I read an article over at i09 via the Passive Voice Friday that I really, really loved. I would have put it in the Sharing the Wealth post, but I wanted to write something a bit more expansive on the topic.
First, the reason I love it is because it goes back and lists the things that died in Science Fiction when real science disproved it. Things like Martian Civilizations, Lost Lands, people on the Moon, all the wild things people thought were not only possible, but probable. We know today there has probably never been much life on Mars, let alone a civilization. You can get on Google World and disprove any claims of dinosaur filled plateaus and we put people on the Moon so many times we got bored with it.
But those ideas, those stories, are still some of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy ever produced.
The thing you have to realize is that, in their day, these were hard science fiction stories. I wrote about the Hollow Earth last week because I loved the lore of it, but it was a legitimate theory of its day. Similarly, people really thought there was folks up on Mars (some did anyway). From the Earth to the Moon is incredibly fantastical but Mr. Verne got more right than he got wrong (really, take a look). As science evolved though, it shrunk the world, made things more improbable.
And so, Science Fiction either becomes science (like the triquarter or cell phones) or it becomes fantasy (like the Hollow Earth).
We, fantasy writers, are now the custodians of these ideas. They left the realm of probability and became fantastical.
Virgil’s world is less concrete than our own, ever changing, and this is all before the Aether even comes into play. You will see Lost Lands, places that have been isolated or grown up through magic or fluctuations in time. His world is hollow too (though not like you might expect), and if you take a look at Sorcerer Rising you can find out a bit more about that.
I won’t even tell you what I want to do with the Moon.
I might need to do a Lore post on this, but those old stories are ripe for story ideas. Fantasy doesn’t have to worry about what’s real, what’s possible, what’s believable. The very fact that it has left that realm puts it firmly in our (fantasy writer’s) hands.
What else has come into fantasy’s hands?
Sorcerer Rising has a robot in it, laser weapons, diseases that have been disproved. This is all an accompaniment to dragons, spirits, necromancy, magical dimensions, spider people, alchemy, pyromancy, geomancy, elementals, and dozens of other things.
I, apparently, do not hold back.
Anyway, what will the fantasy of the future be? What do we know now that will be disproved, relegated to pulp fiction for fantasy authors and B movies? Furthermore, what from fantasy will bleed into science fiction? What do we consider impossible now that will become fact?
I would love to see some suggestions in the comments.