Fantasy and physics, the annoying compatibility problems

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casualphilosoph

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Well I am really an fantasy fan and like to create worlds with some kind of special natural laws , magic system or spacetime design, but as a student of physics there always comes this painful moment you realize: That just does not work or would lead to an immense catastrophe in your world.<br /><br />For example portals to other dimensions, or places that exchange themselves between dimensions are a pain in the ass, such things are not material and such would not stand on the planet surface or stay in place the planet rotates around the sun, the planet rotates itself and as each inertia system is the same... .<br />To say it short even if they would be affected by gravity and not escape into space the would move trough oceans and rocks maybe even rotate make holes take you hundred meters above earth or into solid rock or drop rocks etc.<br />Another difficult matter is the splitting or fusion of worlds,<br />you can not distribute a planet without exterminating almost all life on it (earthquake lava gravity reduction) , well and you can allow gravity to pass trough dimensional barriers(space bubbles taking the same place, good to distribute radiation and particle emission if the sun is to near <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> ) however this does not solve the other problems.<br />Well if you have a solid planet you have not to worry about lava ,but this also means you have no spheres when splitting the planets.(Additionally I remember vulcanism is important to keep the atmosphere and chemical composition of a planets surface young)<br />I think you understand what I mean right? <br /><br />edit:<br />Ah forgot to mention fusions are even worse you get overlapping matter producing big explosion destroying molecular connections and probably evn throwing stuff away into space,
 
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drwayne

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For mere me, I am comfortable with<br /><br />(1) The concept that the "universe" in which we live is just one of an infinite number, in which a variety of laws apply. In addition, I don't believe in creativity. I believe writers are describing worlds that do exist somewhere in the multi-verse.<br /><br />(2) I am very good at suspension of disbelief. Believe me, taking courses like "Selected Topics in Quantum Mechanics" at 8 in the morning - that is a useful skill.<br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Wayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>"1) Give no quarter; 2) Take no prisoners; 3) Sink everything."  Admiral Jackie Fisher</p> </div>
 
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drwayne

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It is up to you to decide which of the above is true in this universe.<br /><br />Wayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>"1) Give no quarter; 2) Take no prisoners; 3) Sink everything."  Admiral Jackie Fisher</p> </div>
 
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qso1

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As long as you understand there is a real world and fantasy world, half the battle is won. And, since we do not know all about the real Universe. There could well be worlds of the type you describe, portals to such places etc.<br /><br />Sci Fi is as much an ability to mix reality with possibilities and Sci Fan is even more flexible. Do you create these places for writing a book or just for fun? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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Kalstang

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I read this book once. Cant remember the name but here's basically how it went. Remember its been a long time since I read this so may not remember everything.<br /><br />There were these astronauts. They came from Earth which as we all know is quite scientific. They were the first ones to go beyond the heliosphere. As they were passing thru they hit a, shall we say..Bump? (minor exaggeration(sp?) there.) Anyways everything seemed ok so they began the countdown to go into "hyperspace" (cant remember the exact name they used.) Now this hyperspace was suppose to act just like it did in star wars. They travel for a bit in it etc etc. Well as they went thru it instead of traveling like in star wars they were instantly transported ONTO a planet. The problem was is that after they were on this planet the ship literally shut down. Nothing would work. They decided to go out and explore the planet abit.....Anyways to make a long story short they had realized that they were on a planet were nothing scientific worked. Only magic. They even traveled to some other planets useing magic. They learned that there were parts of the universe were only science worked and parts where only magic worked. And places were both worked. They found out that the areas shifted from time to time. ie where once only magic worked now only science worked and visa versa. The places where both worked may find out that only one works. <br /><br />Possible? Or no? Could explain all the legends of magic and dragons and what not...In either case those of us alive today may never know for sure. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ffff00"><p><font color="#3366ff">I have an answer for everything...you may not like the answer or it may not satisfy your curiosity..but it will still be an answer.</font> <br /><font color="#ff0000">"Imagination is more important then Knowledge" ~Albert Einstien~</font> <br /><font color="#cc99ff">Guns dont kill people. People kill people</font>.</p></font><p><font color="#ff6600">Solar System</font></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Wonder if they ever made that book into a movie. I'm not much of a reader. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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Kalstang

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Wonder if they ever made that book into a movie. I'm not much of a reader.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Kind of doubt it. Despite the popularity of novels with magic in it there are surpiseingly few magical type movies. You have your basics yes. But when you compare it with any other type of genre its actually the lowest out there. Tho I do remember it haveing ioun stones in it. Which if your a DnD fan you'll know them as basically knowledge givers (some gave physical attributes too). It had pretty much all kinds of magical type stuff from the various genres of magical and scientific lore. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ffff00"><p><font color="#3366ff">I have an answer for everything...you may not like the answer or it may not satisfy your curiosity..but it will still be an answer.</font> <br /><font color="#ff0000">"Imagination is more important then Knowledge" ~Albert Einstien~</font> <br /><font color="#cc99ff">Guns dont kill people. People kill people</font>.</p></font><p><font color="#ff6600">Solar System</font></p> </div>
 
