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 Post subject: Fantasy in Space! (?)
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:12 am 
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I was sitting around recently and had a thought: has anyone done a fantasy story in a far future setting? My basic idea was swords & sorcery advanced enough to be applied to things like space travel. I searched the net a bit and found virtually nothing; so I was wondering if anyone around here had seen or heard of anything that fit the bill?

For the record I'm not talking about: sci-fi meets magic, science used to simulate magic, or Clarke-esque "so advanced it's indistinguishable from magic".

I hope that's not too vague (let me know if it is) and thanks in advance. :)

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:27 am 
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Star Wars is just the most obvious example.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:46 am 
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First thing I thought after reading the thread title - hadn't even read the OP - was "what, like Star Wars?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:47 am 
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Doesn't Fred Saberhagen's ARDNEH sequence more or less apply to this criterion? It's
Spoiler: show
WARNING - HUGE SPOILERS - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

a collection of fantasy tales, but they're actually set in the far future (510 centuries from now, roughly) in the remote aftermath of a nuclear war...where one surviving supercomputer (ARDNEH) presides over the remains of a once again medieval (and atomically mutating - hence the appearance of demons and magic) world, although it is perceived by Humanity as a mysterious, benevolent deity.

Granted, the sequence is mostly fantasy, but there is a (passing and overshadowed) sci-fi background to explain the current state of the world.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:09 pm 
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Vent Noir wrote:
Star Wars is just the most obvious example.


In terms of what I'm talking about Star Wars is "sci-fi as magic" at worst and "magic meets sci-fi" at best.

The closest explanation I can give would be that where sci-fi uses technology to do something (space travel, beam weapons, energy shields) use magic to do it instead. Pretty much a universe where your "chief engineer" is going to be more Gandalf than Scottie.

It's kind of a weird idea but, I think it would be quite refreshing if done well.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Well, the technology in it is kind of primitive for a setting with interplanetary travel, but Warhammer 40K kind of fits the bill in some ways.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Outlaw wrote:
Vent Noir wrote:
Star Wars is just the most obvious example.
The closest explanation I can give would be that where sci-fi uses technology to do something (space travel, beam weapons, energy shields) use magic to do it instead. Pretty much a universe where your "chief engineer" is going to be more Gandalf than Scottie.

It's kind of a weird idea but, I think it would be quite refreshing if done well.

It should be pointed out that Star Wars is, like the Lensman series, considered Space Opera, which is a sub-genre of Science Fiction. It's the trappings that let them get away with being called 'sci-fi'.

As for magic taking the place of technology, there's always the Spelljammer setting for AD&D 2nd Edition, which also had a series of novels. This is the setting that gave us Giant Space Hamsters (of which Boo is a miniature variant) bred by gnomes to power their spacecraft via giant hamster wheels. They also served as a food supply in the form of Spaham. Space Dwarves travel around in great stone fortresses and Space Elves use organically-grown ships with crystalline properties. It also had a slew of anime references, such as the Guyver, Shurato & Gamera (probably due to Newton Ewell's involvement) as well as alien races recycled from Star Frontiers. There was also mecha in the form of magically re-animated giant insect corpses, possibly a nod to the design aesthetics of Aura Battlers.

You might also want to check out Harry Turtledove's The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump, which takes place in what is basically an analogue of '80's Los Angeles, but with sorcery in place of science (for example, the superpowers have doomsday-level demons stored away instead of nukes).

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:07 am 
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Warhammer did come up in my search but not Spelljammer, which sounds interesting but hilarious. I've never played D&D so I only having a passing familiarity but, I did play Baldur's Gate so it's strange to find out that Boo isn't completely a joke. Toxic Spell Dump sounds interesting I'll make sure to keep it in mind.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:20 am 
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It doesn't have space travel or anything, but Steven Brust's Dragaera books (probably any book you actually find in stores by him will be in this world) play the "magic as a technology" angle pretty well. Especially by the elf analogues, magic is not treated as anything mystical, but as a tool to be used and developed for purpose throughout life. So there are applications of magic in warfare, intelligence gathering and so on, but also simple spells to clean a house or check the time. The mood of the series felt closer to me to science fiction than fantasy, even though it clearly is about a pre-industrial society which heavily uses magic and doesn't use any advanced technology (though the technology level is a bit higher than most fantasy, being something like late renaissance minus gunpowder (since that's all rather pointless when you can just blow someone up with a spell)).


