PM
the point about faith in intriguing and well taken. of course, that's assuming magic is linked to a god or gods. one might write a story that the source of magic is unknown: some belive it to be god, others simply think of it as a natural part of the universe.


yuour point about watchmakers and the like is still unclear to me. the wizard who makes the magic box WOULD BE a watchmaker. modern clothing is rarely made by hand anyway, so magical automation isn't that different. computers don't always do what you want them to (at least mine don't), and anyway, presumeably people don't always perform their spells correctly.

as for technological advance, of cours epeople would invent things. people would constantly be developing new spells and enchanments. of course, when working out enw spells, their would be lots of accidents and unintended side effects, just as when inventing new machinery.
the final point, about how things wouldn't be invented becaus eof magical alternatives, completely ignores the premise of this debate, whether a COMPLETELY MAGICAL society could exist. obviously such a society wouldn't invent thigns for which magic could be used, thaty's the premise. they WOULD still invent things, specifcally, magic things.

preyer
04-22-2005, 02:37 AM
hm, i thought i ceded that point about magick being the only 'invention' (inasfar as recipes for a new stew can be called inventions, at least), but if i hadn't even alluded to that, i'll say it now. :) part of my debate absolutely hinges on a rather more fantastickal magick, where pots stir themselves, courses of rivers are altered in a day, fields plow themselves and such, basically where there's no scientific validity behind any of the common everyday things. it's also based on the principle that merchants and their ilk will maximize profits, which tends to be by removing as much of the workforce involved while using the cheapest materials possible. on the surface that sounds like a no-brainer, and it is, pretty much, up to the point where quality and safety is compromised to save money, which is also unfortunately a tendacy outside a crafts guild situation, and even then, the blacksmith able to make five hundred horse shoes a day will ruin the competition able to only twenty a day.

the idea is that even with technology as an aid, you still have to actually do things. people will still have to put wallpaper up: if magick does it for you, and all mundane things like that (most jobs being mundane), i think your basically law-abiding citizens will be very bored, which is a gateway to other things. i postulate that it would only be a matter of time until some construction merchant in league with a corrupt guild council would find a magickal alternative to people doing that job. in that kind of system there's a saturation point (which we're coming to in our own real society) where you can't keep going on the same course all willy-nilly with nothing but profits as your goal and expect to keep selling the same thing at the same price. (i could give plenty of real-life examples of bad business practices i've witnessed firsthand, one of the worst being to use even cheaper materials or ingredients and charging *more* money to stay 'competitive.' that's rather an aside, i guess.)

which society is more likely to thrive, magickal or technological? i hestitate to even start a story like that because it would be too emcompassing and i'm not sure there'd be enough interest in it. a short story wouldn't do it justice.

i think ultimately that magick is a corrupting influence. it's power. given to everyone, you very much create a certain situation there, i think. i'm not talking about the voodoo priestess' power of suggestion, rather the ability to do (fictionally) do very real things with the absolute minimum effort. that's why i say on the outside everything would be very pretty: easy to plant a garden or maintain your cobbled streets if there's little manpower or logistics involved. assuming men are men are men are men, magick would be tremendously emasculating. you might have a very dour society of men. men would just be walking sperm banks, otherwise mostly useless. remove every reason men are proud to be men and you might see an exodus of them retreating into the woods and totally eshewing magick altogether (unless, of course, the wives secretly conspire to make their hunting expeditions particularly successful, though woe to them who conspire even for the benefit of the home and/or community, for the lies will always be out in time. i've seen often enough in real life where a woman undermines a man's masculinity and wonders why he's pisssed off all the time to see there's character potential there. stupid as it sounds, most men would rather half starve than have their wives cast spells on the wildlife that makes them slow and dumb. it's a pride thing. :))

i have to wonder, too, if magick would make a society too homogenous.

then again, i believe most people, given the option, wouldn't choose immortality on earth once they seriously contemplated what that entails.

fallenangelwriter
04-22-2005, 09:43 PM
I'll take your points in order.

the reason i'm hammering on the point that magic is an invention is because you keep hammering on the point that society would not develop. it would. new magic wouyld always be being developed.

you say that with technology as an aid, you still have to do things. so it is with magic. even putting wallpaper up with a spell is work, if not as much as some other means. technology has made everything easier than doing thigns by ahnd or with stone tools, and so does magic.

your repeated points about money and merchants ar elost on me. except that you don't like business owner,s i'm not sure what you're trying to say. after all, money-grubbing exists in real life, and should exist equally much in a magic world.

"Magic is a corrupting influence". your words. do you still maitain you don't think magic is "bad".

people retreat to the woods to avoid modern technology. it's likely that the amish would avoid magic just as they avoid machinery. your points about men seem stereotypical and reather superficial. men frequently love technology, and therefore magic. the same sort of man who loves fiddling with computers and car engines will always be at work upgrading and customizing the household enchantments.

Why do you think magic leads to homogeneity?

what does immortality have to do with this?

preyer
04-23-2005, 11:28 PM
magick in and of itself isn't bad. but, like money, it's how it would be used. money is a corrupting influence, too, 'the root of all evil,' so the saying goes, one which i don't buy into personally.

homogenity would derive from the lack of diversity, which i believe magick would tend to lead to. i'd venture to say that technology opens up paths while magick keeps along the same lines at best, if not striving with human intervention to become as one-track as possible.

my characterizations of men may be stereotypical only because they're true. stereotypes have a bad rap. they have a bad rap because a lot of them tend to be true enough to embarass someone. and the fact that stereotypes almost always focus on the negative just gives people with more good heartedness than clues the naive idea that 'certainly that can't be the case.' some of them are wrong, of course, some aren't. i'll tell you this, though: men want to be men, not pale versions of themselves domesticated into submission. this has held true throughout history up until our modern times when men have been actively emasculated or, perhaps worse, have impossible expectations heaped on us (women should know how that feels, but yet you have to understand there's a different perspective involved. saying it's the same for men and women would be flat-out ignorant which would probably carry over into nonrealistic characters).

i don't have a problem with business owners at all. i'm trying to become one myself. board-owned corporations out to make as much money as possible with absolutely no concept of loyalty to their workforce using whatever excuse they can to screw people out of every last dime, yeah, i have a problem with that. (i just heard where the stock i've got in my ex-company has been devalued to junk status, which i was afraid would happen and didn't buy any, only taking what was given when my company spun-off from GM. it was a complete farce and i didn't buy into it. i predicted from the start the company was designed for obsolescence within fifteen years in a plan to shift to third-world countries. plenty of corporations tend to be penny-wise and dollar dumb, but it's always the workers who suffer. you don't have to look far to find some CEO or union guy going down in scandal. don't worry about them, though, even gross, almost criminal, negligence is still worth ten million bucks to buy out the remainder of their contract. for what it's worth, i don't trust politicians, either.)

this is rather an aside, but interesting nonetheless:

(discussin technologic obsolescence and given examples of how record were replaced by 8-track and reel-to-reel, then to cassettes, then to tapes to CDs, etc., charles panati states in his book 'browser's book of endings, 1989, penguin books):

'at no previous time in history has humankind experienced such rapidfire and costly turnover. rapid obsolescence may have other consequences. psychologists believe that the fast turnover rate of products can breed a mentality of short-term reasoning, philosophy, and expectations that infiltrates all aspects of life. in our relationships, will we replace each other long before our actual usefulness and liftem are up? are we doing it already?'

the implications of this statement, if true, i think only needs a person to connect a few dots. forgive me for not spelling it out in detail over fifty posts, but since i obviously can't impress upon anyone the difference between magick doing your work and doing your work by hand, even if using tools to do so, i very much doubt hammering on my own conclusions of this statement would be much more than an excercise in futility, too. so, in the interests of space and time and effect, if someone wanted to equate this statement to the discussion and find something to agree with or not, that's better than having me spell it out for them, eh?

the thing about immortality illustrates my way of thinking. i think a lot of people have the idea that everyone would immediately jump into a fountain of youth. maybe once if they're old. i said it because immortality has some magickal connections. discard it as you will. :)

Sharon Mock
04-24-2005, 12:15 AM
Every time I see this thread I think, "If fantasy HAS to exist in the past, then I'm in trouble!" (My WIP is a fantasy set in a technologically advanced world, in which genetic engineering forms an important secondary plot point. But magic is the engine that drives the story, so.)

One thing I've discovered is that magic and technology mean very different things thematically. Magic -- as a force manipulated by the "chosen," with the gifted more potent than the ordinary -- is intrinsically elitist. Technology is intrinsically egalitarian -- even if it's invented by a sole genius, its power is distributed to the masses.

Which isn't to say that you can't write egalitarian fantasy or fascist science fiction. Far from it. (Magical power can be distributed to the masses. Technology can be controlled and used to oppress the masses.) But you'll have an easier time of it if you're aware of what you have to work against in the raw material.

It's dangerous, I think, to create a world in which magic completely replaces technology in a one-to-one correspondence. Unless you have a clear reason for doing so, it runs the risk of being a gimmick, nothing more.

