Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

3.26.2014

The Enemy of My Enemy: A Bad Story Idea

Almost everyone in The Show blamed Science as the reason all of us monsters were hiding.  Like it was some big, heartless machine that came along and ran magic out of town.  And my family was just a bit too "sciency" for a lot of the company members.  I had tried to explain to Shaun's crew that I was mostly magic--that in pure science, there was no way I could exist.  But their grasp of science and technology was so vague that my explanation didn't make sense to them.  The fact that I knew enough about science to talk about it at all made me more guilty in their eyes.
That excerpt is from Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron, which is about "Boy," the teenage son of Frankenstein's monster and The Bride, as he tries to make a life in the contemporary U.S.  Like them, he is constructed of recycled body parts that have been stitched together and animated.  At the beginning of the book, he lives with his parents in an underground safe haven for monsters of all sorts in New York City: fawns, trolls, satyrs, vampires, Medusa, werewolves, and more--anything you might imagine from mythology, folklore, and literature.  They stay hidden for their own protection, except for the nightly Broadway show they put on for income.  Since the other "monsters" are almost entirely magic-based, Boy's peers have taken to derisively calling him "Robot" for the reasons quoted above.  That magical hatred of science is hardly a themein the book and isn't mentioned outside of the bullying, but it got me thinking.

As a life-long reader of fantasy novels and player of D&D, I have to admit that I've always preferred a high fantasy setting that is purely magical.  There's no logic or reason to my feelings, but too much technology ruins the sense wonder and romance I get from such settings.  While having gunpowder and primitive weapons of modern technology may be historically accurate to many settings, including them somehow detracts from the magical-ness for me.

I don't know where I picked up this attitude or why, but as long as I can remember I've always seen magic and scientific technology as dichotomous.  I would guess it is based in the ecological vein that existed in some of the genres formative works, and I simply picked up on the idea through ubiquitous exposure in my reading.

This is actually a major theme in some fantasy subgenres and an issue that has been widely debated by authors, readers, and role-players.  When not being debated, among many it is a foundational assumption that the two forces stand in opposition to each other and detract from each other.  The more science and technology in the world, the less magic there can be.  For magic to (re-)emerge and magical beings to flourish, technology must be minimized and the natural world must triumph.

I've always thought of the battle as symbolically an ecological one against the destruction of the world's wild spaces for the sake of industrialized development and economic advantage.  A protest against the mindset that the Earth is merely a resource to be consumed and discarded.  No appreciation for the beauty of nature and wilderness that is so soothing to the soul.  Thus the sense of wonder at the magic of it all.  So I've always seen "the enemy" to be an attitude and the resulting actions, with technology being merely a tool--a symptom, not the source.

But Boy's community, the magical monsters that have been oppressed by that attitude, blindly blame Science itself as the root of all their evils.  Which leads me to my "bad story idea."  Because who else in our world currently sees Science as a false religion of evil that undermines their true beliefs?  Much of conservative Christianity.  So--and surely someone's already told this story; probably many someones have told many different versions of it, and I simply haven't encountered any yet--my idea is a world in which the magical "monsters" of mythology, folklore, and literature ally with the conservative Christians in an epic battle against the forces of Science.  For neither magic nor religion seem able to defeat Science on their own, but who knows what might happen were they to join forces and fight together?

I have no intention of actually realizing this vision as any kind of story, so steal it freely and make it your own.

A supernatural invitation to use this pillar like Platform Nine and Three-Quarters to be transported to a more magical realm?

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