marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Magical Middle Class

Despite the title, this was about the lower classes as much as the middle classes -- the unglamorous work classes.

Urban fantasy has more, of course.  Though one panelist told of a work where we had a scene of peasant women working their fingers to the bone to make a blanket for the princess, and then the princess tore it to shreds -- to be sure, because it was a bribe to her to keep her quiet and out of the way, but still. . . . .

Who does the work?  Do we really want to get into that when there's adventures to be had and we want to get away from it all?  Unless we want to see someone like us have adventures, but then, the job has to be brief before it bores us as much as the character.

How common is magic? Can everyone do some and elevate themselves into the middle class that way?  Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos had plentiful magic and managed an alternate United States out of it.  Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child had it taught in school like the three Rs. But in most fantasies it's rare.  (Though why women are able to forge the world when they have to have ten children on average to rear two to adulthood without magic is another matter.)

Do wizards rule?  They often don't in fantasy.  But then, do scientists and engineers rule this world?  (Humm.  Not sure that was this panel.  Some ideas resonate.)  In Katherine Kurtz's Dernyi series, actually ruling was dangerous.  Behind the throne was safer.

How hereditary is the magic?  The Spark in Girl Genius is strongly so, and you just have to worry about minor Sparks in the lower classes.  (The Baron often arranges for their orphaned child to be fostered.)  And it could perpetuate itself very well.
Tags: lunacon, politics, world-building: economics, world-building: metaphysics, world-building: reproduction, world-building: social classes

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