Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: lyrastern on March 12, 2011, 03:35:24 PM

Title: Magic vs Technology
Post by: lyrastern on March 12, 2011, 03:35:24 PM
There is often no place in fantasy for magic and technology to coincide. Fantasy usually occurs in a world that isn't our own, where the people don't even have plastic let alone a mobile phone. I suppose it would take away a lot of dramatic irony if the hero could just call his lady and ask if she needs him or if he got a text message warning him that an ambush was coming.
Fantasy that does occur in our world such as Harry Potter or the Dresden files still find no way to mesh the two worlds together. Magic always seems to 'interfere' with technology and send it haywire.
There is always the rare exception such as American Gods, but that's a different type of magic altogether.
I suppose what I'm asking is, with the world being as technologically advanced as it is nowadays and with the thousands of fantasy books all seeming to follow similar patterns, is there a place for magic and technology to co-exist?
Does it already exist and I'm missing it?
Would technology ruin a good fantasy story?
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Autumn2May on March 12, 2011, 04:06:04 PM
There is often no place in fantasy for magic and technology to coincide. Fantasy usually occurs in a world that isn't our own, where the people don't even have plastic let alone a mobile phone. I suppose it would take away a lot of dramatic irony if the hero could just call his lady and ask if she needs him or if he got a text message warning him that an ambush was coming.
Fantasy that does occur in our world such as Harry Potter or the Dresden files still find no way to mesh the two worlds together. Magic always seems to 'interfere' with technology and send it haywire.
There is always the rare exception such as American Gods, but that's a different type of magic altogether.
I suppose what I'm asking is, with the world being as technologically advanced as it is nowadays and with the thousands of fantasy books all seeming to follow similar patterns, is there a place for magic and technology to co-exist?
Does it already exist and I'm missing it?
Would technology ruin a good fantasy story?

Actually the book series I'm writing is fantasy that takes place in another magic based world, and there is some technology as well. :)  As a matter of fact they have their own equivalent of smart phones. :)  Magic in a story can exist anywhere, you just have to think about it differently.  As long as technology is used for different things then magic is used for, it works.  The reason my world ended up with smart phones and magic at the same time is there is no magic for communicating over distances, so technology filled the gap. :)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: AJZaethe on March 12, 2011, 05:13:42 PM
Actually the book series I'm writing is fantasy that takes place in another magic based world, and there is some technology as well. :)  As a matter of fact they have their own equivalent of smart phones. :)  Magic in a story can exist anywhere, you just have to think about it differently.  As long as technology is used for different things then magic is used for, it works.  The reason my world ended up with smart phones and magic at the same time is there is no magic for communicating over distances, so technology filled the gap. :)

I have the same thing going on as Autumn here, except nothing like that at the same time.  In my own story there are periods of time where tech nology makes Star Trek look like child's play and other times almost non existent.  The point is.  Is the tech needed or not? 

I have seen stories with advanced technology.  But nothing ever really with a "cellphone," and I personally would be against something such as that.  A communication device as Autumn described doesn't exactly sound the same as a cellphone, so it is ok, but my point is this. 

To have simple tech such as a cellphone, sounds tacky and silly to me.  I wouldn't be able to take the fantasy seriously.  I wonder if this is what others feel and that is why it is not seen in fantasy?

Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: lyrastern on March 12, 2011, 05:21:22 PM
yeah I agree, I'm not suggesting that every hero wanders around organising armies by text message. Its obvious there is no place for technology in those worlds.
But could a convincing Fantasy story happen in a tech-friendly environment? or is it right that it is limited to sci-fi?
I suppose you could say that Fantasy that occurs in a Tech savvy world like ours wouldn't really be fantasy at all.
I'm just curious as to the boundaries of the genre really. what everyone thinks would be too far.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Funky Scarecrow on March 12, 2011, 05:45:08 PM
I get irritated with the whole "magic>physics" thing for stories set in this universe. I can accept it when it's actually part of the hook of the story (see "Age of Misrule" trilogy by Mark Chadbourn), but not when it behaves inconsistently and only to ramp up dramatic tension ("O noes! Mah phone won't work!"), or to give the hero/ine a reason to do their fighting with a sword or battle axe ("Beware! The presence of magic arbitrarily halts the oxidisation occurring inside bullets by dint of its mere existence. Don't ask why it doesn't do the same thing to your body. It just doesn't, OK?"). Magic as plot hanger, by-product of inter-dimensional mingling, or manifestation of the divine (or at least, Godlike in power), I'll have. Magic as deus (diabolus?) ex machina  I won't have, not even if you wrap it in a pretty bow and give me a kiss on the cheek as you hand it over.

