Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#1
I'll have a little rant. Who else has a rude awakening from immersion if the details in the story are strongly anachronistic?
I mean, I'm okay with most of the mix-and-match approach to fantasy, since it's a magic world and could develop differently, and writing science fantasy, I like to feature hi-tech and low-tech side by side, often handwaving it as a sort of "apocalypse happened, we don't have a civilization anymore but we kept some stuff". But it is kind of jarring when I'm reading a comic set in a semi-XIX century world and all of a sudden, characters drink their coffee from paper cups with plastic covers. There was no indication that the world features single-use dishes or plastic so far - it just looks like the artist didn't know what coffee is and took the first example he could think of from his own environment. I drop out of immersion, but nobody who reads this seems to be bothered by that detail!
Or am I so old that not just video tapes, but also porcelain mugs went out of use so much nobody recognizes their existence, or something?

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#2
Depends. On one hand, I get it. I'm certainly among the people who are annoyed at the new LotR series costume crew. 

On the other hand, stories like Shrek for example build their whole thing on this type of anachronism (combining fantasy and European fairytales with jokes about American McMansions). Most of the stories I write have something like this at its core, too, so perhaps I'm biased. 

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#3
Haust Wrote: Depends. On one hand, I get it. I'm certainly among the people who are annoyed at the new LotR series costume crew. 

On the other hand, stories like Shrek for example build their whole thing on this type of anachronism (combining fantasy and European fairytales with jokes about American McMansions). Most of the stories I write have something like this at its core, too, so perhaps I'm biased.
 
Shrek is obviously satire though, so the whole setting is kind of played as a joke from the beinning.

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#4
Yeah- I catch those kinds of things occasionally, but have to be paying close attention.  Maybe you’ve just created a new brain trigger for me.  😱

I’ll see & raise your rant by turning it around:  one of the things that always gives me pause is the idea of ‘lost superior stuff from the ancients’- whether artifacts or magics or whatever.

I know it’s deeply ingrained in our imaginations & runs all the way back to the legend of Atlantis, or maybe even the freaking epic of Gilgamesh.  But still, it’s just not that convincing to me living in the 21st century.  Because, even with its warts, and even as unevenly distributed as things are, there’s never been a more technologically advanced time to be alive.

There’s very little that I could uncover by delving into older or ancient societies that I can’t do better with modern technology.  Go to an antique store & find a rotary phone?  Not competitive with my smart phone, to put it mildly.  Go to a museum & look at horse-drawn carriage?  I’ll take a Tesla, thanks.  A Damascus steel sword?  I can learn more about how to do that from a few hours on yowztub than I could from reading all the studies reconstructing the technology used by ancient Japanese masters.  Build a really cool, monumental and mind-boggling building with huge free-standing spaces inside?  We can do that way better than the Romans did.  And so on.  Don’t even get me started on medicine.  (Shudder.)

Seems like that’s a theme that could get subverted more.  I really like how ‘Cleric of Little Faith’ did it, for example.  The MCs discovered a lost dwarven city full of ancient dwarven technology.  The dwarves were supposed to be the original artificers and ward creators.  As it turns out in the story, the dwarves did all that, but their technologies lacked any of the anti-hacking & ward protection capabilities that later societies added to them, making them trivial to break into and use… 😎

Don’t know if that really qualifies as a rant.  Could make for some more believable stories, sometimes.  Maybe.  🤷‍♂️

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#5
Youngish Wrote: Yeah- I catch those kinds of things occasionally, but have to be paying close attention.  Maybe you’ve just created a new brain trigger for me.  😱

I’ll see & raise your rant by turning it around:  one of the things that always gives me pause is the idea of ‘lost superior stuff from the ancients’- whether artifacts or magics or whatever.

I know it’s deeply ingrained in our imaginations & runs all the way back to the legend of Atlantis, or maybe even the freaking epic of Gilgamesh.  But still, it’s just not that convincing to me living in the 21st century.  Because, even with its warts, and even as unevenly distributed as things are, there’s never been a more technologically advanced time to be alive.

There’s very little that I could uncover by delving into older or ancient societies that I can’t do better with modern technology.  Go to an antique store & find a rotary phone?  Not competitive with my smart phone, to put it mildly.  Go to a museum & look at horse-drawn carriage?  I’ll take a Tesla, thanks.  A Damascus steel sword?  I can learn more about how to do that from a few hours on yowztub than I could from reading all the studies reconstructing the technology used by ancient Japanese masters.  Build a really cool, monumental and mind-boggling building with huge free-standing spaces inside?  We can do that way better than the Romans did.  And so on.  Don’t even get me started on medicine.  (Shudder.)

Seems like that’s a theme that could get subverted more.  I really like how ‘Cleric of Little Faith’ did it, for example.  The MCs discovered a lost dwarven city full of ancient dwarven technology.  The dwarves were supposed to be the original artificers and ward creators.  As it turns out in the story, the dwarves did all that, but their technologies lacked any of the anti-hacking & ward protection capabilities that later societies added to them, making them trivial to break into and use… 😎

Don’t know if that really qualifies as a rant.  Could make for some more believable stories, sometimes.  Maybe.  🤷‍♂️

I subverted that for one of my older stories. Not in English though. The MC obviously has a sort of a magic talent that went extinct and nobody can do the specific stuff he does anymore, so he often searches for the magic from the ancients and consistently complains that it's bugged as heck and that they powered through technical issues where they can be neatly solved with a right equation. Also, he corrects ancient magic due to contemporary knowledge to combine it into something viable.
Also, he receives a lot of help from his former teacher, a lady who does not have that talent, but is a major geek in magic theory and has more knowledge than he does.

