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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    A while back I started a thread on here about concerns regarding a story concept I had and in the thread an interesting issue came up: the general lack of "high tech" fantasy settings. While JRPGs and anime generally have these kind of worlds, some individuals in said thread expressed that there was a general lack of them in the literary world. As a result, I am making this thread to see if they where in fact wrong. The playground is a fairly well-read place, and as a result I want to know if any of you here know of any fantasy novels or novel series that take place in a fantasy world that also has a high level of technology. Of course, high technology is a subjective thing, so I will clarify what I mean.

    Modern or near-modern tech-level settings do not count as "high technology" for this and neither does steampunk. High technology means sufficiently futuristic, at least for this, and since this is a search for high tech fantasy said story must still have some fantasy elements(magic, monsters ect...) despite being high-tech. Thus far, the only examples I can think of would be the Star Wars and Shadowrun novels....maybe the Ebberon novels but that's not really "futuristic" so I'm not sure if I should count it. So, with that out of the way, do any of you know any such fantasy novels or novel series?
    Last edited by Giegue; 2012-11-26 at 12:07 PM.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Donnerjack by Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold fits the bill. It is set in two worlds: Verite, the real world, and virtu, a complex virtual reality. Since its creation, virtu has evolved to the point that it has its own gods and supernatural powers that be.

    From what I understand, it wasn't well received, but I found it to be an incredible and fascinating work.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Sounds interesting enough, but I do wonder if there was actual magic, or if the "magic" was totally virtual/simulated and thus confined to the virtual world. If the latter I'd be more inclined to say the work was a sci-fi novel that uses tropes and conventions from fantasy since the "fantasy" elements are not ACTUALLY magical or monsters but rather sufficiently advance technology simulating those things. The line is VERY thin, though, so for the purposes of proving people wrong I'll accept it as an example for now.

    Also, why was it panned? It seems like an interesting enough concept.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2012-11-26 at 12:46 PM.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Well, Warhammer certainly counts. There are Japanese LNs like Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and manga like the Nanoha series which embrace a Final Fantasy style of magitek/far-future style.

    There isn't a whole lot of that pastiche in western works, if I were to guess it's because it's too utopic. There are a fair number of neo-dark age settings with space colonies or Earth itself having gone through some disaster or misfortune which results in science being forgotten and remnants of knowledge and technology being misconstrued as magical or some variation of that theme.

    While the Wheel of Time is set in a feudal iron-age civilization -- it's preceding age was a fairly imaginative magitek setting, which by the nature of the book is referenced heavily.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Yeah. I already mentioned all the Japanese stuff. I am specifically looking for western works, since the Japanese stuff is almost always tied to an anime or videogame, or has one tied to it, even if it started as a light novel. I am looking mostly for purely written works, mainly because I want to know if there is actually a niche' in the market that is relitively untapped or if such a thing lacks a presence simply because nobody would want to read it. I am gauging how "original"(I use the term subjectively because in my mind nothing is 100% original...) a concept of my own is and whether or not it has the potential to fill a gap in the market or if it will just never hit the market because that "gap" is due to a lack of potential readers rather then writers not wanting to touch that kind of setting.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2012-11-26 at 01:33 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    High tech plus fantasy? Sounds kinda like Chains of Loss. I should know. I wrote it.

    It's about a 35th century cyborg who wakes up to find that his ship's crashed on Earth - but it's not quite the Earth his ancestors left. The existence of magic is a heck of a shock to him.

    It's self-published and going slow, but seems to be gaining steam. Doesn't seem like readers hate it, from the reviews on amazon.

    Sorry, but I just got up and don't think I can adequately explain more until my brain starts working. Links are in my signature to the book, ebook, and sample. I just had a giveaway this weekend; sorry you missed it.
    Last edited by Talanic; 2012-11-26 at 01:41 PM.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    So this genre is called "Science Fantasy", yes?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fantasy

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by Giegue View Post
    Sounds interesting enough, but I do wonder if there was actual magic, or if the "magic" was totally virtual/simulated and thus confined to the virtual world. If the latter I'd be more inclined to say the work was a sci-fi novel that uses tropes and conventions from fantasy since the "fantasy" elements are not ACTUALLY magical or monsters but rather sufficiently advance technology simulating those things. The line is VERY thin, though, so for the purposes of proving people wrong I'll accept it as an example for now.