I'm also happy to accept secondary worlds in which the presence of magic has made a great deal of scientific progress grind to a halt. Historically, science was a pursuit for the wealthy. Something which those with the resources and ample time not dedicated to mere subsistence could indulge their fancy for. In a world in which magic is readily apparent it makes sense that people of an investigative turn of mind would study this prominent and widespread phenomena before the more invisible influences on the world; especially when you factor in the practical application of magic. It would be cool to see an Elf/Dwarf/Goblin with a flintlock now and again, though.

Have tech, have magic, have both, but please don't make the mere existence of one destroy the existence of the other. Give sten guns to Orcs, have mages firing bolts of magic at Abrams tanks, have Dragons fighting aerial battles with Harrier jets. Just stop using it to make the hero/ine's phone stop working at dramatic moments, or to give them a reason not to put a bullet or a shotgun round into the villain.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Autumn2May on March 12, 2011, 06:23:03 PM
I get irritated with the whole "magic>physics" thing for stories set in this universe. I can accept it when it's actually part of the hook of the story (see "Age of Misrule" trilogy by Mark Chadbourn), but not when it behaves inconsistently and only to ramp up dramatic tension ("O noes! Mah phone won't work!"), or to give the hero/ine a reason to do their fighting with a sword or battle axe ("Beware! The presence of magic arbitrarily halts the oxidisation occurring inside bullets by dint of its mere existence. Don't ask why it doesn't do the same thing to your body. It just doesn't, OK?"). Magic as plot hanger, by-product of inter-dimensional mingling, or manifestation of the divine (or at least, Godlike in power), I'll have. Magic as deus (diabolus?) ex machina  I won't have, not even if you wrap it in a pretty bow and give me a kiss on the cheek as you hand it over.

I'm also happy to accept secondary worlds in which the presence of magic has made a great deal of scientific progress grind to a halt. Historically, science was a pursuit for the wealthy. Something which those with the resources and ample time not dedicated to mere subsistence could indulge their fancy for. In a world in which magic is readily apparent it makes sense that people of an investigative turn of mind would study this prominent and widespread phenomena before the more invisible influences on the world; especially when you factor in the practical application of magic. It would be cool to see an Elf/Dwarf/Goblin with a flintlock now and again, though.

Have tech, have magic, have both, but please don't make the mere existence of one destroy the existence of the other. Give sten guns to Orcs, have mages firing bolts of magic at Abrams tanks, have Dragons fighting aerial battles with Harrier jets. Just stop using it to make the hero/ine's phone stop working at dramatic moments, or to give them a reason not to put a bullet or a shotgun round into the villain.

Very well said my good man. :)  I agree, "Must defeat main bad guy with sword instead of gun because it will be cooler!" is so annoying. :)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: MTMaenpaa on March 12, 2011, 06:57:02 PM
I go to sleep and like magic, fun new threads appear.  Wait, the internet is magic!

Its not, is it?  You guys just got up before I did.  Damn.

I'm going to point at the infamous Arthur C Clarke quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

And I'm going to chuck a little, because he's right.  And I think that it makes things difficult to have advanced sciences alongside magic.  It isn't that they couldn't coexist, in so much as they would appear indistinguishable from each other without hefty chunks of exposition.  And as was mentioned before (by someone else who doesn't sleep as late), Science and Magic don't often overlap in purpose.  But who says they can't?

