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Choose Your Warrior
Sci-Fi
Fantasy
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reignofevil
Nov 7, 2008


Sometimes you gotta break the rules.




If you don't have cyber eyes good enough to see this image don't even @ me

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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.




Ghost Leviathan posted:

This kinda seems like a weirdly specific Western literature and RPG thing, mind. Japanese stuff is glad to borrow the trappings and do their own thing with it, and only includes anything remotely recognisable if they feel like it, maybe because it's a cultural borrowing already, while western authors seem hung up on basically emulating what fantasy 'should' be and only begrudgingly include anything else besides a bog standard Tolkien ripoff.

Yeah I think that's very specifically a "video games" thing, most fantasy from the last 40 or so years I've read hasn't featured the elfs n dwarfs thing at all. Hell, the fiction that comes to mind most strongly to me that has elfs and dwarfs outside gaming is Heroes Die, which is pretty thoroughly scifi.

McSpanky
Jan 16, 2005







SlothfulCobra posted:

Fantasy stories can lose track of relatable human elements in other ways, but at least they won't get sidetracked by obsessing over the idea of what will happens when the day inevitably comes that everybody has dragons that need to integrate into society.

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Edgar Allen Ho
Apr 3, 2017


Quoth James Cameron,

"Nevermore"



McSpanky posted:

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Warhammer Fantasy is kinda renaissancey

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Edgar Allen Ho posted:

Warhammer Fantasy is kinda renaissancey

I'd say its extremely rennessaincey what with the arquebus being the symbol of the Empire.

Of course this means Games Workshop had to blow up the setting.

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





I need more Bronze Age fantasy in my life.

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm


McSpanky posted:

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Carnival Row on Amazon Prime is basically this

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

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




McSpanky posted:

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Off the top of my head, Joe Abercrombie's main series (up to 8 books now) in books, Dishonored & Thief in video games, and Blades in the Dark in TTRPGs all do this fantastically.

If you're really interested in 'setting' rather than having any particular story attached to it, the BitD setting owns, "youíre in a haunted Victorian-era city trapped inside a wall of lightning powered
by demon blood" is a direct quote from page 1.

E: Also in fiction, Neon Yang's fantasy books, I recommend starting with Black Tides of Heaven.

Sanguinia posted:

I need more Bronze Age fantasy in my life.

Big same. I loving love studying the Bronze Age and the only Bronze Age fantasy I can think of is Glorantha, which is wildly variable in quality. When it's good it is the best, when it's bad it's miserable.

Tulip fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Mar 26, 2021

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





I remember years ago I had the idea of a bunch of dwarves in suits sitting around a board room table in a skyscraper that was coming down from the ceiling of their mine overlooking an oil extraction operation that used to be a mithril mine. Forget the industrial era, take me to Modern Age Fantasy.

...not Bright though, gently caress that.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

McSpanky posted:

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Tulip posted:

Off the top of my head, Joe Abercrombie's main series (up to 8 books now) in books

I haven't read the most recent one, but Abercrombie's latest trilogy seems to be heading for French Revolution But With Orcs And A Wizard

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Sanguinia posted:

I remember years ago I had the idea of a bunch of dwarves in suits sitting around a board room table in a skyscraper that was coming down from the ceiling of their mine overlooking an oil extraction operation that used to be a mithril mine. Forget the industrial era, take me to Modern Age Fantasy.

...not Bright though, gently caress that.

Tally-ho Bill
Rally-ho Bob
<both continue walking not continuing the conversation further>

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

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




indigi posted:

I haven't read the most recent one, but Abercrombie's latest trilogy seems to be heading for French Revolution But With Orcs And A Wizard

The most recent one is good. I think he's mostly very consistent in terms of quality so any ranking of them is pretty narrow, but it was my second favorite so far after The Heroes.

Sanguinia posted:

I remember years ago I had the idea of a bunch of dwarves in suits sitting around a board room table in a skyscraper that was coming down from the ceiling of their mine overlooking an oil extraction operation that used to be a mithril mine. Forget the industrial era, take me to Modern Age Fantasy.

...not Bright though, gently caress that.

This image reminded me of one of the best pictures from the Guide to Glorantha





To be fair this isn't for anything so mundane as oil extraction: they are using a giant capstan to pull an entire continent up, hopefully flooding the world and killing most everybody else. Glorantha dwarves are assholes.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


A lot of fantasy winds up pulling from a wide variety of time periods, which can get a little muddled. I think a lot of people blur together the renaissance, medieval, dark, and ancient periods. Of course, when you diversify into mixing influences from different regions, it gets more plausible, but some settings just get stuck into throwing around centuries and millenniums as everything's stuck in stasis instead of either being in decay or advancement.