In my WIP, technology rules the day. Magic is mostly parlor tricks. Except for that one world-altering event back in the past, that everybody's still trying to deal with and recover from two hundred years later. It's about, among other things, the role of the Hero in a commonwealth state. (And it doesn't have particularly good things to say...)

fallenangelwriter
04-24-2005, 02:35 AM
Every time I see this thread I think, "If fantasy HAS to exist in the past, then I'm in trouble!" (My WIP is a fantasy set in a technologically advanced world, in which genetic engineering forms an important secondary plot point. But magic is the engine that drives the story, so.)
makes sense. BTW, do the genetice engineers use any magic? i wouldn't imagine magic would be the main force behind something like that, but might be part of the process.

One thing I've discovered is that magic and technology mean very different things thematically. Magic -- as a force manipulated by the "chosen," with the gifted more potent than the ordinary -- is intrinsically elitist. Technology is intrinsically egalitarian -- even if it's invented by a sole genius, its power is distributed to the masses.
the perception of magic as elitist comes, in my mind, from the medieval societies which fantasty usually represents, whicha re very elitist. the concept of magic as innate fits perfectly with the idea that nobles are intrinsically better. i'm convinced that in a modern society, magic would be as free and open to everyone as modern technology. in my WIP, which is not modern but rennaisance-ish, only the gifted can create magic, but anytone can use it. the "wizards" create objects which contain spells, like wands, potions, statues, talismans and so on, while anyone can use them.
Which isn't to say that you can't write egalitarian fantasy or fascist science fiction. Far from it. (Magical power can be distributed to the masses. Technology can be controlled and used to oppress the masses.) But you'll have an easier time of it if you're aware of what you have to work against in the raw material.

It's dangerous, I think, to create a world in which magic completely replaces technology in a one-to-one correspondence. Unless you have a clear reason for doing so, it runs the risk of being a gimmick, nothing more.
true enough. however, I wouldn't usually make a world completely devoid of technology and have agic completely replace it. i'm arguing that it could be done only to further my argument thatn magic is a technology. anyway, even if i did, it wouldnm't be exactly like modern technology, but for the sake of the argument i'm playing up the similarities.

In my WIP, technology rules the day. Magic is mostly parlor tricks. Except for that one world-altering event back in the past, that everybody's still trying to deal with and recover from two hundred years later. It's about, among other things, the role of the Hero in a commonwealth state. (And it doesn't have particularly good things to say...)

sounds good.

Sharon Mock
04-24-2005, 10:39 AM
BTW, do the genetice engineers use any magic? i wouldn't imagine magic would be the main force behind something like that, but might be part of the process.

Magic is its own thing, pretty much deliberately separated from everything else and isolated into its own little community. It's not even called magic any more, though that's what it is. Mostly it works on the perception of things. With enough power/effort it can alter the nature of the thing itself, though that's been mostly lost after the aforementioned World-Altering Event.


the perception of magic as elitist comes, in my mind, from the medieval societies which fantasty usually represents, whicha re very elitist. the concept of magic as innate fits perfectly with the idea that nobles are intrinsically better. i'm convinced that in a modern society, magic would be as free and open to everyone as modern technology.


When magic's inherent to the world and not to the mage -- when pretty much anyone can manipulate it -- that definitely means something different and more egalitarian. It's not a common system of magic, but I think all that means is that we love our Hero stories, and we want our Heroes to be special.

The superhero is the magician of the modern age. :)


in my WIP, which is not modern but rennaisance-ish, only the gifted can create magic, but anytone can use it. the "wizards" create objects which contain spells, like wands, potions, statues, talismans and so on, while anyone can use them.

Are these objects readily available? Scarce and valuable? Hoarded and manipulated by those in power? Used to oppress those who can't afford them? Are there laws controlling their use and purpose?

So many possibilities... :)

fallenangelwriter
04-24-2005, 07:36 PM
Are these objects readily available? Scarce and valuable? Hoarded and manipulated by those in power? Used to oppress those who can't afford them? Are there laws controlling their use and purpose?

So many possibilities... :)

both. neither.

first of all, although in principle spells can be used by anyone, many people are too supersitious, preferring to leave it to the wizards to use them. as for availability, ti depedns on the spell. most villages have a wizard, often also the town's priest, who knows some basic magic and makes spells for healing, protecting, crop-blessing, irrigating and so on. these spells are generally available, with teh general arrangement being that the village mage is fed and clother by the village as a whole, in return for which he gives his spells whoever needs them.

advanced magic, on the other hand, especially spells useful in battle, are hoarded by the wealthy and powerful and serve as a tool of the nobility. even then, wizards try to maintain thier independence of any one regime, and try to keep their spells for themselves rather than distributing them. the exception is one small mountainous nation, who have long depended on magic for defense to make up for thier small numbers. everyone in their armies are trained in the effective use of spells, and they have a group of wizards make spells for the rank and file troops to carry into battle. as a result, most ocmmoners are familiar with magic, and while the best wizards work in the army, those of lesser power cheerfully sell their work to the general populace.

fallenangelwriter
04-26-2005, 06:20 PM
magick in and of itself isn't bad. but, like money, it's how it would be used. money is a corrupting influence, too, 'the root of all evil,' so the saying goes, one which i don't buy into personally.
what makes magic so especially corrupting? "power corrupts," they say. how is magic worse than any other power?


homogenity would derive from the lack of diversity, which i believe magick would tend to lead to. i'd venture to say that technology opens up paths while magick keeps along the same lines at best, if not striving with human intervention to become as one-track as possible.
i don't understand this conclusion. one needn't look far in fantasy to see magic rewarding diversity. frequentyl, different people practice different magic, each region has its own specialties, and so on. often, each individual is skilled at one particular type of magic, often an element, and a common theme is the requirement for diverse people to work together, as in gathering the users of air, earth, fire and water together or something like that. what could be less homogenous?

my characterizations of men may be stereotypical only because they're true. stereotypes have a bad rap. they have a bad rap because a lot of them tend to be true enough to embarass someone. and the fact that stereotypes almost always focus on the negative just gives people with more good heartedness than clues the naive idea that 'certainly that can't be the case.' some of them are wrong, of course, some aren't.
for what it's worth, i agree with you, however...

i'll tell you this, though: men want to be men, not pale versions of themselves domesticated into submission. this has held true throughout history up until our modern times when men have been actively emasculated or, perhaps worse, have impossible expectations heaped on us (women should know how that feels, but yet you have to understand there's a different perspective involved. saying it's the same for men and women would be flat-out ignorant which would probably carry over into nonrealistic characters).
i haven't found this to be the case. plenty of men are happy as lawyers, scientists, accountants, or stock brokers. I, personally do practice martial arts and enjoy it, but i find nonphysical work enjoyable too. i find it ludicrously oversimplified to say that men would not enjoy using magic.

i don't have a problem with business owners at all. i'm trying to become one myself. board-owned corporations out to make as much money as possible with absolutely no concept of loyalty to their workforce using whatever excuse they can to screw people out of every last dime, yeah, i have a problem with that. (i just heard where the stock i've got in my ex-company has been devalued to junk status, which i was afraid would happen and didn't buy any, only taking what was given when my company spun-off from GM. it was a complete farce and i didn't buy into it. i predicted from the start the company was designed for obsolescence within fifteen years in a plan to shift to third-world countries. plenty of corporations tend to be penny-wise and dollar dumb, but it's always the workers who suffer. you don't have to look far to find some CEO or union guy going down in scandal. don't worry about them, though, even gross, almost criminal, negligence is still worth ten million bucks to buy out the remainder of their contract. for what it's worth, i don't trust politicians, either.) of cours,e there are unscrupulous businessmen out there. but you seem to a feel a resentment towards big business that is out of proportion with the facts. throughout this debate, you have consitently attacked magic for things whcih are also true of technology, you have repeatedly mentioned magic's ill effects on the workforce, you have implied that work not done by hand isn't work at all, and generally shown what i take to be a deep-seated mistrust of the trappings of modern society. i pointed out that you didn't like rich CEOs because you had acted as though they were a consequence only of magic.


since i obviously can't impress upon anyone the difference between magick doing your work and doing your work by hand, even if using tools to do so admittedly there is a difference between "by hand with tools" and "not by hand". of course, modern machinery means many thigns are no longer done by hand, and in some cases one cna presume the magic simulates a tool.

however, magic might well make some tasks easier than they are today. still, Sci-FI postulates this with great frequency, and i don't see why magic is any worse than advancing technology.

DaveKuzminski
04-26-2005, 07:50 PM
Right now, I'm having fun with a reuse of an idea that came to me on the spur of the moment much earlier. In that first use, a character became a witch, complete with power and all. Now, another character is in a direct confrontation with a king who was at the first incident which he barely survived. Because of a mixup by the wizard, the king believes the character before him is a hidden talent who can wield witch powers. That character is still on the boat. Meanwhile, this has prevented a lopsided battle from taking place since the boat has only 20 individuals on board and they're facing the king's entire fleet of 4 warships, each with several hundred sailors, in the king's home port. Now the one character has figured out that they believe her to be a hidden witch talent because she possesses the right hair color and almost the correct eye color of real witches and is deciding what to do with her new leverage.