Suppose that the world is magical, yet not every person has magic.  Eventually, there would be those who disdain to rely on magic.  Social stigma, unreliability and lack of trust can push this person in the direction of the sciences, natural and physical, to attempt to produce the same results as with magic.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Corvus on March 12, 2011, 08:43:19 PM
The Iron Kingdoms/Warmachine game setting is one where tech and magic do work together - and is all the more awesome for it.

I like the idea of tech and magic working together and never understood why they are at odds with each other so often.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: missoularedhead on March 13, 2011, 12:49:16 AM
I think one place where magic and technology coincide is in books where the tech is seriously advanced, and at some point, something catastrophic happened, and people forgot the tech and now it's 'magic'.  Peter Hamilton, who most would consider a sci fi writer, has his Void trilogy, where the tech outside the void is beyond the tech inside, and the stories alternate between the tech-heavy outside and the low-tech inside.  It's actually interesting, because it's classified as sci fi, yet half the books are distinctly fantasy (trying to not provide spoilers to explain is tough!), and when the collide, it works.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: The Mad Hatter on March 13, 2011, 03:23:02 AM

The idea that the two cannot coexist is bullshit. The author of a particular book may decide that they can't, as Jim Butcher did, but that was his choice. Jack Vance mixed them, as did Andre Norton, and many other classic authors. For that matter Illona Andrews is currently mixing them.

Now I'll admit from a plot and back ground stand point it may simplify things for the author... And that does have it's points. We aren't all as good as Jack Vance or Andre Norton after all.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Fellshot on March 13, 2011, 03:29:00 AM
As long as the magic is working according to rules and physics are still in place (and if there are things like trebuchets and ballistas, better be!) you should be able to mix the two. What is alchemy after all but early chemistry? Maybe' I just see it as less of an "instead of" and more "in addition to."
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Overlord on March 13, 2011, 06:21:43 AM
I think that 'usually' when magic and technology mix people shout 'Sci-Fi' and therefore Fantasy authors try to avoid it for fear of their work being palmed off into another genre. There are examples of it though... Look at Star Wars - that is probably the most popular one. I know the latest Mistborn novel will have some technology in it (it comes out later this year).
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bryndled1 on March 13, 2011, 07:41:09 PM
I think Roger Zelazny did a really good job of blending Technology and Magic in the Amber series. I also thought Piers Anthony did I great job in the Adept Aprentice series.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: The Mad Hatter on March 13, 2011, 09:20:35 PM
I think that 'usually' when magic and technology mix people shout 'Sci-Fi' and therefore Fantasy authors try to avoid it for fear of their work being palmed off into another genre. There are examples of it though... Look at Star Wars - that is probably the most popular one. I know the latest Mistborn novel will have some technology in it (it comes out later this year).
Actually with minor changes Star Wars makes admirable Science Fiction. And no, I won't go into details. I'm thinking of writing a book about it :)

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: AJZaethe on March 16, 2011, 04:50:12 PM
I do not label Star Wars, as much as I hate it, sci fi.  It is High Fantasy or just Fantasy/scifi mix.  Once you add magic or some kind of mystical system to the whole thing, then you go off and make it fantasy.  Annoys me like how they labeled Warbreaker a Sci Fi essential book.  WHERE IN THE HELL DOES THAT COME FROM?  Did they not read it before plastering that on the book's cover?

There wasn't a drop of scifi in there.  And I looked hard.

Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Karayne on March 30, 2011, 11:37:32 PM
I'm a bit of a nobody in writing circles,(Hopefully that'll change someday) but I'm working on a book that would contain magic as well as technology.

My opinion is that it depends on the world itself, there's a context for all magic within novels. As someone else pointed out, jedi are mages. So technically, magic existed before technology in the star wars universe. The universe has just progressed to the point that the technology has surpassed or is comparable to what can be done with said magic system. That right there is a key.

Comparable, doesn't mean better or worse. Its a style or a personal preference for the writer and probably even for the readers. In star wars they have blaster pistols and rifles, but the force and lightsaber combination negates those advantages and brings things to a more level playing field.

