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Author Topic: magic's place in steampunk  (Read 1947 times)
Dr Smithson
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« on: April 20, 2018, 08:08:48 pm »

Magic and Steampunk.

When you think of Fantasy you think of magic, and when you think of Steampunk you think of adventures and mad scientists, a dash of goggles, someone in distress and maybe even an airship with a few gears glued on. Wink
But what about an alternative method to steampunk, in a world where humanity has advanced and left for the stars, only the land in a place where the microchip fails quickly but clockwork runs as smooth as on earth. Where magic ebbs and flows like the tides and those with the determination to discover its secrets can usher in a new industrial revolution to a world stuck in the dark ages.

How do you think this would change the nature of the industrial revolution? In a society where magic is ingrained from the top down, what kind of machines would they seek to create?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 07:00:04 pm by von Corax » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 08:55:20 pm »

Magic and Steampunk.

When you think of Fantasy you think of magic, and when you think of Steampunk you think of adventures and mad scientists, a dash of goggles, someone in distress and maybe even an airship with a few gears glued on. Wink
But what about an alternative method to steampunk, in a world where humanity has advanced and left for the stars, only the land in a place where the microchip fails quickly but clockwork runs as smooth as on earth. Where magic ebbs and flows like the tides and those with the determination to discover its secrets can usher in a new industrial revolution to a world stuck in the dark ages.

How do you think this would change the nature of the industrial revolution? In a society where magic is ingrained from the top down, what kind of machines would they seek to create?


Generally the closest Steampunk ever gets to magic is some sort of pseudo-science approach. And sometimes our "fantasy" is a complete "cop-out," like in my tentative "Valkyrie and the Eagle," where I turn elves into a group real human beings, explaining physical attributes to a 3rd gender status and the elven mythology around them to Germanic Pre-Christian lore surrounding the group. But in the end these are real human beings whose special abilities reside on a cult like obsession for technology, which is their pretext for survival in a desperate diaspora.

But you mean bringing magic "full-on," into a Neo Victorian setting, don't you?

While I haven't seen that directly, there are other genres of art outside of Steampunk proper which have done something similar. If you are old enough you will recognize the name "Full Metal Alchemist." This is a Steampunk-ish Japanese Anime/Manga/Movie franchise which I got to see about 20 years ago (Sweet Jesus, I'm old!).

The premise of the series is a society in an alternate early 1900s Greater Germany, where a portal to a parallel universe is discovered by way of Alchemy practice. The military researchers who discover this portal find that in the parallel universe the laws of physics are manipulable by way of alchemical symbols and equations. Their "Alchemy" is very loosely based on real mediaeval Alchemy principles. The transmutation of matter is possible, and even living flesh can be manipulated in and out of existence as long as a "conservation principle" is always applied during the Alchemical manipulations.

There is only one taboo: never use alchemy on living creatures. The forbidden practice of Alchemy on living creatures, by one government scientist living on the parallel universe (where magic is possible), leads to tragedy for the family and spurs the tale of two brothers searching for their father, presumably still alive in the non-magic parallel universe, and even a way to restore physical body of the younger brother,  whose "soul" is left inside an emty ambulant mediaeval-looking armour...  Roll Eyes

ANIME TRAILER: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


But this still doesn't answer much of your original question. How does it change society or the Industrail Revolution? It's unclear to me since I have only superficial knowledge of the series. All I can see is that you're only seeing a superimposition of Alchemy over an Edwardian society. The net effect of Alchemy you can see is the militarization of such technology, perhaps. Religion, could have a greater place in society since magic is demostrably real (there was one episode dealing with that).

Perhaps some Full Metal Alchemist fans out there can expound more on how the society is altered by the presence of magic.

Cheers,

JW
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 10:12:35 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 09:56:23 pm »

Also, you may want to look at this other thread just recently started here: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,49514.msg991421.html#new

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Dr Smithson
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 01:40:45 am »

While I haven't seen that directly, there are other genres of art outside of Steampunk proper which have done something similar. If you are old enough you will recognize the name "Full Metal Alchemist." This is a Steampunk-ish Japanese Anime/Manga/Movie franchise which I got to see about 20 years ago (Sweet Jesus, I'm old!).


