A Conversation for Science Fiction - Some Hard, Some Soft


Post 1


Anne McCaffery's books don't use magic. Do they?


Post 2


I mean in the Pern series.


Post 3

Apollyon - Grammar Fascist

Not really.

There is telepathy between humans and dragons. 'Dragonsdawn' explains this as the reult of genetic engineering, though fails to provide a mechanism.

I've read a fair bit of McCaffrey's stuff, and there is no real magic, though there are times when things occur that one might normally think of as magic. Examples include the telepathy in Pern, or psychic powers in *Talent*/*Tower and the Hive*.


Post 4


There's always Arthur C Clarke's maxim: "Any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic".

To apply this maxim, imagine a person of typical intelligence and education from the year 1007 falls a thousand years forward through a time warp and YOU are the one who has to explain to him how things work in 2007... some of the stuff we take for granted would be so far out of his/her experience that the only way they can comprehend it is "magic".

I wondered about this years ago... say a typical peasant in perhaps 1200 is walking into Norwich from the West and gets as far as the St Benedict Gate in the city walls. He walks through the gate... and walking out on the other side he is in Norwich in the middle 1980's. He'll still have the city wall behind him, although in a shockingly distressed condition with no doors in the arch. (and indeed hardly any arch). The tower, but only the tower, of St Benedict's Church will be to his right. He might glimpse the Cathedral spire in the distance and another familiar church about a quarter-mile down on the left, but that's it for familiar landmarks. The street will be seven or eight times wider and cleaner and paved in some unfamiliar dark grey stony substance. Where do you start in explaining everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, to some poor soul who has just had seven hundred years of future shock dumped on his head all at once? Calling it "magic" might be a sound defensive strategy for warding off total insanity...


Post 5

Steve K.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic".

I had high hopes for the movie "Idiocracy", where the protagonist goes forward 500 years in time (from the present), to discover a completely dumbed down world. But the movie did not work for me, being too close to "Jackass":


A better effort, although not seen by many, was "Late For Dinner", where the two protagonists go forward from the 1960's to the present (early 90's), only 30 years but still pretty confusing for them:

"There's money coming out of the wall over there." smiley - online2long


P.S. The software demo version of Clark's maxin is "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo".
smiley - geeksmiley - wizardsmiley - geek

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