Well, 2019 has started with a visit from the angry fertility gods, upset I remain childless yet again.
Despite this ongoing argument, I have somehow managed (barely) to keep up my plans to work on the compendium.
I’m currently in the Weaving section, trying to put into words what I know inside my head. Which brings me to today’s ramble on magic.
Now, as I’ve said before, and on my page about Aether, it isn’t magic, per se. It’s what my setting has instead of magic. And if I’m being brutally honest with myself, it’s all because of my personal semantics.
I kind of have a thing against High Fantasy. I don’t know whether it’s overexposure or some facet of my own personal compulsions for certain degrees of realism and explanation in my media, but I don’t find myself as satisfied when things ‘just happen’, as when there is a rhyme or a reason to them.
The last thing I recall enjoying that didn’t have a very specific and logical set of rules, if not outright laws, was Harry Potter, and that is, of course, one of those unique beasts anyway. (Yes, I know it has some rules within it, but they don’t cover the grand scope I’m referring to here, and I certainly mean no offense. Like I said, unique beast.)
Magic, to me, means an impossible, law-breaking effect made of pure wonderment. There is nothing inherently wrong with magic, and I still get enjoyment out of particularly well-done magic shows and tricks.
My problem comes in when a world depends on it. It’s probably my age and reasoning getting in the way of good simple fun, but I just can’t help but notice all the problems one would have if your world was able to embrace spontaneous generation or risk-free transmutation.
Harry Potter becomes a good example of the issues here, even though I enjoyed those books. In what world can you try and make out someone is a magnanimous all around good person when they have the literal means of making food for millions at a wand tip, and yet no one has solved world hunger yet? Not to mention the umpteen health and safety violations Hogwarts and it’s staff represent, or the fact a ton of issues could be solved with mundane technology (pens beat quills, I’m sorry).
Now, if you’re going into the Potterverse to pick those kinds of holes with it, I think it’s safe to say the stories weren’t aimed at you, and you’re missing the point. Suspension of disbelief comes in many flavors and I am well aware my thought processes are not appropriate for that setting, or others that work like it.
Nevertheless, I can’t deny how my own brain works and so when making my own world, there was no way under the sun I was going to be able to get away with pure magic and not have to lie to myself every day that I was ok with that.
So, I opted for magic with rules in.
I call it aether, for reasons I’ve explained in far better detail elsewhere on my site, and while I never intended to fully scientifically explain how it works (at which point, one would have no real need for magic at all, as you are simply dabbling in theoretical physics instead, and I am so not good at even normal physics), I did want some very set rules.
No spontaneous creation.
No transmutation without cost, and even then, very restricted.
No conjuration, period.
No ignoring the impact on the economy.
These were just a few of the thoughts I had, and my recent work has made me pin them down even more. It’s been good in that there remains sense to what I’m up to, but also made my brain try to dribble out my ears at least five times, especially when I ended up putting some of the very basic engineerings of aether machines onto paper.
I won’t be updating my site pages with this information quite yet, but at the very least, please enjoy this snapshot of what it’s all beginning to look like!