Of course, right now, I'm working on where to take this. Most likely, it won't corrupt her since she doesn't actually have the power.

preyer
04-26-2005, 09:38 PM
i'm not sure where i said magick would be more corrupting, i think you're making that up, lol. it would be corrupting, though, not necessarily more corrupting, but certainly no less corrupting. simply put, any time you give a group of people any power (like in the form of money), especially when you give them authority, you open wide the doors for abuses of power and corruption. that's why we have a system of checks and balances, an internal affairs division of the police, and, like where i used to work for delphi, a phone line for reporting managerial abuse. the thing you have to bear in mind, however, when dealing with a CEO type is this: at home they can be wonderful people. see them in a bar and you can have a drink with them, share a joke, and walk away from them with warm, fuzzy feelings. anyone who's ever caught a boss with a mean streak at work at a watering hole may be able to attest to this. however, sit that person down in a boardroom, and they change. i'm not making this stuff up, lol. anyone needing proof can pay attention to their own local gov't practices by attending council meetings: it should be fairly quickly apparent how fast things boil down to money in a lot of cases. my experience has been that zoning boards make everything all legal like in the face of all community opposition. the idea here is that real life can be used as a basis for what happens in your story. if you deviate from what you know happens in real life you deviate from realism. my thing is that despite the setting and trappings, what would happen in real life under the same circumstances should happen on the page. i mean, otherwise why would anyone read it? the thing is, what i'm saying about these types of people just isn't my perception, it's something verified in newspapers across the country. i'm hardly reading between the lines here.

there being a resentment 'out of proportion to the facts' doesn't make a lot of sense to me. the fact is big business doesn't care one bit about you, me, their workers, and even the consumer. if businesses cared one lick, they wouldn't do their lay-off literally a week before x-mas because it fits into their fiscal year. i'm not talking temporary lay-offs, but the en masse kind where you're 'permanently laid off' (new corporate buzz word), thirty thousand people at a pop. the CEO's sole obligation is to the shareholders, who can vote to have him fired. (since bush has taken office, notice how many CEOs have gone into scandal? many times it's a case of cooking the books. if you choose to believe most big business doesn't do this, and/or the CEOs are clueless as to what's happening there, what can i say? there's also a law against monopolies, yet look at your own local energy provider. until very recently, it was a monopoly until 'deregulation' came along. the point is, the way it's supposed to be is rarely, if ever, the way it truly is even where there are federal laws in place to stop it from happening. microsoft should never have positioned itself into having to be broken up, for example, but their own business practices painted them into a corner. wal*mart routinely destroys local opposition. yeah, *that's* caring for ya. money corrupts the common person, too, more evidence of its effects. we're oh-so-quick to destroy our own economic infrastructures just to have the chance to buy cardboard grandfather clocks. we're real quick to forego quality to save a buck.)

i agree, high, high, high technology will be just as devastating as idealized magick would be. what we're really talking about here is human obsolesence. i don't know about anyone else, but i for one ain't into that. if a person had absolutely nothing to do in a day other than go to work, which presumably would be more or less a waste of time, i simply think your free society will implode within a generation without incredibly unrealistic premises propping up why it hasn't begun to prey on itself.

i think i've gone over the lawyer thing already. not everyone can be lawyers. there's already a glut of lawyers to the point where johnny cochran had been doing commercials. trick isn't to find a good lawyer, trick is finding a good mechanic, heh heh.

i think where we're not seeing eye-to-eye, as evidenced by a continual modification of the premise and arguing old statements against new templates, is the level and effect of the consequenses of magick. i posit that when magick supplants all work and chores, the results would be catastrophic on the people. you seem to state that merely by there being a few highly specialized magicians, everything would work itself out in a positive manner. as with technology, one of the great boons of magick would be that it's accessible to everyone. once it's manufactured cheaper and available to everyone *at the level i suggest*, your society *will* fail. you defined the chasm perfectly in this quote: 'of course, modern machinery means many thigns are no longer done by hand, and in some cases one cna presume the magic simulates a tool.' i'm not saying 'some cases,' i'm saying ALL cases. this will be the last time i say that, i've said it too much as it is, lol. and in this is where homogenity happens: your specialists will get together to devise a new magick, but it will eventually be concocted to such a degree to be available to anyone who can afford it, which would be, well, no one by the end of the society's fall. in the magick society's golden age, however, for as long as it lasts it'll be there.

here, it should be noted i'm not arguing against diversity of surface things, like having a wide range of vehicles with a variety of colours. people will buy the new model with new door handles and hubcaps because of our idiotic sense of aesthetic obsolesence. i'm saying there would be a homogenity of ideals, psychology and lifestyle. when you're talking about people, our own best example is america. we're supposed to take pride in our diversity in an idealistic sense, yet on a practical level, the idea is to making everyone as close to centre as possible (except for the poor class, which are needed to do menial labour for cheap and fight wars-- to suggest that our society does everything it can to elevate the poor into the middle class would be ludicrous). laws exist not only to make things fair or to provide for a system of rights and wrongs, it's also about conformity. once you get everyone to conform (we attempt it through our educational system), how long does it take for everyone gung-ho for the program to start thinking alike? birds of a feather flock together, and so it wouldn't be long after that before they start dressing alike and buying the same things. that you prefer country music over rock and roll hardly illustrates diversity: that both you and your 'diverse' friend can't wait to sign up for war is.

the general male psyche is one of action. creating a situation where every male has to be an accountant or the like would be... not good. you do your martial arts as a hobby, perhaps even as a lifestyle, but that's not the same as a man's attitude towards having to provide for his family which overwhelms everything else. dudes who sit around playing playstation all day while their girlfriends works ten hours a day to put diapers on their heathen spawn, well, that dude ain't a man by any stretch. he's a punk. that's why any woman with any sense about her at all usually won't hook up with a man without a job. now this is just on average, but i'd say that more men, or at least men more so, tend to 'be' their job. a job to a man, and how he does that job, is a core part of him. a man is all about pride. take all those things away from him and you break him. women are tremendously stronger and more sensible about such things, i think, but i'm not talking about them, i'm talking about removing a man's usefulness and the affects that would have. i'm also willing to say, though, that the same could, *by and large*, happen in an ultra-tech society, though i still maintain there's an inherit difference between technology and magick. granted, there would be similarities, just to say there would be absolutely no difference i think is wrong.

fallenangelwriter
04-27-2005, 12:55 AM
Preyer-

i'll try to avoid arguing further with your definition of "man" or the charatcer of CEOs.

my point is, that your statement that a magic society doesn't work has been backed up by examples of technology. in short, either you belive that our modern society doesn't work, or that the magic is more like sci-fi tech than modern, and both are bad. this opinion is what i'm trying to point, your general dislike of technology AND magic.

the point of this argument is that in the beginning i said magic could supplant all modern technology. whatever ails modern society, it clearly can and does exist, and could exist in a simialr, magical form. you have yet to establish why magic in particular would be more dystopian than technology.

so, please tell me: WHAT IS IT ABOUT MAGIC that is worse than technolgoy? if you belive that magic MUST lbe more powerful than modern tech and thus correspond to sci-fi, WHY? if you belive that magic is worse than technology AT THE SAME LEVEL OF POWER, pleas explain why.

my argument is that magic can replace technology, and thus can only be disproven by differentiating magic fromt echnolgoy, not likening them.

whitehound
04-27-2005, 03:59 AM
I would guess he thinks that abuses of magic would be harder to police and prevent than abuses of technology, because magic-users would be able to do things like make themselves invisible to the police.

This problem is addressed in Diana Wynne Jones' series of YA fantasies about Chrestomanci - an especially powerful mage employed by the state to prevent misuse of magic. Those who persist in abusing their powers may have them magically removed!

preyer
04-27-2005, 11:36 AM
that, WH, and simply anything that can be used as a source of corruption, will be used as a source of corruption. power, money, magick, technology, philosophy, religion, authority, brute strength, entertainment, sex.... there's nothing that can't be used to sinfully enrich a dastardly person's ego, psyche, or pocketbook. and the consequences often don't enter into the risk or eventual collapse: it used to be a case that during hangings of thieves is where you'd find all your pick-pockets. human nature, for whatever reason, will always have those who chance utter destruction. and there's probably more freedom using magick for ill purpose than there is for technology. all things being even, the murder rate per capita may be comparable (though i've argued it would likely be higher in a magick system) up until a cloaking spell could be arrived at. in other words, i think in the society i posited, there's a tremendous amount of more 'freedom' to accomplish a thing than using technology.

as i present my case, magick is akin to cheap, limitless wishes. minus out any real corporeal binds and the people would live in constant fear. that in itself is enough to alter a population's way of life, though i think i've outlined very broadly some other ways where magick would have a different mass psychology than one based on technology. even if the two are five degrees apart, they'd seem close together at the centre: once the lines goes out, they get further apart. uber-technology would have a different starting point, but the end would be much like magick's. i never argued that. but i don't believe that tech. and magick are two differently coloured pebbles of exact size and weight when dropped into the psychological cesspool will produce the exact same ripple, either.

i've said that magick, total magick, would affect religion, men's usefulness, economics, corruptability (be it more or less), and human obsolesensce. i probably touched on some other factors, too, i can't remember the entire thing. i know i've used at least one quote, given personal examples, a little real history, and generic news items to illustrate particular points. any perceived mistrust of magick is only because it's so easily equatable (on the surface) to other things: any perceived mistrust of business and CEOs and politicians are based on personal experience, what's in the news nearly every single day, anecdotal evidence from various sources (one example is the comment about boardroom-types being wonderful people outside the boardroom is borrowed from 'on a clear day you can see general motors,' by john delorean, while in a business situation they'll literally weigh the cost of a life-saving device against its probable legal bills and judgments levied against them, which has happened famously before), and a general 'what's most likely to happen' scenario based on everything else. i think i've gone on in some detail the difference between having something done for you as opposed to doing it with your own two hands. and i believe that western civilization's psychology has changed in the last hundred and fifty years, too, as a result of technology. i don't think you're arguing that point (which would be rather foolish, eh? lol).