You're not the only one,  how time flies...
Well this thread was the result of a world I'm working on in my spare time,  in which humanity crashed on an alien planet that has magic in the fantastical sense.  After a long war with several of theplanets natives (it's a long story that ive yet to get around to writing), they ended up as a party if the world,  eventually gaining the ability to use magic.  This particular kingdom however mostly shunned the use of magic and relied on basic technology (by the standards of what they thought their ancestors used (it was a really long war) ) they took advantage of a chain of volcanoes nearby to power their city,  eventually using magic in the form of items to usher in a short of industrial revolution.  

This is all based around the thought that magic is damaging to sensitive electronics. Although to be fair my elves are only elves because i didn't know what else to call them lol.

Also, you may want to look at this other thread just recently started here: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,49514.msg991421.html#new




Thank you,  i will read through that thread as well

Now that i think about it,  i guess i should have titled this thread,  *steampunks place in fantasy"
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 02:02:40 am by Dr Smithson » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2018, 11:38:13 pm »

Steampunk  ( well...retropunk as a whole) fantasy do exist as a genre. A couple of studio gibli works,arcanum,warhammer, Rise Of Legends,Warcraft,,league of legends,Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, The Torchbearer, this is some examples of retropunk fantasy i know

Also, dwarve, gnomes, gremlins and goblins are often associated with technology. Pixies ( ie christmas elf) have some potential too.

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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 03:01:43 pm »

I like my Steampunk to have some of the Phantastical in it. I believe we cannot include Prof. Challenger without also including the Cottingley Fairies.

In my own stories cell phones work through aetheric resonance with Ley Lines.

Any sufficiently understood Magik is indistinguishable from Technology.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 07:28:36 pm »

You might want to research "real" magic in the 19th and early 20th century. There was a lot of activity in the area of occultism and pseudoscience, and I've long thought that the real history in this area would be a good springboard for fictional magic in a steampunk setting.

Things to research:
Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Theosophy
Edward Bulwer Lytton's The Coming Race
Joseph Smith, douser, skryer, occultist, bunko artist, and founder of the Mormon Church
Aleister Crowley, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the religion of Thelema
Daniel David Palmer and early Chiropractic medicine.
Anton Mesmer, Mesmerism, and Animal Magnetism
Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans
Spiritualism, mediums, psychics, etc.
Ghosts, ectoplasm, etc.
Anything interesting that is connected to or similar to any of the above that fits into the Victorian/Edwardian period.

There was a movement to try to investigate so-called psychic phenomena in an alleged scientific manor. Words like "clairvoyance" and "precognition" were coined to replace words like "second sight", "shining", "feyness", etc., in an attempt to give the appearance of a serious field of scientific study rather than just a collection of superstitions.

The "magic" of the era had a distinctive feel to it; different from (for example) the magic of a Dungeons and Dragons wizard. It was publicized and not concealed away in Hogwarts land. That is something that really should be kept in mind.
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 11:48:18 pm »

You might want to research "real" magic in the 19th and early 20th century. There was a lot of activity in the area of occultism and pseudoscience, and I've long thought that the real history in this area would be a good springboard for fictional magic in a steampunk setting.

Things to research:
Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Theosophy
Edward Bulwer Lytton's The Coming Race
Joseph Smith, douser, skryer, occultist, bunko artist, and founder of the Mormon Church
Aleister Crowley, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the religion of Thelema
Daniel David Palmer and early Chiropractic medicine.
Anton Mesmer, Mesmerism, and Animal Magnetism
Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans
Spiritualism, mediums, psychics, etc.
Ghosts, ectoplasm, etc.
Anything interesting that is connected to or similar to any of the above that fits into the Victorian/Edwardian period.

There was a movement to try to investigate so-called psychic phenomena in an alleged scientific manor. Words like "clairvoyance" and "precognition" were coined to replace words like "second sight", "shining", "feyness", etc., in an attempt to give the appearance of a serious field of scientific study rather than just a collection of superstitions.

The "magic" of the era had a distinctive feel to it; different from (for example) the magic of a Dungeons and Dragons wizard. It was publicized and not concealed away in Hogwarts land. That is something that really should be kept in mind.