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:02 pm 
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In a similar, but more humorous, vein, is Rick Cook's The Wizardry series, in which computer programmer Wiz Zumwalt is summoned to a world where magic exists--and realizes that said magic has many similarities to computer software...

Oh, and it has ninja dwarves.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:33 am 
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Warhammer 40k is pretty much what you're looking for. At it's core it's Warhammer Fantasy Battles IN SPACE!

You've got knights in the Space Marines, particularly the Black Templars, the Dark Angels, and the Grey Knights. Or the Space Wolves if you prefer vikings.

You've got your Elves in the Eldar. And you've got your Dark Eldar as well.

You've got Orks.

You've got wizards.

And you've got your Daemons and Angels

Then when we go into the sci-fi elements you've got your spaceships.

Your literal Space Marines. And mecha sarcophagi so that even in death he may serve the God-Emperor.

Aliens including the Tau, the aforementioned Eldar and Orks, and the Tyranids.

You've got various types of space soldiers depending on flavour from those reminescent of WWI Germans like the Death Korps of Krieg to the highly air-mobile Elysian Drop Troops to the Rambo-esque Catachan Devils. Let's not forget Tanks, APCs, Artillery, Gunships. Also, can't forget about the trusty lasrifle or our full-auto gyrojet rocket launcher.


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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:26 am 
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You know, I had see a Tau from Warhammer on the cover of a game (Firewarrior, I think) and thought they looked awesome. Were I into miniatures I would probably play it a little sadly, I just don't have the room to store, much less use, a reasonable number of miniatures (I barely even have room for my Gundam kits).

I looked into Harry Turtledove, and many of his works (even if they don't fit the scope of this particular search) sound interesting. The Darkness series in particular sounds very interesting.

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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:50 pm 
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I honestly can't think of much that combines traditional sci-fi and fantasy/magic. I suppose it's because it's not easily done without the inevitable 'science is magic' ore vice versa.

The various Tenchi series (Tenchi Muyo, etc.) may fall in this category, though with significantly less magic and more science.


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:13 pm 
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I came across another series of books which fits into the "almost what you are looking for, but perhaps not quite" category:

John C. Wrights Chaos trilogy (Orphans of Chaos, Fugitives of Chaos, Titans of Chaos).

The sci-fantasy elements don't really come into the foreground until the third book. Before that it is more of an urban fantasy sort of thing. Though I should note that there are no less than six types of magic in the series, with on in particular being very quasi-scientific in nature (essentially advanced science using only Newtonian mechanics, that is to say no relativity or quantum physics). That right there might fit the definition of "fantasy as science fiction" since if one uses outdated science to great effect, in our universe where such things shouldn't work (as a simple example the character with this power accelerates objects faster than the speed of life on several occasions), how is that really any different from magic?

The other types of magic vary in scientificness and magicalness. The main character's powers are described through higher dimensional geometry, but are not really technological in nature. And one character is a straight up warlock who consorts with spirits. The rest vary across the spectrum.

But the third book really delves into the using magic for scientific and technological purposes theme. To whet your appetite, there is a trip on a magic boat to Mars.


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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:05 am 
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What about magic and science being used at the same time? If so, then the classic Phantasy Star quadrilogy of games might fit what you're looking for. II and IV in particular.

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:06 am 
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Wingnut wrote:
What about magic and science being used at the same time? If so, then the classic Phantasy Star quadrilogy of games might fit what you're looking for. II and IV in particular.


You know, I never really got around to finishing PS IV. I started playing and just drifted away from it over time. On the other hand, PS II is one I have a hard time getting into since the first dungeon just confuses the heck out of me and I get lost and end up quitting. I'm currently keeping an eye on PSO2 however.

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