'my argument is that magic can replace technology, and thus can only be disproven by differentiating magic fromt echnolgoy, not likening them.' okay, now it's my turn to be cornfused. besides, your argument is 'magic IS technology.' my examples of technology go to illustrate human nature, i think. i don't think i said if magick existed on the same level as current technology that society couldn't function, did i? at our level, probably society could get away with it, though obviously you'd have greatly different protocols and laws and modes and methods in place (which still might displace your lifestyle enough to alter your outlook on life, but perhaps not enough to cripple it inside a generation). i think i've maintained, and quite despite repeated attempts at altering the parameters then arguing my statements as false based on a fictional setting i didn't necessarily opine about, that when magick supplants *all* needs then *that's* when your FREE society will unravel, and rather quickly. i get the idea that nothing short of a thesis with a thousand examples tediously researched to the nth degree will get my point across, that's why i tried to end this particular segment of the discussion, then got myself roped back into it. if i come across some quotes or something that furthers what i've avered, i'll add them, but i'm otherwise loathe to repeat myself again because i think i've made myself adequately clear. :)

zornhau
04-27-2005, 02:35 PM
I would guess he thinks that abuses of magic would be harder to police and prevent than abuses of technology, because magic-users would be able to do things like make themselves invisible to the police.

This problem is addressed in Diana Wynne Jones' series of YA fantasies about Chrestomanci - an especially powerful mage employed by the state to prevent misuse of magic. Those who persist in abusing their powers may have them magically removed!

It's interesting that very few big-selling fantasy novels seem to use a setting where magic is ubiquitious: it's usually lost or leaving. A fully magical world would be an odd place, similar to the Post Singularity future (heaps of AI and nano-wibbletech) which takes somebody as talented as Charles Stross to bring to life for the average reader.

However, if the magic is traditional western in flavour, it has a lot of limiting factors: lead time, since big magic requires big rituals; specialisation required in the first place; rival magicians; drawing the attention of unwelcome entities through like-attracts-like; and the way that defensive magic seems more powerful than offensive.

Now I'm going to have to go away and think about this...

fallenangelwriter
04-28-2005, 02:24 AM
i *think* we're in agreement.


you claim not that magic is intrinsically more harmful, but that magic would be equivalent to a level of technology far beyond our current?

my point was only that magic CAN BE SET UP to correspond exactly with technology, and if they do the same thing, they're equally harmful or helpful.

(on an unrelated note, you underestimate the consequences of invisiubility. even assuming it couldn't be defeated, people still do the right thing when no one would know mroe often than not. i just read a book in which they mentioned a man who sells bagels by leaving baskets around big corporations with a box for money. he leaves. later he comes back to collect them. he knows exactly how many are stolen, buyt not who took them. on average, people pay for 87% of the bagels. and only about once a year does someone steal his money-box.)

owenno6
04-28-2005, 05:25 AM
I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but another example of fantasy that takes place in the future is the Ralph Bakshi movie "Wizards".

Definitely fantasy, and set a million years in the future.

whitehound
04-28-2005, 02:02 PM
(on an unrelated note, you underestimate the consequences of invisiubility. even assuming it couldn't be defeated, people still do the right thing when no one would know mroe often than not. i just read a book in which they mentioned a man who sells bagels by leaving baskets around big corporations with a box for money. he leaves. later he comes back to collect them. he knows exactly how many are stolen, buyt not who took them. on average, people pay for 87% of the bagels. and only about once a year does someone steal his money-box.)Mmm. However, if invisibility was something you could buy or learn, rather than a talent you were born with, then the classes most likely to want to buy or learn it would be criminals, spies, persons cheating on their partners and the terminally shy.

whitehound
04-28-2005, 05:54 PM
i'll tell you this, though: men want to be men, not pale versions of themselves domesticated into submission. this has held true throughout history up until our modern times when men have been actively emasculated or, perhaps worse, have impossible expectations heaped on us (women should know how that feels, but yet you have to understand there's a different perspective involved. saying it's the same for men and women would be flat-out ignorant which would probably carry over into nonrealistic characters).

i haven't found this to be the case. plenty of men are happy as lawyers, scientists, accountants, or stock brokers. I, personally do practice martial arts and enjoy it, but i find nonphysical work enjoyable too. i find it ludicrously oversimplified to say that men would not enjoy using magic. Also, throughout history, in Europe, in Asia and in the Far East, enormous numbers of men have chosen to become monks or similar and to live lives of quiet contemplation. In Judaism (which, remember, is something over three thousand years old, not a product of "our modern times") the archetype of "typically male" behaviour is the scholar, while women are expected to get out into the world and do. Among the Celts, poets, musicians and scholars were more highly-regarded than warriors.

Young men tend to be bolshy and need physical "masculine" work because they have a lot of muscle and, like muscly dogs, that means they need a lot of exercise if they are not to become fractious: but once they hit their mid twenties and settle down they are just as capable of rational thought and civilized behaviour as women are...

[That includes emotional literacy, incidentally. All the most sensitive and emotionally-literate people I've known have been men - and only a couple of those were gay!]

Lenora Rose
04-29-2005, 02:04 AM
One thing you seem to miss, Preyer, is self-imposed rules.

In football, for instance, there are very specific things you can and cannot do. Those who don't foloow those rules are very quickly cast from the game, as they ruin the pleasure of it for all.

Does this prevent unscrupulous coaches, or people who push the rules? No, but the fun of the game would be lost, for the players and spectators, is the rules were broken.

In a legal system, the same, including those who push the rules, and those cast out or otherwise punished for their breaches.

In a social system, the same, including the casting out of those who don't follow the rules.

Why would a world of magic not have developed checks and balances over time?

Why would a world where anyone can do anything by magic not have a sport that, while not like football, is equivalent to football, where anything outside the narrow rules is considered cheating, and the physical effort is the point?

Why, in a world of magic, would people NOT respect a carpenter who decided to make his shelves with his own hands as a hobby more than someone who snaps his fingers to do so? I know a lot of people who will pay extra money for an original item made by hand in place of another generic from Walmart. i know a lot of people who will do the making. I know smiths, and bone and wood carvers, and basket-makers. I AM a potter. Some of thesde people do make money for the work, even those who do it on the side.

Why do you suggest there would be no-one to police the unscrupulous? You can't argue that because everyone has equal magic, nobody can police things. Police officers, last I checked, were no more special than other people. Neither are lawyers.

As for the homogeneity - well, as you said, that's a problem in our world too, at least in North America. Yet I can still find people who disagree with me on a fundamental level, not just on a "your music sucks!" degree.

Part of why you don't see other alternatives, I think, is because you're imaging the NOW only. If I was to try to imagine a relatively modern world of all magic I'd start with the cavemen, long before their discovery of fire, right when they first started to understand magic. I kid you not. I started that off as a thought-experiment on my walk home (I have an hour long walk. lots of thinking time). Start when survival is dependant on developing SOMETHING.

Assume two things:
1: each different use of magic requires a different spell. There's no one wish spell.
2: These spells have to be known, or invented based on known principles of magic, before use.

See what such a primitive people would develop first. my thought experiment was mroe specific, especially about the first most likely innovations, but ehre's the general scheme:

The first clear thing is that the early magic would be good weaponry, for hunting, and the second personal defenses against that magic, when it's turned on fellow man, or against wild beasts. The third would probably still be some means to domesticate useful animals. Then fire.

But there's also that each individual discovery of new ways to use magic would have to *be made*. There's tons of space for experimentation. For the discovery and eventual writing of the physical laws, for the extrapolation of those laws into new spells and discoveries. For those who learn a little faster to oppress their own people or slower-learning tribes around them. For revolution against oppression. For religions from the mystical to the just like us pantheon to the monotheist. For philosophic ideals to be explored. For scholarship. For music and other arts to flourish. For the rise of a culture that prefers physical use of tools in one area of the world, who clash fundamentally with neighbours who believe nothing but magic should be used to make. For large and settled cultures to grow decadent and be broken down by more "Barbaric" neighbours. For a a magical revolution that leads to piece-work and mass-marketing in place of the prior guilds guarding their secrets. For people to demand labour laws and protection for children. For people of various stripes to propose more egalitarian socities. For others to take over in coups. And the biggest thing that comes clear if you look at it this way is that yes, there would still be room to discover. Room to learn new uses for magic.