Sci-Fi sometimes gets stuck in a similar rut, but then it often winds up being some kind of commentary on how some changes will end at some point. And when the setting broadens to an interstellar scale, then it's plausible that some planets may be in ascension even while others are in decay.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

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




The scifi that I think had the best take on that "rut" conceit was A Deepness in the Sky, where the issue was that "civilization destroying tech" was actually pretty easy to develop and the lack of any FTL meant that terrestrial civilizations, once they got up to basic starfarring, were effectively pulling a slot machine every year where about 10 different results were "go back to the stone age do not collect 200 dollars."



I think part of the reason why a lot of settings seem stagnant is because the pop cultural sense about change tends to be pretty muddled. It's very common for people to think that there were no European inventions between like 300 CE and 1500 CE, which is...not an accurate understanding of the historical record. Partially this is because most literary sources from the premodern era tend to consciously emphasize continuity, but a lot of it is the historiographic legacy of the Victorian era onwards in English, which likes to emphasize that we live in a new, totally different era from "the past" which is all "the past." When this break with the past is changes depending on what the writer wants to emphasize - traditionally the Renaissance (which pisses off Renaissance historians), but the industrial revolution comes up as a frequent "break" and I've seen attempts to make it the nuclear age (not as fashionable anymore) and break points that are at similar points in time as the other events but with different explanations (French Revolution, Columbian Exchange, Protestant Reformation, etc).

And to be clear I'm not talking about all periodization. I'm talking about a specific subtype of periodization usually associated with Whig histories, where we live in "linear time" after some break, before which people lived in "cyclical time" or what have you. Usually people don't advocate for like, super strong versions of this, but it's common enough to see the weaker versions of it in pop culture and if you take it even a little seriously then it's pretty easy to justify a fictional setting like Warcraft where you have wars that last thousands of years and crap.



For my own part I rather prefer it when fantasy settings are muddled or unclear about the historical basis. Kind of the whole point of fantasy is that it's not historical. There's a lot of historical nonfiction out there and I usually find it to be way more buckwild and shocking than fiction, so if the fiction is going to be a simple parable then it feels kind of like a waste of everyone's time.

I like how it plays out in The Witcher. The setting for the Witcher doesn't really map super well onto any historical era (over in the milhist thread somebody thought it was about the Warring States Era of China, and y'know I can see some parallels even if early modern eastern Europe is a much more obvious answer), but it does exist in a period of really radical change that is plot-central. The Witchers' are a dying profession, not because of some super tech but because changes in social organization and population density have put rulers in a position where they can ask "do I support this whole schooling infrastructure for borderless, uncontrollable super psychos that piss off everyone, or do I just occasionally throw 40 dudes I control with conventional weapons when a ghouls nest or whatever pops up?" If anything the Witchers are the ones with super tech, it's just not in anybody's long term interest but their own to sustain it.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


Gravitas Shortfall posted:

I'm re-reading Julian May's books, and apart from her weird fixation about genetics and eugenic manipulation, the focus of the books is on psychic powers which are described in sci-fi science terms but are pretty much just magic, especially in the series set in the Pleistocene where there are literally elves, dwarves, and magic psychic shape-shifting.

Don't worry though, the elves and dwarves are aliens so that's okay.

i read it like twenty years ago, but i remember she made her allusions to the scifi series the characters were from seem really cool. partly due to a gift for names; i have no idea who jack the bodyless is, but that name kinda makes me want to know.

Gravitas Shortfall
Jul 17, 2007

Utility is seven-eighths Proximity.



Hodgepodge posted:

i read it like twenty years ago, but i remember she made her allusions to the scifi series the characters were from seem really cool. partly due to a gift for names; i have no idea who jack the bodyless is, but that name kinda makes me want to know.

They're pretty good, they start with Intervention (which I think was originally broken up into three books in the US?) which is the background of Operants (psychics) emerging in the 1960s-90s and ends with aliens contacting Earth in 2013.

