marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tech and the superhero history

The rise of technology -- whether normal human or Gadgeteer/Mad Scientist -- would have a big impact on a super world.  Just not the same as in ours. . . .

If you had superheroes with flight, many could easily reach the Americas -- and probably one would carry disease.  As long as the super was not intent on conquest it might work out for the better in the end, with epidemics running through the continents one by one rather than at the same time, with the added elements of arriving populations.

But more to the point, they could do trade.  A superpowered flyer could zip off to India, pick up the spices, and zip back.  This would limit the power of trading ports and cities on trade routes (less for bulk goods, to be sure), and interest in geography.  However -- unless the flyers were always careful and prudent people -- mundanes would have a motive to improve technology because those spices would cost -- flight being a rare skill.  That drove a lot of the Age of Discovery, the tariffs imposed on spices in the Middle East. If the flyers were too greedy, or many of them decided trade was beneath them, there would be mundane motives.

And likewise with many other discoveries, which would turn not so much discovering ways to do things never done before, as ways to do them when you weren't born or given the power. Which would produce many social upheavals. Just not the same ones.
Tags: fictional history, mad scientists, superpowers, travel, world-building: economics, world-building: social structure

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