None of this would happen at once. Nor would it proceed at an equal pace across the world. There'd be innovation, action. There'd be guilds guarding secrets until clever engineers elsewhere learn how to do the hidden spells.

Wars.

The scientific method would be applied where previously religion reigned. Mathematical equations would supplant gods as the answer to how and why magic does what it does. And religions would roar and war over this. Civilizations would be lost, and archeology find them again. Diseases resistant to all known healing magic would spring up, be destroyed by the person who figures out the right spell.

Maybe things would be discovered faster. But just like there's no one pill that cures all disease, there's no one spell that is itself an instant wish.

The end result might be a civilization not unlike ours, where there are laws intended to give people an equal footing, and people who look for and use (and abuse), every loophole in those laws to give themselves a boost over their neighbours. Where some magical equivalent of computers and robotics have replaced many of the things that are now automated, or done over the net. To learn that some kinds of magic poison the environment, and to protest those. Fouled lakes would be cleaned, while across the world rivers turn green and spawn weird things.

Some people would bemoan the current society as stagnant, that all the important things have already been discovered. Others would say they're on the way to a breakthrough as huge as the Singularity.

Does it still sound like it has to eb oppressive, just because people will always abuse a system? Or does it sound like self-policing comes in early on? Does it still sound like people have no chance to use their hands?

Just thoughts. Gotta go or I'd rewrite this to be coherent. I'm late already.

fallenangelwriter
04-29-2005, 11:03 PM
Rose- thank you. this is what i've been trying to say all along, but you've done so more eloquently than i could have hoped to.

preyer
05-02-2005, 01:14 AM
'Young men tend to be bolshy and need physical "masculine" work because they have a lot of muscle and, like muscly dogs, that means they need a lot of exercise if they are not to become fractious: but once they hit their mid twenties and settle down they are just as capable of rational thought and civilized behaviour as women are...' ~ i think the difference here is between artists and workers. it's also precluding those men maturing into a lifestyle of work based on their youthful experiences. what this paragraph implies in a very broad sense to me is that once particular men get their aggravations out through hard physical labour, then they'll want to be philosophers and artists. the truth is, once you hit your mid-20's and have a family to support, most men will continue to work for as long as there's work and their bodies hold up. you'll have exceptions, of course, but this ain't about that, it's about the averages, eh? this also assumes that men don't like to work. well, few people actually *like* to wake up at the crack of dawn and lay foundations, but they do in the beginning likely to support themselves, and unless something changes, they'll continue doing to especially if they've got a family to support.

'Why would a world of magic not have developed checks and balances over time?' ~ they certainly would, but in the form of laws, which could be very hard to prosecute in a lot of cases. instead of a lot of witnesses seeing my bloody butcher job, i could, and very likely would (if i wanted to kill someone), collapse their houses on them. no witnesses, no fuss, no muss. and little in the way to prove it was me besides circumstantial evidence.

'Why, in a world of magic, would people NOT respect a carpenter who decided to make his shelves with his own hands as a hobby more than someone who snaps his fingers to do so? I know a lot of people who will pay extra money for an original item made by hand in place of another generic from Walmart. i know a lot of people who will do the making. I know smiths, and bone and wood carvers, and basket-makers. I AM a potter. Some of thesde people do make money for the work, even those who do it on the side.' ~ sure, and there would be those people, probably. but you defeat your own purpose when you mention wal*mart, that being the largest company in the world. by virtue of effort, time and quality you pay up to ten times more for a product. this is assuming, too, that's there's a difference. few people are going to pay more for the exact same product just because it was done by hand, except in the cases of relatively inexpensive aesthetic items like pottery. even then i can argue that: my talavera sink, hand-made and hand-painted, is still *cheaper* than a lot of bathroom sinks i could have got. even 'hand-made' items would rely on, in this case, sources of magick to help them, like a power saw helps a hobbyist carpenter. in that case, 'hand-made' means more 'hand-constructed.' you find very, very, very few people who don't use power tools to do the same thing. it'd be no different in that society. that in itself isn't in question, it's the level of human replacement. the bulk of any society resides in its workers: remove them and you've got... problems which will likely lead to the overthrow of the gov't as a self-righting action. then you'd have severe limitations on the use of magick.

how many people think that any manufacturer of any product wouldn't replace every single worker if they could do it with cheap automation? those who didn't would have to charge more for their product and go out of business. and the ones who didn't couldn't hire enough people to dam back the inevitable. the only reason i held a job at delphi for nearly 11 years was because there were little things i could do that it take a huge machine and lots of money to do instead. i've been replaced by outsourcing, essentially other organic robots, but far cheaper. my argument here is, if i could have been replaced by magick, i would have been. and in less time than it takes to hit 'post quick reply,' lol.

'Why do you suggest there would be no-one to police the unscrupulous? You can't argue that because everyone has equal magic, nobody can police things. Police officers, last I checked, were no more special than other people. Neither are lawyers.' ~ no more special than other people who carry lethal arms and have the advantage of breaking laws normal citizens are busted for, all in the name of catching the bad guys? sure, i think you'd have a police. actually, you'd more have magick investigators of some kind, but those people would likely probe suspects' lives in very personal ways that police only wish they could do now (not that they don't, anyway). police have tremendous advantage over people: they've got force of arms, numbers, training, and experience. lawyers, in our society, have tremendous advantage over you or i because of their education and just the way our system props them up. 'law' and 'justice', as it is, is a game where we barely rank as pawns. judges and politicians tend to come from a law background, which only perpetuates the system. police chiefs are elected to their position based on their experience as cops. in theory, it's the way things should be, i guess, but in practice i've seen where plenty of low-level corruption and favourtism goes on.

'Does it still sound like it has to eb oppressive, just because people will always abuse a system? Or does it sound like self-policing comes in early on? Does it still sound like people have no chance to use their hands?' ~ again, this is putting in a new set of parameters and then arguing i'm wrong based on new information. i don't necessarily dispute your version of the way things would happen were magick to totally supplant technology *from the beginning of time,* which i never even implied it would. we have no self-policing for technology: people use the best they can afford and what's available to them. there are no laws saying where you can do that. magick would be the same way, no? in the overall scope of what you're saying, though, i'd foresee not as much self-policing as much as a need to repress people's use of magick.

the entire premise here is you can't trust people not to do what people do. once your society starts down a certain path of greed (human nature) and selfishness (human nature) and violence (human nature), it's a downward spiral. it's hard enough to pull yourself out of that *without* moving all hands-on responsibility total magick removes. by that i mean you can't create a jobs creation act to help recover your ruined economy if the entire workforce has been proven replacable by magick, for example.

people's thoughts and attitude would be different. that's just one way it would change people's mass psychology. sloth. without a workforce and likely vastly smaller population (at least in the premise you put forth), you'd have everyone be a professional leading to everyone overrating themselves, with a much more singular sense of worth. pride and homogenity. with magick, all things are possible. with the ability to produce unlimited goods and services, you've got a lot of people not worth a lick. gluttony. your neighbour buys a cheap construction spell, so you want one, too. envy. i'll stop there. the upshot is you can rely, sometimes, on individual acts of kindness. taking humanity in as a whole and i wouldn't necessarily risk my life on our good works. those 'on your honour' boxes work fairly well, but, come on, what does that prove really? fill one up with crack and put it in the ghetto and see how much 'honour' you find, lol. almost invariably you find these honour boxes in specific places where it's not really an honour issue as much as it is an economic thing. i.e., you risk almost nothing asking for a buck for a bagel by passing businessmen who make tons of money. having only one box being stolen tells me that they moved that box after that: i mean, if someone stole the box once, they'll probably do it again, eh?

the way i've presented it, no, people have absolutely no use for their hands.

you're right, people will always abuse a system. that's from no self-policing. it's against the law, though, as it would be in a magickal society. if you're low on cash and the kid's crying for food and rent is due but damned if you can't find a job to literally save your life, you watch how fast people would use those spells to create counterfeit. people hardly need yet more ways to ruin their own shiit as it is, let alone give them ways to corrupt themselves with little or no chance of capture.

i guess another way of putting the differences between the two societies, magick and technological, is it's the difference between earning your money and inheriting it. hopefully i've illustrated the attitude of people who effectively live in a labour-free society and how the lack of work, effort, responsibility, etc., effects the thought processes of the people. this is akin to saying that if you put a million people in eden, they'd figure out a way to screw it up royally. cripes, look what *two* people did. and can you imagine the significance of people's attitude on religion had adam and eve lived there all their lives but it was their children who got the boot?

whitehound
05-02-2005, 02:22 AM
'Young men tend to be bolshy and need physical "masculine" work because they have a lot of muscle and, like muscly dogs, that means they need a lot of exercise if they are not to become fractious: but once they hit their mid twenties and settle down they are just as capable of rational thought and civilized behaviour as women are...' ~ i think the difference here is between artists and workers. it's also precluding those men maturing into a lifestyle of work based on their youthful experiences. what this paragraph implies in a very broad sense to me is that once particular men get their aggravations out through hard physical labour, then they'll want to be philosophers and artists. the truth is, once you hit your mid-20's and have a family to support, most men will continue to work for as long as there's work and their bodies hold up. you'll have exceptions, of course, but this ain't about that, it's about the averages, eh? this also assumes that men don't like to work. well, few people actually *like* to wake up at the crack of dawn and lay foundations, but they do in the beginning likely to support themselves, and unless something changes, they'll continue doing to especially if they've got a family to support.Sure, there's plenty of men who will want to work with their hands, or will have to of neccessity - there's a fair proportion of women who do as well, especially in low-tech. farming areas. But you were saying that all men basically want to be "real, manly men" i.e. sweaty thugs, and any man who wants to work with his brain instead of his muscles has been corrupted by "our modern times."