My own work I'm having a rather vast timeline I plan to hop around in. This means I will see technology and magic rise and fall in favor of one or the other based on the world and the preference of its peoples.

Imagine a grand civilization such as our own discovering magic so late in this stage. What would it do?

Or vice versa, what would a major leap in technology when magic has always been the primary do?

That right there can create a conflict worth writing about, but also would create an imbalance that you'd have to explain. Which by itself could turn people off with the extra exposition.(unless you integrated it directly into the story as a plot point)

So I think a balance would have to be struck. Unless the imbalance is the point of the story itself.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Eclipse on October 15, 2019, 08:47:09 PM
I think Roger Zelazny did a really good job of blending Technology and Magic in the Amber series. I also thought Piers Anthony did I great job in the Adept Aprentice series.

I never got round to the Amber series, tech and magic can co-exist there’s just not that many stories out there which feature both.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Neveesandeh on October 16, 2019, 08:37:27 AM
I think they are more likely to coexist in a world where not everyone can use magic. That would provide an incentive for those who can't to rely for on technology, and could also set up conflict between a more elitist group of mages and a more egalitarian group of scientists.

One idea I had once, which I think I might have stolen from somewhere, is that magic grows and weakens in power over time. In one setting I had there was an empire that created advanced technology based on magic, but after a hundred years, the magic in the world became significantly less powerful, all their devices failed and their empire collapsed.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: isos81 on October 16, 2019, 09:21:04 AM
My favorite hero is Batman because he is purely based on technology and doesn't use magic at all. But in terms of books, I always prefer books with pure magic where there is not even electricity :)

Post-apocalyptic magic/tech book (Broken Empire) was an interesting experience TBH.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on October 16, 2019, 09:33:13 AM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Yora on October 16, 2019, 12:05:30 PM
"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you have constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

I think it was really just a throwaway line to sound mystic and intriguing without specific ideas to what exactly would make the destruction of a planet insignificant. But it really shaped my view that magic and technology shouldn't be competing in the same arena. In that first Star Wars movie, all the powers of Vader and Obi-Wan were about perception and manipulating thoughts. Even the one time Vader chokes an officer it could just as well have been manipulating his muscles instead of applying actual pressure. Actual telekinesis and being a combat beast comes later. I feel like the true power of supernatural abilities lies in knowledge and manipulating people. When you can control the masses and can outsmart your enemies, the ability to destroy a planet really doesn't make much of a difference.

Throwing fire and lightning to blow up things has gotten very stale for me.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Neveesandeh on October 17, 2019, 11:37:06 AM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.

This sounds amazing. I did have sort of a magic vs tech idea for one series I'm working on, but it's more a thematic undercurrent than anything else. I would love to read a series like this.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 17, 2019, 05:27:42 PM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.

Technology will win hands down. Most magic systems I've read makes them still dependant on physical capacity of the user which gives technology a big advantage. 
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: cupiscent on October 17, 2019, 10:08:28 PM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.

Technology will win hands down. Most magic systems I've read makes them still dependant on physical capacity of the user which gives technology a big advantage.

ehhhh but what if the magic automatically (...automagically) fries the tech? I mean, Peter Grant is a walking permanent EMP.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 17, 2019, 10:47:04 PM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.

Technology will win hands down. Most magic systems I've read makes them still dependant on physical capacity of the user which gives technology a big advantage.

ehhhh but what if the magic automatically (...automagically) fries the tech? I mean, Peter Grant is a walking permanent EMP.

Not all tech weaponry is electronic. A simple Gatling gun can fire hundreds of rounds. Or a old fashioned impact bombs, grenades, mines in ground ... It's still deadly.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: isos81 on October 18, 2019, 06:51:55 AM
I've always wanted to read something of a technology vs magic war, where one side uses guns, tanks, and other advanced weaponry (maybe our age or scifi age) against powerful sorcerers and other users of magic. Maybe something in the area of mage-hunters would be interesting as well.