    Also, why was it panned? It seems like an interesting enough concept.
    If I said more, I think I would be spoiling the book. Honestly, I recommend reading the book rather than reading my spoilers, it's really good. So here is my reply:

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    One of the main characters can cross between the virtu and the verite at will and without the complicated technology ordinarily required to do so. One of the main characters was born from the union of a virtu being and a verite woman. Some of virtu's gods and supernatural beings can cross into the verite and are beginning to do so with more frequency. There are ghosts, and a certain place where anyone can cross from the verite into virtu without the aid of technology. There is the implication that the virtu is not a virtual reality at all, that there really is no difference between virtu and verite.


    As for why it was panned, I don't know. It was published in '97, after Zelazny died, but I only first read it a couple years ago.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    Well, Warhammer certainly counts.
    Warhammer has three Steam Punk factions1 and everyone else is medieval (or bronze/stone age for two factions2).

    1 dwarves, chaos dwarves, empire

    2 tomb kings, lizard men
    Last edited by Closet_Skeleton; 2012-11-26 at 08:14 PM.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Skeleton View Post
    Warhammer has three Steam Punk factions1 and everyone else is medieval (or bronze/stone age for two factions2).

    1 dwarves, chaos dwarves, empire

    2 tomb kings, lizard men
    He meant 40k, of course. Don't be pedantic.
    Last edited by Gavinfoxx; 2012-11-26 at 08:20 PM.

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    I've heard arguments that the post-apocalyptic time period of Cloud Atlas could be described as this sort of setting. Of course, this argument is based on the movie, so it could be different in the actual book. (And the supernatural elements are ambiguous.)
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Come to think of it, there's Quantum Gravity. While it's the not-so-distant future technically, the technology is pretty science fictional as to be early cyberpunk.

    The rewriting of reality which precedes the events in the series leaves Earth looking rather like one of the alternative Earths from Morcock's multiverse.

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    This may or may not be quite what you're looking for.

    The Cycle of Fire series by Janny Wurts. The main story itself is your fairly generic high fantasy fare. There's the weakling orphan who grows up to be a powerful mage, the love interest who grows up to be a powerful mage in her own right, a mass of demons hell-bent (heh) on their destruction and some sort of quest to save the world.

    But the background is rather fascinating. What no-one in-universe is aware is that humanity is the remnant of a spaceship's crew who crash-landed thousands of years ago on the planet, and that their "magic" is a mix of extremely high tech and latent psychic ability, still being controlled by the spaceship's dying AI core. And the demons are another alien race. (I might have just spoiled a large part of the second book, but it's immaterial to the actual story. It's literally just background info.)

    Janny Wurts is not the most well-known fantasy writer, but she writes well enough and the series is quite enjoyable.


    Edit: I can't believe I almost forgot this, given that I go off about it every chance I get:

    A Land Fit For Heroes series, by Richard K. Morgan. What makes this fun is that Morgan is mostly a science fiction author. It's a rather dark fantasy series with two alien races: one of whom has access to very high tech (so high that the humans regard it as magic) including space-warping ships that use the planet's core for energy, and another who has access to some form of hyperspace alternate-dimension via pseudo-magic. The series isn't done yet, so not everything has been explained fully, but the last book should be done soonish. Masterfully written.
    Last edited by Feytalist; 2012-11-27 at 04:52 AM.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Not really High Tech, but China Miéville manages to mix Dieselpunk, Biopunk, Necromancy, Mad Science, Demonology and a ton of other weird stuff into a setting that seems to average out somewhere in the late 19th century, only weirder.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Many stories by Jack Vance are basically Fantasy in SPAAAACE.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Someone mentioned Wh40K already, I'll add in Star Wars.

