marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

what would magi-tech be like?

Really like?

Robert A. Heinlein's "Magic, Incorporated" and Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos both do modern America only with magic instead of pure science, and you can recognize all the substitutes. It's great fun, and Anderson, having a novel to work with, world-builds that magic only started in the twentieth century, when they worked out how to undo the effects of cold iron.

But would it really work that way?  If people could conjure winds, would they invent steam engines?  Or would they devise more powerful wind spells, and enchantments to strengthen the sails and masts?  How much better would an automobile be if you could enchant your carriage horses?  How many techniques from refrigeration to pickling would be superfluous for preservation if you had a spell to keep the food sound?  (You might use them anyway; all sorts of foods from smoked salmon to marmalade were first invented as preservatives.)

Would depend on how the magic worked.  After all, our own technology turns on how our magic worked, once we put it through the wringer to figure out what really worked, and renamed it Science.
Tags: world-building: magic (effects), world-building: technology
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