Technology will win hands down. Most magic systems I've read makes them still dependant on physical capacity of the user which gives technology a big advantage.

ehhhh but what if the magic automatically (...automagically) fries the tech? I mean, Peter Grant is a walking permanent EMP.

Not all tech weaponry is electronic. A simple Gatling gun can fire hundreds of rounds. Or a old fashioned impact bombs, grenades, mines in ground ... It's still deadly.

Today I read a bowman killing two mages from far away :)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: cupiscent on October 18, 2019, 11:25:16 PM
Tech is always an interesting thing for just that reason - the levelling factor. Crossbows were considered hideously dishonorable and were illegal for a long time because they allowed someone without years of training and heaps of equipment to take out an armoured knight (i.e. someone who'd spent time and money on training and equipment, and was therefore rich and high status).

BUT. Magic is--or should be--just another sort of technology. Technology is just harnessing the laws of nature to achieve a purpose with tools. Magic is just another law of nature. Any effect that can be achieved with technology should also be achievable with magic. Indeed, could possibly be achieved faster, harder, higher, better. This is magic, after all.

I'm thinking of Daniel Polansky's Low Town books--specifically the second book, Tomorrow the Killing, wherein there's a fantastic analogy of the First World War (i.e. the war where technology really made a mess of the romantic concept of war as limited) as fought with magic as that technology. Magic mines, grenades, bombs, gatling guns, etc. The PTSD remains the same.

So I guess it comes back to:
Most magic systems I've read makes them still dependant on physical capacity of the user which gives technology a big advantage.
But systems don't have to be shaped like that. It's your choice as author.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Alex Hormann on October 19, 2019, 06:56:51 PM
I don't really see why so many see the 'vs' aspect of this. To my mind, magic and technology are best when they do very different things. If you want to kill a bandit, you grab a sword. if you want to see the future, you visit a prophet. or at least, that's the way I tend to handle things. Neither one is better than the other, because they're not competing in the same fields.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Yora on October 19, 2019, 06:59:16 PM
It has a very reactionary taste to it. Everything used to be better but modernity made everything bad. Technology is bad, mkay?
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 19, 2019, 09:39:06 PM
I don't really see why so many see the 'vs' aspect of this. To my mind, magic and technology are best when they do very different things. If you want to kill a bandit, you grab a sword. if you want to see the future, you visit a prophet. or at least, that's the way I tend to handle things. Neither one is better than the other, because they're not competing in the same fields.

It's a variation of Science vs Religion theme.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Neveesandeh on October 20, 2019, 03:50:32 PM
I don't really see why so many see the 'vs' aspect of this. To my mind, magic and technology are best when they do very different things. If you want to kill a bandit, you grab a sword. if you want to see the future, you visit a prophet. or at least, that's the way I tend to handle things. Neither one is better than the other, because they're not competing in the same fields.

It's a variation of Science vs Religion theme.

Sort of. Depends on how you handle it. It could be a sort of Romanticism vs Enlightenment theme as well. Magic could stand for backwards superstition or chivalrous values, depending on how you frame it.

But I like the idea of a magic vs technology conflict because in most settings magic is only available to a select group born with magical powers. Technology isn't available to everyone, but everyone can, in theory, obtain it. It that way, technology is more likely to enforce equality, or at least equality of opportunity, and magic hierarchy, in particular a hereditary hierarchy.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: JMack on October 20, 2019, 04:16:32 PM
I don't really see why so many see the 'vs' aspect of this. To my mind, magic and technology are best when they do very different things. If you want to kill a bandit, you grab a sword. if you want to see the future, you visit a prophet. or at least, that's the way I tend to handle things. Neither one is better than the other, because they're not competing in the same fields.

It's a variation of Science vs Religion theme.

Sort of. Depends on how you handle it. It could be a sort of Romanticism vs Enlightenment theme as well. Magic could stand for backwards superstition or chivalrous values, depending on how you frame it.

But I like the idea of a magic vs technology conflict because in most settings magic is only available to a select group born with magical powers. Technology isn't available to everyone, but everyone can, in theory, obtain it. It that way, technology is more likely to enforce equality, or at least equality of opportunity, and magic hierarchy, in particular a hereditary hierarchy.

