Changing technology in Sci-Fi Vs Unchanging Fantasy world


How do you throw a space party? You planet.
Jun 17, 2023
Southern Tasmania
I had an interesting thought in regards to writing Sci-Fi Vs Fantasy. In Sci-Fi I feel like things have to change overtime. Technology, culture etc. Where as in writing Fantasy it is perfectly okay to have a world in which these things don't really change. In trying to write Sci-fi especially near future sci-fi, not only do I have to deal with creating the world but, to make it believable, I also have show technology and culture changing overtime. In Fantasy you have to create the entire world but, other than the way your plot changes the world, you don't really have to worry about these things. I think this makes near future sci-fi very hard to write convincingly. Be interested in others thoughts about this.

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2008
Fantasy worlds do seem to be extremely static, perhaps because they are often based on medieval/older views of the world where technological progress was very slow, and the great events (as people saw them) weren't technology-focussed but were more about myths. And I suppose that SF is often about the effects of technological progress on people, while fantasy has other aims.

Near-future SF is extremely hard to write convincingly, and often reflects that style and worries of the time it was written in an obvious way. I almost think that it's not worth bothering to try to predict the near future, at least in writing, and to write a sort of satire that talks about one particular aspect of the present taken to a weird extent.

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Mar 9, 2007
In my opinion, fantasy tends to look to the past, whereas science fiction looks to the future.

Also most stories don't tend to span an awfully long period of time (especially fantasy), so it's unlikely that much would alter within that time period.


Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental
Jul 17, 2013
Discworld was a fantasy series that gradually introduced technology
The Pillars of Reality series by Jack Campbell and
The Merchant Princes series by Charles Stross
mix "magic" and SF by attributing the magic to quantum physics but both make very dynamic universes. Much of the conflict centers around people trying to prevent change.


and debonair
Feb 25, 2022
Many fantasy worlds are post-golden age. The age of discovery and growth already happened and now the characters live in the leftovers.

But that is also true of post apocalyptic SF.


Well-Known Member
May 18, 2021
Graydon Saunders Commonweal series has progress in sorcery. This is explicitly mentioned by the sorcerer Wake in "Safely You Deliver" when estimating the strength of an attacking sorcerer by comparing them to a Commonweal sorcerer called Rust, who's academic arguments on sorcery with another sorcerer called Halt are mentioned at the start of "The March North".

“How tough was this first one?”

“Between eight hundred and a thousand, and well-provided.” There’s the particular emphasis on well-provided that means “lots of mind-bound subsidiary sorcerers.”

“So about Rust?”

“No.” Wake is definite. “Five hundred years of open publication have improved us.” Wake’s wry shrug swirls immaterial smoke. “More than we may realize by few examples.”

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