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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




It's me, I'm the dumbest poo poo from sci-fi/fantasy

Gravitas Shortfall posted:

The Horus Heresy, a galaxy-spanning civil war involving billions of combatants, fought on thousands of planets, with troops moved via a method of FTL that is well known for being unreliable, difficult, and prone to time-distortions, lasted for....

Nine years.

or that lol

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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




frogge posted:

It's one of those things I shouldn't think too hard about but in any fantasy setting where in the lore everything's just sort of gridlocked into an iron age or medieval era, or whatever for supposedly thousands of years and no tech or innovations occurred in that time.

Some Roman guy tinkered and built early, rudimentary steam engines but their society still chose to keep going with slave labor instead because of the 'prestige' of it, so inventing tech and using it is a whole other thing, but it really breaks my suspension of disbelief when it happens in a fantasy setting.

Your general point is spot-on even if I dislike your specific example (the difference between "a steam engine" and "a steam engine with industrial uses" is pretty large, and slaves continue(d) to be a major part of industrial society even well after we had much better steam engines because how useful slaves vs steam engines is comes down to a number of local factors etc).

Anyway not even the paleolithic era was technologically stagnant. Humans have been experimental and innovative since before they were human. It was a good thing in ATLA when they had some earth guys who were just trying out random dumb engineering poo poo to see what stuck.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Mooey Cow posted:

Stagnation or very slow progress seems a lot more common in history than the rapid technological change over the last 200 years or so, and it seems social changes spur technological change rather than the other way around. For instance, the bronze age didn't end with the invention of iron. Instead it was the end of the bronze age and the breakdown of its intricate trade networks needed for bronze production (tin and copper were mined at widely separated geographic locations) that made it necessary to switch to iron and come up with better ways to work iron. Currently we live in a society that requires increased production basically for its own sake, which has never existed before.

We also sometimes huff our own farts about how fast things are changing. I've been to approximately 40,000 conference speeches where somebody says that the world is totally different because you can have a facebook account and that this is a fundamental, life-breaking change from all previous telecommunications, when it's really just kind of tinkering a little bit with the general tech of telecommunication. And we often overestimate how stagnant things were, partially because we often talk about tech (even now) as being an instant implementation. The Bronze Age in particular is very obvious as a case where technologies took centuries, sometimes millennia, to penetrate contentedly chalcolithic zones: we say "oh bronze smelting was invented, and then it took thousands of years to be displaced by iron so nothing really happened in between," but for one thing the adoption and spread of bronze smelting was happening continuously, and the core Bronze societies (Sumeria, Egypt) were changing in their own ways, but a lot of it is less perceptible to us partially because of the loss of sources and partially because AFAIK the literate classes were not particularly responsible or invested in a lot of the stuff we'd recognize.

Anyway the thing that ends up making a lot of scifi/fantasy look comical is not thinking through how long the periods they refer to are. When Chris Metzen goes "why have a war that's 10 years when you can have a war that's 10,000 years" you end up moving from "drat that's a long war" to "that doesn't even register as a war." The problem of scale isn't really limited to time - LOGH becomes comedic when thinking about scaling a government that can barely handle a large-ish country up to a substantial chunk of a galaxy, and A Song of Ice and Fire gets weird when you realize the population density of Westeros is like, steppeland.

The real enemy is "concrete measurement" I guess.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




My understanding of the Roman approach to agricultural science was "it's not a science." Farmers kind of ad hoc used barley, wheat, and beans based on their own microclimates and there wasn't a lot of formal, written knowledge about it, which makes sense to me given that it's pretty common for significant chunks of knowledge to just never get written down because "everybody knows." How to bake bread, for example, doesn't appear in early cookbooks for likely this reason.

Plus a lot of hitech gizmos (e.g. steam engines, specialized dentists) are at least as much functions of population densities and locations as knowledge.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

It's not proper genre fiction til the author takes a hard swerve into their horrible fetishes and ideas of gender roles

I'm STILL really bothered that the Gor books are 180 degrees around about the effects of gravity on humans.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Black August posted:

love all the people who barely study the nightmare that is gravity and just assume "lol higher gravity means you'll grow stronger" instead of "YOU WILL DIE IN AGONY AS PHYSICS CRUSHES YOUR INTERNALS"

to be clear, Gor is substantially dumber than even this

Gor's thing about gravity was that the humans of Gor have been living in a low-g environment for generations, and this has made them substantially more muscular than humans who have are adapted to 1G.

On the list of horrible inside Gor, this one doesn't actually rank high, which is probably why I remember it because it's more funny than gross or pathetic like the rest of the setting.

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