That’s a really insightful er... insight. An interesting take would be to have magic actually available to all, while the powerful try to suppress that information.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 21, 2019, 12:48:03 AM
An interesting take would be to have magic actually available to all, while the powerful try to suppress that information.

Isn't that common? You have a magic guild who tries to contain/train users but actual users come from all classes of people. "Wilders" or variation of that is used in many books.

Not sure if "alchemy" is restricted in kingkiller. False dragons pop us everywhere in WoT. Common lots get access in Stormlight.

If you're looking at everyone having access, Perhaps Codex Alera? (Haven't read ,so guessing).
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on October 21, 2019, 03:53:52 AM
An interesting take would be to have magic actually available to all, while the powerful try to suppress that information.

Isn't that common? You have a magic guild who tries to contain/train users but actual users come from all classes of people. "Wilders" or variation of that is used in many books.

Not sure if "alchemy" is restricted in kingkiller. False dragons pop us everywhere in WoT. Common lots get access in Stormlight.

If you're looking at everyone having access, Perhaps Codex Alera? (Haven't read ,so guessing).

That sounds kinda like how the magic world went in the original Mistborn trilogy as well. What with the Lord Ruler trying to suppress magic and all.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Skip on October 21, 2019, 05:53:10 AM
I'm struck by how clear the line is, not just in this discussion but in a great many fantasy books. Everyone in the fantasy world seems to be quite clear about what is magic and what is tech.

In my world of Altearth, the line is not at all clear. Many things are believed to be magic that we would call natural. And many things are taken as a normal part of the world that we would call supernatural. Moreover, elves have their range of opinions while humans or dwarves or orcs or gnomes each have their own ideas.

As for tech existing in this world, what's tech? A wagon? Flintlock? Being able to calculate longitude? A steam engine? What about a steam engine powered in part by magical forces as in so many steampunk books?

The division seems overly clear, overly simple, and not really necessary for telling a story.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 21, 2019, 03:39:12 PM
The definition of science of technology by default covers magic too.

Science - the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Technology - the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.

Assuming Magic is a natural phenomenon (presence of mana or similar in nature etc), having magical science and magical technology should be a acceptable standard. The whole purpose of magical schools and universities is to educate users on effects, limitations and science behind use of magic.

- A flying carpet is magical tech. So is a staff used as focus to wield magic.
- Potions and cauldrons are just magical chemistry.
- A flying car or sky keep is a hybrid which has a mechanical and magical aspect.

The divide gets more blurred only when source of magic is not explained clearly...esp in cases where the current science also does not provide explanation. Floo transportation Network in Harry Potter vs Transporters (teleporters) in Star Trek.

-----

What books focus on is non-magic science/tech vs magical science/tech. Guns vs fireballs which is quite interesting take on the aspect. Why bother spending years to be a trained battle mage when you can just pick up gun far more easily?
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on October 22, 2019, 04:37:47 AM
The definition of science of technology by default covers magic too.

Science - the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Technology - the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.

Assuming Magic is a natural phenomenon (presence of mana or similar in nature etc), having magical science and magical technology should be a acceptable standard. The whole purpose of magical schools and universities is to educate users on effects, limitations and science behind use of magic.

- A flying carpet is magical tech. So is a staff used as focus to wield magic.
- Potions and cauldrons are just magical chemistry.
- A flying car or sky keep is a hybrid which has a mechanical and magical aspect.

The divide gets more blurred only when source of magic is not explained clearly...esp in cases where the current science also does not provide explanation. Floo transportation Network in Harry Potter vs Transporters (teleporters) in Star Trek.

-----

What books focus on is non-magic science/tech vs magical science/tech. Guns vs fireballs which is quite interesting take on the aspect. Why bother spending years to be a trained battle mage when you can just pick up gun far more easily?