Some of our maker members played around with that idea well. Remember the "Soul Harvester" of Will Rockwell? It had a great pseudo science feel to it. There is a meeting between technologay and fanstasy somewhere. Life was more fun when we really didn't know what made the world go around.
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 10:32:07 pm »



 There is s certain alchemy to steampunk- along with  a lot of smoke and mirrors
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2018, 05:45:28 am »


While I haven't seen that directly, there are other genres of art outside of Steampunk proper which have done something similar. If you are old enough you will recognize the name "Full Metal Alchemist." This is a Steampunk-ish Japanese Anime/Manga/Movie franchise which I got to see about 20 years ago (Sweet Jesus, I'm old!).

JW


Just a note; many more will hear of Full Metal now, as Netflix has remade it into a movie.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 05:52:50 am by Captain Steele Tear » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2018, 01:36:40 pm »

If I may mention something, the tabletop game Malifaux includes both magic and steampunk technology, most notably the Arcanists faction. A group of illegal magic users and smugglers under the cover of The Miners and Steamfitters Union
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2018, 10:51:07 am »

Whenever I think of steampunk, there's no way to me to not include magic.

I often think of a city controlled by a 'front' government that gives them a utopia under the condition of compliance, and a 'shadow' government' that disposes of rebels, run by witches and the like.
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 07:21:05 am »

Heavens, Steampunk is chock full of magical and mythological beings!
Sky Kraken!
Leviathen!
Cthulu and the entire Lovecraftian magical/mythological genre!
Space Whales and Giant Ether Manta Rays .....
Clamosaurs and Oysterettes!

and of course we have filmographic proof of the Golf Kraken

https://i.imgur.com/5kYYBUl.mp4

yhs
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 06:09:44 pm »

Would someone please edit the title of this topic? It is sorely in need of an apostrophe.
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 07:00:36 pm »

Just for you. Wink
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2018, 01:08:58 am »

If a tale of Merlin and the resurrected spirit of King Arthur battling Morlocks doesn't scream magic to you, I really can't imagine what would.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morlock_Night.

Except perhaps a time traveler battling a cabal of magicians to prevent the return of ancient Egyptian Gods.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anubis_Gates.

This also gets pretty fantastical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_(novel).

Please don't derive all your ideas about Steampunk solely from this subculture, comparatively speaking it's still kind of a n00b.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 09:37:16 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2018, 09:29:13 pm »

In regards to your original question, you may wish to check out the "Warlock" novels of Christopher Stasheff (sp?). The first one being, "Warlock in Spite of Himself". There's not much steampunk there but it deals with your premise. Basically a space explorer from Earth crash lands on another planet inhabited by humans (or close enough). This world never developed technology because there was no need. They had magic. The setting is basically medieval fantasy but more advanced. They do what we do with technology, except they use magic.

Other speculation, I believe magic has always had a place in steampunk. Are vampires and zombies the result of some scientific mishap or due to a curse? In my own philosophy there is conflict between science, magic, and faith.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2019, 09:16:50 am »

I am astonished that no one has mentioned the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett! These are short stories about Lord Darcy, Chief Investigator of the Duchy of Normandy. and his friend and assistant Master Sean ÓLochlainn (forensic sorceror), solving crimes in a very different Twentieth Century. The setting is essentially Sreampunk, and despite being absolutely steeped in Magic, the mysteries are scrupulously fair! I highly recommend the series, which is still sold on Amazon (US).
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2019, 09:22:54 pm »

Adding to this, I just finished the first two books of the Bannon & Claire series by Lilith St. Crow.

Emma Bannon is a Prime Sorceress working for Queen Victorix
Archibald Claire is a certified mentath

I'd swear, except for the mentaths, nearly everybody has magic of some level.

all the horses I've seen have had clockwork additions added to their flesh.

It seems to be steampunk.  It's got plenty of magic.


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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2019, 07:44:17 am »

Adding to this, I just finished the first two books of the Bannon & Claire series by Lilith St. Crow.

Emma Bannon is a Prime Sorceress working for Queen Victorix
Archibald Claire is a certified mentath

I'd swear, except for the mentaths, nearly everybody has magic of some level.

all the horses I've seen have had clockwork additions added to their flesh.

It seems to be steampunk.  It's got plenty of magic.





I think that it is not really 'magic' per say and perhaps should have a different descriptive term applied to it, but I think it is completely acceptable for Steampunk worlds to operate in what might seem to us as a 'magical' way.
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