I'm just saying, I think and have thought for years that the fact that most violent crime seems to be committed by young men is not because men are intrinsically horrible but just because young men generally need a lot of exercise, like big dogs, and like big dogs if they don't get it they get fractious. In a state of nature they would be out ploughing fields or running down bison to take the edge off their energy, but in "our modern times" they don't get the exercise unless they take up a violent sport.

But once they get past that bursting-with-energy, teens and early twenties stage, throughout history it has been very common for men to choose to settle down and do jobs which you apparently regard as soft, corrupting and unmanly and a product of "our modern times," such as joining a monastery or becoming a bard. Of course there are and always have been also plenty of men who take up strenuous jobs like deep-sea fishing, and in low-tech, societies most jobs (for both sexes) will be physical: but it's a terrible thing for someone who aspires to being a writer to say that all "real men" want to do traditionally "manly" physical labour, and anybody who suggests otherwise doesn't understand the male psyche - which *is* what you said.

Given that the idea of what constitutes "manly" behaviour varies from culture to culture (such that in traditional Judaism the archetypal male is the religious scholar, and in many cultures the typical male has been prinked and permed and scented like a pet poodle), it's ridiculous to say (as you did say) that it's an obvious truism that all or most men secretly want to conform to what is regarded as appropriate masculine behaviour in one area of one country at one point in time, and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. This narrow cultural focus seems particularly out of place in an SF writer.

[It does suggests you have a bit of an inferiority complex about being a writer, and are going in for a morsel of macho posturing to compensate - but being a story-teller is and always has been a very high-status job, for both sexes, so you really don't need to feel it reflects badly on your masculinity!]

fallenangelwriter
05-02-2005, 07:00 PM
"the truth is, once you hit your mid-20's and have a family to support, most men will continue to work for as long as there's work and their bodies hold up. you'll have exceptions, of course, but this ain't about that, it's about the averages, eh? this also assumes that men don't like to work. well, few people actually *like* to wake up at the crack of dawn and lay foundations, but they do in the beginning likely to support themselves, and unless something changes, they'll continue doing to especially if they've got a family to support. "

Preyer, you've changed you argument. you're saying now that people are workers because they have to be, but you said before that they want to.


'Why would a world of magic not have developed checks and balances over time?' ~ they certainly would, but in the form of laws, which could be very hard to prosecute in a lot of cases. instead of a lot of witnesses seeing my bloody butcher job, i could, and very likely would (if i wanted to kill someone), collapse their houses on them. no witnesses, no fuss, no muss. and little in the way to prove it was me besides circumstantial evidence.

this is absurd. just as laws are enforced IRL, they would be in magicland. (this is not to say that crime is always punished in reality, but that magic would be no worse.) as for making a house collapse, i don't think that's beyond the powers of magic investigators. after all, real-life detectives cath arsonists and other people who kill wihtout being in the prescence of the victim. they even catch people who hire assassins, and most people would, i think, be forced to, since few people would be accomplished enough to know how to destroy a house. anyway, in many fantasyies, magic leaves traces of power that can be linked to thier caster, the magical version of DNA evidence.

regarding the walmart thing, it's you who've u done your own argument by mentioning walmart. however terrigble and evil you think wlamart is, it hasn't destroyed our society or caused the overthrow of our government.

how many people think that any manufacturer of any product wouldn't replace every single worker if they could do it with cheap automation? those who didn't would have to charge more for their product and go out of business. and the ones who didn't couldn't hire enough people to dam back the inevitable. the only reason i held a job at delphi for nearly 11 years was because there were little things i could do that it take a huge machine and lots of money to do instead. i've been replaced by outsourcing, essentially other organic robots, but far cheaper. my argument here is, if i could have been replaced by magick, i would have been. and in less time than it takes to hit 'post quick reply,' lol.

once again, i feel your resentment towards modern technology cause equal resentment towards magic. anyway, i suspect htere will always be some thigns easier to do by hand thanwith magic, especially if we allow ourselves a little nonmagic technology. and, of course, even automated modern factories aren't free of employees. there are still factory workers who oversee the machinery.

~ no more special than other people who carry lethal arms and have the advantage of breaking laws normal citizens are busted for, all in the name of catching the bad guys? sure, i think you'd have a police. actually, you'd more have magick investigators of some kind, but those people would likely probe suspects' lives in very personal ways that police only wish they could do now (not that they don't, anyway). police have tremendous advantage over people: they've got force of arms, numbers, training, and experience. lawyers, in our society, have tremendous advantage over you or i because of their education and just the way our system props them up. 'law' and 'justice', as it is, is a game where we barely rank as pawns. judges and politicians tend to come from a law background, which only perpetuates the system. police chiefs are elected to their position based on their experience as cops. in theory, it's the way things should be, i guess, but in practice i've seen where plenty of low-level corruption and favourtism goes on.

other than that you hate cops, what are you trying to say? you're mostly spouting resentment towards REAL ploice, which ignores my argument/belief that HOWEVER TERRIBLE YOU THINK OUR LIFE IS, MAGIC WOULD NOT MAKE IT WORSE. the only worthwhile point in here its that magic investigators could learn far too much abot you. this is a valid point, and one thatb a whole story set in this world could be about, but modern technology has also lead to a number of ethical issues. in america, at least, we'd have constitutional protections against mind-reading and the like.

'Does it still sound like it has to eb oppressive, just because people will always abuse a system? Or does it sound like self-policing comes in early on? Does it still sound like people have no chance to use their hands?' ~ again, this is putting in a new set of parameters and then arguing i'm wrong based on new information. i don't necessarily dispute your version of the way things would happen were magick to totally supplant technology *from the beginning of time,* which i never even implied it would. we have no self-policing for technology: people use the best they can afford and what's available to them. there are no laws saying where you can do that. magick would be the same way, no? in the overall scope of what you're saying, though, i'd foresee not as much self-policing as much as a need to repress people's use of magick.

to say that we have no self-policing in technology is so ridiculous i can't understand why you would say that. we have gun control laws, building permits, FDA approval for medicine, restrictions of the availability of dangerous chemicals, and i read a recent article about how cell-phone jammers are illegal in america.

the entire premise here is you can't trust people not to do what people do. once your society starts down a certain path of greed (human nature) and selfishness (human nature) and violence (human nature), it's a downward spiral. it's hard enough to pull yourself out of that *without* moving all hands-on responsibility total magick removes. by that i mean you can't create a jobs creation act to help recover your ruined economy if the entire workforce has been proven replacable by magick, for example.

your argument is that people who don't work with their hands are evil? does using your hands to type a novel count?

real people aren't lazy?

you'd have everyone be a professional leading to everyone overrating themselves, with a much more singular sense of worth. pride and homogenity.

professionals are evil? why shouldn't people feel good about thier work? except for the fact that youn evidently don't.

with magick, all things are possible. with the ability to produce unlimited goods and services, you've got a lot of people not worth a lick. gluttony. your neighbour buys a cheap construction spell, so you want one, too. envy. i'll stop there.

this is true in reality, too.

having only one box being stolen tells me that they moved that box after that: i mean, if someone stole the box once, they'll probably do it again, eh?

no, he continued to sell bagels. and you're arguing both ways here: business are rich (and thus you don't like them) and would have no reason to steal, but they would repeatedly steal if once. a businessman who stol one box might feel too guilty to do it again, might have done it because he needed moeny and stopped later, miught have not repeated for fear of being caught.

the way i've presented it, no, people have absolutely no use for their hands.

what is so s[pecial about hands? why does your worldview requrie them to be the most important thing in everyone's life? and, anyway, some magic spells would be "hands on".

you're right, people will always abuse a system. that's from no self-policing. it's against the law, though, as it would be in a magickal society. if you're low on cash and the kid's crying for food and rent is due but damned if you can't find a job to literally save your life, you watch how fast people would use those spells to create counterfeit. people hardly need yet more ways to ruin their own shiit as it is, let alone give them ways to corrupt themselves with little or no chance of capture.

undoubtedly if there were a handful of wizards in our society, some would counterfeit. however, this is a magical society, and thus the money would have magical safeguards. if no one knew the spell that was used to create whatever they used for money, no one could mimicit perfectly.

i guess another way of putting the differences between the two societies, magick and technological, is it's the difference between earning your money and inheriting it.

in other words, you feel that money not earned through physical labor isn't earned atb all, but inherited?

to sum up your argument:

Preyer hates the following things:

money
knowledge
technology
cops
lawyers
businessmen
criminals
anyone who doesn't do hard physical labor
people in general

magicland has these things, therefore it is doomed/evil/unviable

(earht also has these things. therefore, earth is doomed/unviable/evil)

whitehound
05-03-2005, 01:45 AM
The problem is I think that preyer is thinking too much in terms of our society (again, soemthing an SF writer should be able to get away from).