The guns vs fireballs part seriously sounded like The Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan now that I think of it. (Powder Mages vs Priviledged)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Matthew on October 22, 2019, 08:34:17 AM
The guns vs fireballs part seriously sounded like The Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan now that I think of it. (Powder Mages vs Priviledged)

A little, but the central crux of that was the revolutionists had to murder the mages in their beds because going up against them would be suicide. There was a way of shooting them down at a distance but that in itself required special magic musket balls. Not to mention even they were powder mages, so had some magical ability themselves even though it was different to the royal mages.

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I can think of two good examples of mixing the pot.
Heartstrikers, where a modern society rediscovers magic and even though the grand magic of old is still lost, humanity essentially weaves what they have with technology to make things like smartphones etc.

Starship Mage, where interstellar travel is only possible by harnessing the teleport spell of a mage inside a ship designed as a giant focus, allowing them to 'jump' a lightyear at a time. In this world mages are also dangerous but only when properly trained. So to respond to some comments about why you'd learn magic combat instead of picking up a gun, is that even though a gun is deadly, a trained mage makes it irrelevant in that you can't actually shoot through their shields with it.

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Overall I like the combination, and I see it as a good way of avoiding power creep in long running series (of course it will still happen, but you could find a lot more variety in combat mechanics that didn't just rely on escalating the strength of the combatants. An example of this could be the Alex Verus series, which sees the main character dealing with everything from battle mages, to snipers, to mines, to alarm systems, to magical creatures, to elementals, etc. I will say that power creep has still sort of ruined the series for me at this point though, about half a dozen books in he retconned his own magic system to increase potential which just felt lazy and took that uniqueness out of it (like mixed discipline mages combining multiple powers which was expressly stated as impossible in the first half of the series, etc).
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: cupiscent on October 22, 2019, 11:30:16 AM
Melissa Caruso's Swords and Fire trilogy (first book The Tethered Mage) does some interesting blending of magic and technology, I think. The random bestowing of magic in her book shows up in three broad flavours - elemental mages, alchemists/potioneers (chemists, but imbued results) and artificers (engineers/inventors, but imbued results). The world is developed to a point where it's hard to see what the "raw" magic of the latter two would be, it's so bound up in the technology that it produces. (And almost all the real-world-equivalent technological feats are magically achieved.) As magic starts to become more acceptable for general use in the progress of the books, it's easy to see how the elemental mages might get harnessed to industry and technology as well. (Her next trilogy is apparently going to be same world, a generation or two later, and I'm curious to see how she develops that mix.)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Bender on October 22, 2019, 03:40:32 PM
Starship Mage, where interstellar travel is only possible by harnessing the teleport spell of a mage inside a ship designed as a giant focus, allowing them to 'jump' a lightyear at a time. In this world mages are also dangerous but only when properly trained. So to respond to some comments about why you'd learn magic combat instead of picking up a gun, is that even though a gun is deadly, a trained mage makes it irrelevant in that you can't actually shoot through their shields with it.

Sanderson wrote something similar in Skyward, though he has positioned it more as sci-fi. They have regular ships with regular engines but the novel refers to some people as "Cytonics" and they have ability to engage a "Cytonic hyperdrive"  which can transport them across huge distances FTL.
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: Matthew on October 23, 2019, 11:51:58 AM
@cupiscent That reminds me of The Grimnoir Chronicles where the for lack of a better word, mages are often found in industry that their power helps with (fire to put out fires, electricity to redirect lightning from blimps, gravity to lift heavy things, etc.

@Bender It's on my list but I didn't know anything about it. Waiting for the full trilogy to be done (though I hope he finishes the mistborn one first, which now I think about it, starts meshing science and magic together in the 4th).
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: ScarletBea on October 24, 2019, 07:33:47 PM
Interesting article by Mark Lawrence on magic/science:

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-magic-of-science.html (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-magic-of-science.html)
Title: Re: Magic vs Technology
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on October 25, 2019, 04:44:58 AM
Interesting article by Mark Lawrence on magic/science:

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-magic-of-science.html (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-magic-of-science.html)

I think Mark is the best guy for this, haha. *Spoiler alert*

I could still remembered the scene where Jorg pulled out a gun to deal with his enemy.  ;D