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Old October 9 2012, 11:55 PM   #34
stj
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Re: Examples of Magic in sci-fi

Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
H.G. Wells can't be rewritten as a fantasy.
Oh, I don't know about that.

While The Land Ironclads might lose some of its essential sobering predictive power, were it transposed into a Middle-earth setting, such a rewrite would be both feasible and straightforward, for example by replacing the war Oliphaunts from Harad with land ironclads.
In a fantasy setting the ironclads would just be Evil coming at you, doomed to fail, instead of the Future coming at you, fated to win, I think.

But moreover, The Time Machine is a ripe candidate for being transposed into a work more on the fantasy side of the spectrum. Again, the transposition could be accomplished straightforwardly, for example by replacing the machine with a magic artifact, say one discovered in a secret archaeological dig with accompanying hieroglyphs describing the incantations needed to activate it.
Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't think The Time Machine really works as an example there, because the time machine itself was not the only science-fictional element. The book was intended as a speculative extrapolation about the future evolution of human society, a social commentary about the dangers of class divisions taken to extremes, with the machine merely a means to propel the allegory and speculative futurism. So the SF wasn't just about the time machine, it was about the whole conjectural portrayal of the future of humanity, even the death of the Earth once humanity was long gone. Changing the nature of the machine wouldn't change the fundamentally science-fictional mindset of the novel.
Also, a fantasy work where the person of the narrator is so beside the point he is never even named? Not impossible but definitely much more Flan O'Brien or Kafka than anything meant by the vast majority of fantasy fans.

Now you could change the Martians in War of the Worlds into gnomes or something, and you could still write a version of the scenes. But it sure wouldn't feel the same.
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