November 15, 2019, 04:39:38 PM

Author Topic: Magic vs Technology  (Read 10576 times)

Offline Karayne

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #15 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.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #16 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.
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Online Neveesandeh

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #17 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.

Offline isos81

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #18 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.
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #19 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.

Offline Yora

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #20 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."
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Online Neveesandeh

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #21 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.

Offline Bender

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #22 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. 
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline cupiscent

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #23 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.

Offline Bender

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #24 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.
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline isos81

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #25 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 :)
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline cupiscent

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #26 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.

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #27 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.
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Offline Yora

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #28 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?
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Bender

Re: Magic vs Technology
« Reply #29 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.
Not all those who wander are lost