    Neither of them are sci-fi, they're obviously fantasy in a high-tech/futuristic setting.

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    Someone mentioned Wh40K already, I'll add in Star Wars.
    I believe the OP is already aware of SW...

    Quote Originally Posted by Giegue View Post
    Thus far, the only examples I can think of would be the Star Wars and Shadowrun novels....
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    The "Warlock" series by Christopher Stasheff comes to mind. That is, if I'm understanding your OP properly.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Simon R. Green's Deathstalker books have a bit of this feel to them.

    His Nightside books are a bit closer to the present era- with the high tech usually coming from the future.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Well, even though the setting's modern, in my NaNoWriBiMo novel I'm writing one of the protagonsits is a Grey alien wizard and the villains are heavily implied to be The Koch Brothers, who are really terrifying anti-angels of Angra Maynu, and some of their liquid spiritual corruption creates chemical mergers of javelinas and airplane parts from Tucson's airplane graveyard. Does that count?

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    I want to see a robot fight a dragon. That would make the nine year old part of my psyche very happy.

    Uhm, sounds like it exists somewhere...can't think of a book off the top of my head, but it makes me think of settings like the Land of Ooo from Adventure Time.

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by PlusSixPelican View Post
    I want to see a robot fight a dragon. That would make the nine year old part of my psyche very happy.
    Mary Gentle's "Grunts!" novel gets close...

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Realistically, I wouldn't expect high tech and magic to coexist - one makes the other irrelevant. Why build cars when you can magically run faster than a car or teleport? Why build telephones when you can magically communicate with someone on the other side of the world?

    About the most likely way such a world would develop would be something like the Age of Legends from the Wheel of Time saga - magically-talented individuals create magical items that non-magically-talented people can use to replicate magical effects. Which is basically what technology is.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    John Ringo's series, There will be Dragons, might fit your description. High Fantasy esque world created by the collapse of a post scarcity world.

    If you like John Ringo's writing style of course, incredibly buff hero's with inner turmoil about their Dom tendencies aren't everyone's thing. Be warned.
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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Oh! I know.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom books, featuring John Carter. (Yes, that John Carter.)

    It's got aliens, low-gravity, swords, and a dude from Virginia. So...yeah. That counts, right?
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality is pretty awesome... unlike Xanth, which totally isn't awesome...

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    Default Re: High-Tech Fantasy Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Not really High Tech, but China Miéville manages to mix Dieselpunk, Biopunk, Necromancy, Mad Science, Demonology and a ton of other weird stuff into a setting that seems to average out somewhere in the late 19th century, only weirder.
    It has a sentient hive mind of clockwork robots and mind eating moths that scare the forces of Hell. I'd say it fits both criteria.

    Personally I'd suggest:
    Evolve Two: Tales of the Future Undead, an anthology of very magically inclined vampires and how they exist in the future.
    Shanghai Steam, a Wuxia/Steampunk anthology that usually has the steampunk technology and the Qi based magic coming to blows but in a few stories they co-exist peacefully.
    Goodreads has recommended me a series called WebMage by Kelly McCullough which looks to be about a magical hacker, I have no idea how good it is though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangosta71 View Post
    Realistically, I wouldn't expect high tech and magic to coexist - one makes the other irrelevant. Why build cars when you can magically run faster than a car or teleport? Why build telephones when you can magically communicate with someone on the other side of the world?

    About the most likely way such a world would develop would be something like the Age of Legends from the Wheel of Time saga - magically-talented individuals create magical items that non-magically-talented people can use to replicate magical effects. Which is basically what technology is.
    it completely depends on the magic system.
    There being magic does in no way mean everyone can use it, or that you can create magic objects, or that magic objects created can also be used by none magicians.

    So realistically magic and technology coexisting is perfectly feasible depending on the magic system (the more widespread magic is and the more powerful the less likely its going to be however).

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