Monday, February 11, 2013

Fantasy Worlds and Modern Technology

Why is it, in the 21st Century where we eat, sleep and breathe technology, we, fantasy writers, still build tech free worlds? Urban Fantasy doesn't count. From the books I've read in this subgenre, the setting is familiar. It's like an alternate version of a places we already know.

I'm not looking for anything advanced like something you'd find in Sci-fi. I mean having a non-human character in a made up world watching television. It's not impossible. This is fantasy, nothing is impossible. I could create a rainbow breathing dragon with two massive feathered arms as wings. That's why I love this genre.

Why am I looking for this type of book? The world in my series is closer to ours. The reason it's not set in ours is because I don't want to be restricted with being geographically correct.

For my series to fit the mold, I'd have to change it drastically which, I have no intention of doing. Hence, my dilemma. This had me right on the edge of panic mode. I mean, I've been working on this world for over 7 years now. My story and my characters are kinda set in their ways. Had to step away from writing for a while.

I consulted Googled but didn't find a lot of discussions on this topic. Maybe the genre has some time period requirement I wasn't aware of. According to Wikipedia, fantasy is:
"a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genre of science fiction by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific themes, though there is a great deal of overlap between the two, both of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.
In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form, especially since the worldwide success of The Lord of the Rings and related books by J. R. R. Tolkien. Fantasy has also included wizards, sorcerers, witchcraft, etc., in events which avoid horror." 
No requirement here. I read a few more definitions and they said something along the lines of "often set in medieval times." As far as I can tell, there's no rule saying it has to be medieval times.

I'm aware of Steampunk but that's:
"defined as 'a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advance technology.' Most of the time, you can see this definition of steampunk represented in a story set in a historical time period that features anachronistic and impossible machines." (Impact Books)
Close, but not what I'm thinking of.

Here's an interesting discussion on this topic:
Absolute Writer Water Cooler: Modern technology in fantasy world?

I did some more digging. One issue that came up often was how can you have magic and technology existing together. Valid question. In my world, the population of beings with power is small and they've all managed to use said power to stay hidden. They don't have an organized or developed society.

What do you think? Why are fantasy worlds still set mostly in medieval times? If you know any fantasy novels with tech, that's not Urban Fantasy, I'd love to hear about them.
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