Obviously if a class of magic-users arose right here, right now, then if they were of evil intent they could do what they liked - they could steal, rape, kill and disguise their tracks by magic, and we could do nothing about it. But that's often true when a new technology (viewing magic in this case as a special class of technology) hits a society for the first time. Look at the damage the Spaniards were able to do to the Incas because they had horses and steel and the Incas didn't, even though the Inca army was superior in size, discipline and probably also in leadership.

But in a society which had grown up with magic, for every creeping murderer with an invisibility spell, there would be a detective with a revealing spell to find out what happened. If magic is assumed to be so powerful it can be used to commit any crime, then it's pretty-well bound to be powerful enough to discover any criminal.

However, I think preyer is also worrying about the boredom of omnipotence - if people can do everything easily then they get irritable and start making their own amusements by e.g. joining violent gangs. But I'm sure there would be really hard, interesting things to be done with magic - in fact i predict a class of magic-hackers designing the occult equivalent of computer viruses.

Pthom
05-03-2005, 02:45 AM
The problem is I think that preyer is thinking too much in terms of our society (again, soemthing an SF writer should be able to get away from).I agree with this whole heartedly.
However, I think preyer is also worrying about the boredom of omnipotence - if people can do everything easily then they get irritable and start making their own amusements by e.g. joining violent gangs.I think this is what's going on in today's world, if it hasn't been going on since there were human beings who figured out an easier way of doing something.
But I'm sure there would be really hard, interesting things to be done with magic - in fact i predict a class of magic-hackers designing the occult equivalent of computer viruses.Now there's a great title: "The Magic Hackers." ;)

fallenangelwriter
05-03-2005, 05:47 AM
"the magic hackers" *yoink* i can already see the plot...


i love that title, and this debate has inspired me to write tthis society..

whitehound
05-03-2005, 06:34 AM
Glad you like it! Btw I think what preyer meant by "i guess another way of putting the differences between the two societies, magick and technological, is it's the difference between earning your money and inheriting it." was not that only physical work is real, but that we tend not to place much value on things we haven't had to work for (whatever form that work may take).

I'm not sure that's necessarily true - aristocrats tend to be brought up to place extreme value on what they've inherited and will often base their entire lives around maintaining some crumbling family pile - and in any case it presupposes that magic wouldn't be hard work.

Omnipotent snap-your-fingers, here-comes-a-bag-of-gold magic probably would lead to the problems preyer fears. But most stories assume magic is quite draining and is just another sort of very hard work. If it's anything like real-world psychic work, 20 minutes of spell-casting will leave you rubbery at the knees and feeling as if a rusty bolt has been shoved through your head and the inside of your skull has been scraped out with a grapefruit spoon.

fallenangelwriter
05-03-2005, 06:14 PM
actually, i think Magical Hack might be a better title, to ay homage to my favoirte CCG...

or perhaps "hack" is the wrong word; the magic equivalent might be a different verb.

DaveKuzminski
05-03-2005, 08:55 PM
A few years ago, I wrote a short story in which all of the power in the world suddenly halts. Darkness prevails as families in many homes go to look at a hidden device that verifies for them that THE magician is dead. The previous magician had instructed that no one speak of magic as real so that the next generation would be unspoiled.

Free at last to speak the truth, they instruct their children about how their world is actually operated by magic and ask their children to try to cast a spell by simply commanding something to happen because whoever can take over will be THE NEXT magician and rule the world while providing the driving force for all of their technology to work. Of course, we're in the home of the young girl slated to take over from Merlin the XIX or whatever number it was I used. She succeeds in turning a lamp on and then proves her worthiness when she refuses to send out death signals to those of lesser power.

The more I think about it, there just might be enough material in that idea for a novel though I suppose it would need a lot more conflict and such.

Almost forgot to make my point. In that story, all technology was actually magic, so the two were totally compatible.

whitehound
05-10-2005, 08:10 AM
the general male psyche is one of action. creating a situation where every male has to be an accountant or the like would be... not good. you do your martial arts as a hobby, perhaps even as a lifestyle, but that's not the same as a man's attitude towards having to provide for his family which overwhelms everything else. dudes who sit around playing playstation all day while their girlfriends works ten hours a day to put diapers on their heathen spawn, well, that dude ain't a man by any stretch. he's a punk. that's why any woman with any sense about her at all usually won't hook up with a man without a job. now this is just on average, but i'd say that more men, or at least men more so, tend to 'be' their job. a job to a man, and how he does that job, is a core part of him. a man is all about pride. take all those things away from him and you break him. women are tremendously stronger and more sensible about such things, i think, but i'm not talking about them, i'm talking about removing a man's usefulness and the affects that would have. i'm also willing to say, though, that the same could, *by and large*, happen in an ultra-tech society, though i still maintain there's an inherit difference between technology and magick. granted, there would be similarities, just to say there would be absolutely no difference i think is wrong.I've been thinking about this statement of preyer's.

That men's pride is on the whole more fragile than women's is probably true - although I'm not sure how much is innate and how much is cultural/learned. But being an accountant or similar (e.g. a magic-user) *is* action, often far more strenuous than physical labour. The Stock Market, for example, is a relentlessly macho and incredibly high-stress environment. Indeed that kind of brain-work is more taxing, and therefore if you want to see it that way more noble and ego-boosting, than most physical work, because physical labour releases endorphins and is therefore often quite pleasant and soothing to do, whereas brain-work can be, and often is, unremittingly stressful.

The same would no doubt be true of magical work: it would be stressful, it would be exhausting, men who did it would roll (or maybe fly or teleport) home in the evening feeling justifiably proud of their day's work.

The problem with this kind of work, whether it be stock-broking or spell-casting, is not that it doesn't feed a man's sense of pride, but that it is only available to men above a certain level of IQ. What modern technology is doing, and magic might well also do, is eliminate most of the jobs which could formerly be done by the not very bright or not very educated, excepting those which are very low status and/or badly paid (such as cleaning lavatories). At the moment there are I think not that many jobs which can make a guy who isn't very bright feel good about himself - even ploughing, truck-driving, deep-sea-fishing, soldiering all now require the ability to operate high-tech machinery. Even that last resort of the desperate or the between-jobs, assembling kettles on a conveyor-belt, is automated now.

[This is true for women of low IQ as well but they are, as you say, generally less neurotic about it.]

As the machinery becomes more high-tech., and more (quite literally) idiot-proof, it will probably take care of the problem to some extent by becoming so easy to operate that anyone can do it: but people (both sexes) will still want work where they can say "I did that: I am especially skilled" and that's always going to be a difficult one for people whose skill is brute strength, in a society in which that is no longer needed because machines can do the donkey-work.

You can, and we should, nurture every child's special talents, and encourage those who don't have the mental agility for brain-work, or simply don't feel drawn to it, to develop other work-skills - a good singing voice; patient observation; dexterity and speed etc.. But there will always be a few who really are only cut out for the most basic manual labour, and they do represent a problem, because our society provides few such jobs and doesn't value them much. However magic, because it depends at least in part on the concentration and stamina of the user, might well be less of a problem in that regard than our present technology: there may well be valuable, respected work for somebody whose only saleable skill is the ability to dance around a magic circle for eight hours whilst carrying a dead goat and a double-handed sword, for example.

Men not having jobs at all is a separate issue. When I told my late boyfriend Norman that I was in love with him he said "You can't be: I'm an alcoholic and I've got no job" to which I replied that I viewed his alcoholism the same way I would any other disease, and that any woman who chose a man because of his job prospects was a prostitute. [She's deciding whether or not to have sex with a guy on the basis of how much money he's got - what would you call it?] But Norman of course was not lazy or feckless: he was a clever and responsible man who had been driven to drink, and out of work, by a crumbling spine.

Guys who don't have jobs because they're too idle to look for work are another matter: but you are cheating exceedingly in your argument here, because what you are saying is "All men want to do hard work: of course there are plenty of adult male humans who choose to laze around but *they aren't men* because they don't choose to do hard work - therefore, all men choose to do hard work." Lazy punks are men too: indeed one of the most famous and longest-running fictional males in Britain is Andy Capp, the archetypal lazy punk, who is widely seen as a "typical man."

The reason most girls don't want them is not because of any sort of elaborate posturing about what is or is not a real man: it's because they're a nuisance. If you're scrabbling to make a living you usually want a partner who will help you to do so, either by bringing in money in his own right or by doing the house-work: a guy who does neither of these isn't a partner, just a large, expensive pet you probably can't afford.

But women who are earning enough not to need to worry about it are often willing to keep an expensive pet: and throughout history women have been willing to support a man who was bringing in a little or no money but who was doing something else which they both considered worthwhile, such as writing a novel or studying. Indeed in traditional Eastern European Jewish communities the ideal and perfect job for a man was studying the Law and his wife was expected to do the breadwinning as part of her contribution to the communal Great Work of becoming better and more knowledgeable Jews. [There is some sense to the gender-divide here, because studying the thousand-fold minutiae of Jewish Law is the sort of nit-picking, trainspotterish activity which generally does attract more men than women.]