Glorious has a classic take on it, but it's literally the dark ages after a highly advanced ancient era.

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#6
a_cornerstone Wrote: I subverted that for one of my older stories. Not in English though. The MC obviously has a sort of a magic talent that went extinct and nobody can do the specific stuff he does anymore, so he often searches for the magic from the ancients and consistently complains that it's bugged as heck and that they powered through technical issues where they can be neatly solved with a right equation. Also, he corrects ancient magic due to contemporary knowledge to combine it into something viable.
Also, he receives a lot of help from his former teacher, a lady who does not have that talent, but is a major geek in magic theory and has more knowledge than he does.

Glorious has a classic take on it, but it's literally the dark ages after a highly advanced ancient era.

Nice. That sounds like a really fun read.

Glorious is great, by the way.  Thx for writing it! 🙏

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#7
Youngish Wrote:
a_cornerstone Wrote: I subverted that for one of my older stories. Not in English though. The MC obviously has a sort of a magic talent that went extinct and nobody can do the specific stuff he does anymore, so he often searches for the magic from the ancients and consistently complains that it's bugged as heck and that they powered through technical issues where they can be neatly solved with a right equation. Also, he corrects ancient magic due to contemporary knowledge to combine it into something viable.
Also, he receives a lot of help from his former teacher, a lady who does not have that talent, but is a major geek in magic theory and has more knowledge than he does.

Glorious has a classic take on it, but it's literally the dark ages after a highly advanced ancient era.

Nice. That sounds like a really fun read.

Glorious is great, by the way.  Thx for writing it! 🙏

I appreciate it! It is hard to work and write - I have literally no backlog. So the comments make a big difference in motivation.

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#8
Yeah, sharp anachronisms can be pretty jarring.  Personally, I think it's most important to capture the feel of a different era (or at least one that matches the tone of the story) rather than having every detail be perfectly accurate.  Sometimes people nitpick historical films for having slightly off banners or something, but even having everything right is meaningless if the characters still act like they're 21st-century people!  Different times and different conditions would make people look at the world very differently.  Social relationships and economic relationships will be entirely different.

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#9
I watched CGP's Grey video on Rules for Rulers some time ago and until quite recently I didn't truly grasp the significance of the ideas behind it. A few years later and now I can't help but see the connections in the world that we live in and how often those are missing in the written works that I read.

It has also been a massive pain keeping things coherent in my own writing ideas. What value does a god in flesh put on the labor of one man, village, or even country? While not the hardest one to answer the process of asking that question for all things is somewhat annoying. Nevermind the idea that not all godlike beings would think and act the same.

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#10
Quote:Build a really cool, monumental and mind-boggling building with huge free-standing spaces inside?  We can do that way better than the Romans did.
You sure about that? The Colosseum is still standing 2000 years after it was built (in majority), despite a few earthquakes (that done the missing part in), a few times, when Rome was sacked, and so forth. Or take the one in Pula, it's more-or-less in its original form. Our modern stadiums fall apart after a hundred years or so (see the big one in Prague, the one on the hill above the castle).

What I personally find immersion-breaking are (including, but not limited to) in a medieval (magical) world:
- Magic-powered indoor plumbing
- magic-powered everyday appliances
- magic-powered "cars"
- magic-powered trains
- magic-powered airplanes
- magic-powered heavy weaponry, including canons, tanks, etc
- an open and liberal (i.e. modern) society

So, basically, most of our modern world, but set in "medieval times", just to have knights and swordfights. (btw: if you have magic rifles, why is everyone still swinging swords around?)

Re: Woldbuilding, or what ails you

#11
Mr Wrote:
Quote:Build a really cool, monumental and mind-boggling building with huge free-standing spaces inside?  We can do that way better than the Romans did.
You sure about that? The Colosseum is still standing 2000 years after it was built (in majority), despite a few earthquakes (that done the missing part in), a few times, when Rome was sacked, and so forth. Or take the one in Pula, it's more-or-less in its original form. Our modern stadiums fall apart after a hundred years or so (see the big one in Prague, the one on the hill above the castle).

What I personally find immersion-breaking are (including, but not limited to) in a medieval (magical) world:
- Magic-powered indoor plumbing
- magic-powered everyday appliances
- magic-powered "cars"
- magic-powered trains
- magic-powered airplanes
- magic-powered heavy weaponry, including canons, tanks, etc
- an open and liberal (i.e. modern) society

So, basically, most of our modern world, but set in "medieval times", just to have knights and swordfights. (btw: if you have magic rifles, why is everyone still swinging swords around?)

Oh, Romans made better concrete. It was basically self-healing.
Sometimes there are snippets of knowledge like that, and this is cool. 
With magic having everyday use, but not modifying the world too much, the obvious limit is making magic stuff expensive and difficult to make. Thus, the lord might have plumbing, but not so much everyone else.
(That also happened in the past - the famous Malbork castle had central floor heating)