Fantasy and Reality

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nightlock
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Fantasy and Reality

Post by nightlock »

How much do reality and fantasy mix? Do you try to make your fantasy stories/worlds as different as ours as you can, or do you want to make your readers feel like they could actually inhabit the world you are crafting. Do you go the old Narnia road by transposing characters from our world to yours, or do you prefer Tolkien's separate world?

Do you invent your own system of Nobility or carefully research an Earth variant and use that? What about military formations and tactics? What about science.

I am currently writing "New Awakenings" (link below), which happens in a world in which the boundaries between magic and science are somewhat blurry. For instance, I am trying to describe the geography as though it can be explained both by natural tectonic plate physics and by Divine creation. Right now, one of the characters is interested in the stars and describes something akin to our own milky way, suggesting the existance of galaxies, and planets in it's own solar system. In character it is described as the Road of Heaven though, and the planets that travel along it are the Gods.

Do you prefer such hyper realism in Fantasy or do you want to have trouble suspending your disbelief as much as possible?
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The Master
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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by The Master »

I personally have no problem with suspension of disbelief, but it is the author's job to make that as easy as possible. In your example, do the inhabitants merely BELIEVE that the stars they see are Gods because their science has not yet given them the ability to grasp the truth? Or is it an alternative universe where the stars really are Gods? Either one can be a very effective approach, but the reader has to know which it is.

That can be something that evolves over time. I'm going to use an example from Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, but in a spoiler tag for those that haven't read them.
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nightlock
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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by nightlock »

I want the answer to be somewhat dubious, at least for the time being. If I can get it to work (which remains to be seen) I want to be able to explain everything in both a fantasy and a science fact kind of way. Or in other words, I want it to feel like fantasy but in such a way that you might think that once we have interstellar flight we might actually come across this particular world.
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Asp Zelazny
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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by Asp Zelazny »

It sounds like you have answered the question for yourself already, and in a way that would also match my particular preferences.

Arthur C Clarke's famous maxim applies here: "Any technology, sufficiently advanced, would appear indistinguishable from magic." For a culture that knew their planets as wandering gods, that technology bar would (at least in the physical sciences) be set pretty low.

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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by nightlock »

It''s not just a question. I know what I want in my stories ( the vague-er the better) but I want to know how other people feel and whether they have different opinions etc. Trying to get a discussion going! :P
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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by The Master »

I think the danger is that you may leave your reader with an "I don't understand what's going on" feeling if you are too obscure. Of course, it should advance the story in some way so you need to very self critical along the way about why you include it.

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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by Tiri3l »

It's an interesting question, and I don't want to seem to critical here, because fantasy usually flies in the face of science fiction. It is as if they are two opposing forces! Though--is science the lack of magic? OR is it, etymologically; signs?

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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by The Master »

Typically Science Fiction relies on science as key element of the plot. In Fantasy, the presence of magic is a key element. What qualifies as magic or science may vary, which is part of why there are lots of subgenres.

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Re: Fantasy and Reality

Post by nightlock »

And of course, as Clarke said, any technology sufficiently advanced would seems like magic. I like the idea of writing a series of Fantasy novels and a series of Sci Fi novels, only to reveal they are in the same universe. Much like Pern, you''d think it''s Fantasy untill it turns out to be SF.
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