And many women, even poor and scrabbling ones, will take on a lazy man if he is sweet and charming and witty - because being sweet and charming and witty is one of the things which brightens her life and makes it easier and more pleasant - often more so than a man who is a good earner but a miserable torn-faced pain in the arse.

MartyKay
05-20-2005, 12:11 PM
magick with a 'k' is one of those little idiosyncracies i picked up along the way, as 'daemon.'

It's also how Aleister Crowley spelt magic to distinguish sex magic (ie Tantric) from the rest of magic. Beside the point, I know, but someone with knowledge of Crowley's classification would be a bit confused by "magick" used to mean all magic.

Fantasy not in the past: Faerie Tale by Feist. Modern day people buy a house that is next to a Faerie Hill... oops. Pretty good.

Regarding the "if people had starving children and could cast a spell to counterfeit money, they would" -- if people can cast spells to make counterfeit money, surely they could cast spells to create food instead??

Magic in a fantasy world seems to always have limitations, because where is the story in "The ogre was annoying, so Dave splatted him with a spell. The end." IF everyone can cast whatever spells they want whenever they want... well.. sounds like there is no obstacles. No obstacles to overcome is nothing for the protagonist to do. Nothing to do means no story, no novel.

Iain M. Banks, who writes science fiction pretty much, has the Culture. The Culture is a utopia where everyone pretty much gets whatever they want thanks to incredible technology, matter convertors, Minds, effectors, etc. And yet his stories cover a lot of ground and things happen. Sure, the people in the Culture live in an ideal utopia, but the story is at the edges, and the story is in how even utopias have problems.

If you posit a fantasy world where everyone has magic, where there are NO limits on what can be done without any effort, then where are the obstacles that need to be overcome?

whitehound
05-20-2005, 01:04 PM
Na, it's acceptable for him to spell it that way: magick with a K is now very commonly used for all magic in New Age and Wiccan circles. But it's generally an indication that the writer is trying to sound cool and trendy, and is therefore a very Bad Sign in any serious book on the subject.

It's not clear how preyer means that he uses "daemon." For the record - just in case you don't already know it preyer - daemon isn't quite interchangeable with demon.

A demon is a non-corporeal entity which is nearly always seen as hostile or, well, demonic. Daemon can be used as just an old-fashioned spelling for demon, but it also often means a positive, helpful or inspiring spirit, such as a guardian angel or the guardian spirit of a well. It can also mean a god, or a being intermediate between gods and men.

Preyer does have a valid point about people making counterfeit money by magic. It is often assumed in magical set-ups that the things created by magic have no real substance. Therefore, making magical food wouldn't work: it might stop you feeling hungry for a few hours but in the long term you'd die of malnutrition, because it was only a sort of Virtual Reality food.

But with magic *money* you could buy real food - but you would be defraudiung the vendor, because the money would turn back into leaves or whatever at sunset. It might be difficult to run a stable coin-based economy in a magical society.

MartyKay
05-20-2005, 02:43 PM
A demon is a non-corporeal entity which is nearly always seen as hostile or, well, demonic. Daemon can be used as just an old-fashioned spelling for demon, but it also often means a positive, helpful or inspiring spirit, such as a guardian angel or the guardian spirit of a well. It can also mean a god, or a being intermediate between gods and men.

Or it could be a server program on unix based platforms :)


Preyer does have a valid point about people making counterfeit money by magic. It is often assumed in magical set-ups that the things created by magic have no real substance. Therefore, making magical food wouldn't work: it might stop you feeling hungry for a few hours but in the long term you'd die of malnutrition, because it was only a sort of Virtual Reality food.

Possibly, but I thought the theoretical setting was that magic (or magick) was limitless -- in such a world, casting a Create Food spell would create food, not pretend food.


But with magic *money* you could buy real food - but you would be defraudiung the vendor, because the money would turn back into leaves or whatever at sunset. It might be difficult to run a stable coin-based economy in a magical society.
Like Faerie gold, that evaporates away at dawn. Yes, but again in a limitless world it would be akin to real. Of course, this would be inane as there would be no such thing as a rare metal (such as gold) if everyone could create gold whenever they liked, there would be no reason to do so. This is usually "fixed" in fantasy with limits -- Gems can't be created magically so they become the currency. SF has this too, with Duplicating Machines unable to reproduce a special rare element for instance.

Kind of gets away from the "Fantasy in the present day" topic though, except that magic in the past would have made a different present day. The RPG Shadowrun uses a "magic went away, and now its come back" twist to meld Cyberpunk and Fantasy for a near-future-high-tech-with-elves feel.

That leaves stuff like Harry Potter (magic exists in secret to the muggles), alternate histories where magic has always existed hand in hand with science, other dimensions where magic rules and people from this world end up there. These allow for limited magic -- I don't think they'd cope with unlimited.

whitehound
05-21-2005, 01:57 PM
Or it could be a server program on unix based platforms :)Somewhere in there there is scope for a cyberpunk story called Printer's Daemon.


Possibly, but I thought the theoretical setting was that magic (or magick) was limitless -- in such a world, casting a Create Food spell would create food, not pretend food.If magic really was limitless you could do a spell to not be hungry, or to turn yourself into an energy being and live on sunlight - I wouldn't say it would be impossible to write a story in such a world, but it would have to be a very arty, surreal, RA Lafferty-type story.

Actually I supose it would be a bit like astral travel: you can shape around yourself anything you can imagine clearly, you can shape yourself the same way, unless someone else with a more powerful mind (or a group of someones) overrules you and shapes it/you *their* way.


Like Faerie gold, that evaporates away at dawn.Quite. I suppose you could still have a coin-based economy in a society which could create false coins by magic, but not real ones. But coins would be treated the way we treat cheques: traders would either keep the coin for several days before they handed over the goods, to make sure it didn't evaporate, or they would require some sort of magical equivalent of a guarantee card.

You couldn't even trust barter, if magic were freely available: if you offered to swap a yard of cloth for a roast chicken either or both items might be illusory.

whitehound
05-23-2005, 06:04 AM
PS - who or what is Shemp?

Thekherham
05-23-2005, 07:50 AM
Fantasy set in the past?
Not necessarily. I've written a novel that is set in the present time, but has fantasy elements.

fallenangelwriter
05-25-2005, 06:03 AM
Or it could be a server program on unix based platforms :)



Possibly, but I thought the theoretical setting was that magic (or magick) was limitless -- in such a world, casting a Create Food spell would create food, not pretend food.


Like Faerie gold, that evaporates away at dawn. Yes, but again in a limitless world it would be akin to real. Of course, this would be inane as there would be no such thing as a rare metal (such as gold) if everyone could create gold whenever they liked, there would be no reason to do so. This is usually "fixed" in fantasy with limits -- Gems can't be created magically so they become the currency. SF has this too, with Duplicating Machines unable to reproduce a special rare element for instance.

Kind of gets away from the "Fantasy in the present day" topic though, except that magic in the past would have made a different present day. The RPG Shadowrun uses a "magic went away, and now its come back" twist to meld Cyberpunk and Fantasy for a near-future-high-tech-with-elves feel.

That leaves stuff like Harry Potter (magic exists in secret to the muggles), alternate histories where magic has always existed hand in hand with science, other dimensions where magic rules and people from this world end up there. These allow for limited magic -- I don't think they'd cope with unlimited.

neither cyberpunk nor harry potter is an example of magic hand in hand with technology.

harry potter's wizards demonstrate magic AS technology, much like the kind of society i've been arguing for, but in harry piotter, it's only for the wizards.

i'm thinking of a universe in which for the entire population magic has always replaced technology.

Higgins
09-10-2006, 02:58 AM
A fantasy novel can take place in any time, past, present, or future, as long as the defining elements of what constitutes a fantasy novel are present... That was the point of my original post in the other thread, lol.

This seeming chronology is actually a technological continuum, right?

Rabe
09-11-2006, 03:25 AM
And some here consider McCaffery's Pern stories fantasies, in that they involve dragons, although most, I think, consider them SF. Of the one I read, I got the distinct impression it was set in the future.

Until deep into the series, I definitely thought of the Pern stories as fantasy. Even after the revelation of spaceships and the like, I still considered them fantasy. With a scientific edge.

Although, as the original question. I say no. It doesn't always have to exist in the past. I can't seem to write fantasy in the typical 'high' or 'epic' genres and have all mine set in the relatively modern world.

Rabe...

Alan Yee
09-11-2006, 04:01 AM
The novel I'm working is a dark urban fantasy, and it takes place in the modern world. Let's just say it's our world, with demons intermingling with humans, and witches. Sort-of-but-not-quite like the worlds in Buffy and Charmed.

Pthom
09-11-2006, 05:39 AM
Been awhile since I saw this thread. :)

I've mentioned it in other threads, but will here, too, since it's pertinant:

Greg Bear's Songs of Earth and Power (http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Earth-Power-Greg-Bear/dp/0812536037)takes place in the present day, or perhaps even a bit in the future. At least, it begins in Los Angeles and ends in Los Angeles with the main character driving a Saab...