The next three books are "The Galactic Milieu Trilogy" and cover Humanity spreading to the stars and a disastrous rebellion against the peaceful alien federation they're now a part of, though gently caress me the aliens LOVE eugenics in a "people with the genes for mind powers are allowed to have lots of babies, people who have genes for disabilities get punished if they have kids, and everyone else is on a quota" hosed up kind of way, though to be fair a major plot point is that humans Very Much Don't Like this.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


The witchers are the product of human mutation experiments with ridiculously low rates of survival, and on top of the impracticality of finding more children to have an 80% chance of murdering, the people who knew the formulae all died (at least for the Wolf school). And then the Cat school is an offshoot that tried to mitigate some of the side effects and wound up producing overly aggressive and easy to anger witchers. It's like space marines, but it's also like turnspit dogs crossed with former professional warrior classes like knights and samurai.

What I have my doubts about is how apparently there's a popular religion that has decided to exterminate all mages when magic is an actually tangible thing with regular uses in the world. I get that Radovid is crazy and most people just go along because of being able to loot the rich, but if magic is so widely used, you'd think that more people would defend mages or there'd be some kind of sanctioned version of magic that the church would allow just for practicality.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

SlothfulCobra posted:

What I have my doubts about is how apparently there's a popular religion that has decided to exterminate all mages when magic is an actually tangible thing with regular uses in the world. I get that Radovid is crazy and most people just go along because of being able to loot the rich, but if magic is so widely used, you'd think that more people would defend mages or there'd be some kind of sanctioned version of magic that the church would allow just for practicality.

yeah thereís a pretty easy direct parallel to billionaires. if losers are willing to simp on the front lines for Elon Musk because he does epic tweets and nothing else, plenty of people would be fanatical mage protectors

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Warhammer Fantasy actually does flat out have that; the Empire realised that stamping out magic entirely was more trouble than its worth and causing mages to turn to Chaos just to survive, so they created the magical college and worked out a state-sanctioned style of magic that can be used relatively safely, by having elven mages visit and basically develop the equivalent of elf magic kindergarten into a full blown set of magical styles for humans (since proper elven magic takes a hundred years just to learn the basics). Witch hunters are supposed to hand magically talented humans over to the colleges if they don't detect any taint of Chaos, though quite a few haven't gotten that memo.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




And then the Empire just did that to Mutants instead, with more or less the same result as many of them turn to Chaos to survive.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




McSpanky posted:

Well they should because endless Magic Dark Ages are so played out. Someone fast forward Middle Earth or Westeros a couple hundred years and show us how the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution are shaking things up.

Joe Abercrombie's latest series is this.

David D. Davidson
Nov 17, 2012

Orca lady?

That also kind of happens in the Discworld Novels. They start out in late medieval and by the time Pratchett passed away it was about the industrial revolution.

boo boo bear
Oct 1, 2009


Cooked Auto posted:

And then the Empire just did that to Mutants instead, with more or less the same result as many of them turn to Chaos to survive.

burning down farmer horst's barn is one thing, but when the kids start getting into the really weird beastmen poo poo you gotta draw a line.

ulric wept.

Mooey Cow
Jan 27, 2018



Pillbug

Sanguinia posted:

I need more Bronze Age fantasy in my life.

Have you tried reading a little story called "The Bible"?

Marsupial Ape
Dec 15, 2020

...big ol' thick pumpernickel...


Sanguinia posted:

I need more Bronze Age fantasy in my life.

Greek mythology and the Epics are a start. The whole Mediterranean during the Bronze Age was just wild and I donít understand why people donít get jazzed as much about that as Vikings.

Iíve piddled with the idea of a low fantasy Bronze Age setting where the monsters are pre Ice Age megafauna and the nonhuman races are Hominids that never went extinct.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

Marsupial Ape posted:

I donít understand why people donít get jazzed as much about that as Vikings.

racism

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





Marsupial Ape posted:

Greek mythology and the Epics are a start. The whole Mediterranean during the Bronze Age was just wild and I donít understand why people donít get jazzed as much about that as Vikings.

Iíve piddled with the idea of a low fantasy Bronze Age setting where the monsters are pre Ice Age megafauna and the nonhuman races are Hominids that never went extinct.

I've had an idea percolating about an "Alternate Mythology," novel wherein the Trojans and their coalition win the war (coinciding with Thetis convincing Apollo to lead a coup against Zeus and the other pro-Achaean gods to save her son) and then launching a counter-invasion of Greece for years now. I wish I could muster more creative energy these days, I bet it'd be fun to write.

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land






sufficiently advanced technology and magic are basically the same thing, so fantasy and SciFi are the same thing as well

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Gravitas Shortfall
Jul 17, 2007

Utility is seven-eighths Proximity.



There's a series of alternate history books that start with Stone Spring where the premise is humans build a bunch of walls and dykes to stop Doggerland being reclaimed by the ocean. First book is stone age, second is bronze, third is iron.

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