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casualphilosoph

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Well I have ideas for storys and characters and try to make them into stories, however when I come to the details and the story inbetween the moments the problems beginn.<br /><br />Also unfortunately its not so easy to fill the holes of logic, when you just use the magic wand everytime something does not fit you afffect the image and the feeling magic gives of and you also might contradict your own system.<br />Ok most people will not notice or care about that but you and it keeps bugging you.<br /><br />Right now for example I have one char that tries to clear up a mistake and one that shall demonstrate a certain aspect of magic, however I feel that this is still not enough to fill the whole plot and so I try to come up with additionally problems.<br />The problem with the problems is that I am not in the mood for one of those world saving stories, so I toddle between something reoccuring that prevents an utopic world/peaceful advanced life (besides human themself)<br />and something like a personal quest for knowlege memory a lost person etc.<br />The space bubbles where one idea to introduce something special and explain reoccuring catastrophes, however as I explained that would pretty much overdo it.<br />I still try to find something that fits with the mood I want to create.( I am not giving any details otherwise I would ruin the fun for the case I succeed)<br />Ah I forgot to mention that I am quite inspired by the style of mangas and that I have in mind to create a story that could be changed into one <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />.<br /><br />P.S: Magic that is in reality advanced nanotechnogy, spells that are in reality password and commands for those and magic wands that are in reality emitters translating voice language into electromagnetic siganals for the nanomachines , thats also a good wayto mix science fiction and fantasy.
 
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ordinary_guy

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Fun thread...<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Well I am really an fantasy fan and like to create worlds with some kind of special natural laws , magic system or spacetime design, but as a student of physics there always comes this painful moment you realize: That just does not work or would lead to an immense catastrophe in your world. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />That's where it's up to the creativity of the writer to figure out a solution.<br /><br />drwayne (and qso1 and and and...) make a universal point about suspension of disbelief – and it really is universal. I was at a writers' conference on Rigel 7 last week and they were saying the same thing.<br /><br />Basically, as long as it makes sense in your world, then it has verisimilitude.<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>For example portals to other dimensions, or places that exchange themselves between dimensions are a pain in the ass, such things are not material and such would not stand on the planet surface or stay in place the planet rotates around the sun, the planet rotates itself and as each inertia system is the same... . <br />To say it short even if they would be affected by gravity and not escape into space the would move trough oceans and rocks maybe even rotate make holes take you hundred meters above earth or into solid rock or drop rocks etc. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />This is where physics problems become engineering problems. Portals are a great example – it's in the approach to the mechanics of magic where you make it make sense. Assume, for instance, that the portal requires both power (albeit magical power) and some type of transceiver to work. A reasonable assumption. Now, in order for your portal to exist, it has to be within some type of framework (like, say, a door). A self-supporting portal (or one suffering a magical surge or phenomena of your choice) would indeed fly off, potentially wreaking havoc before destroying itself or simply dis <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px"><strong>Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.</strong></p> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px">-Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)</p> </div>
 
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ordinary_guy

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Interesting...<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>I read this book once... There were these astronauts... Anyways to make a long story short they had realized that they were on a planet were nothing scientific worked. Only magic. They even traveled to some other planets useing magic. They learned that there were parts of the universe were only science worked and parts where only magic worked. And places were both worked. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Okay, my nerd quotient here is about to increase by several orders of magnitude...<br /><br />Your story vaguely reminds me of an old D&D module called "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks."<br /><br />As for the science vs. magic, that's been a stickler for fantasy writers for ages. Whether you're talking about fantasy novels or RPGs, folk have been trying to figure out how to maintain their magic middle-ages flavor so the story can be franchised and continue as long they could sell it.<br /><br />Most of the solutions are arbitrary and inelegant at best – usually something like "gun powder doesn't work here." The sensible reader/player immediately asks "why not?" Figure that if the principles that made gun powder work suddenly stopped working, all life would suddenly stop working for the same reason.<br /><br />The better solutions are usually along the lines of "magic is already fairly entrenched, easily accessible and fairly powerful, so research into traditional science is unwarranted because magic already solves most of our problems." And/or you have the possibility of technomancers, secret cabals that research the non-magical (but still-mysterious) ways of the universe, or that advanced research beyond stone arches is banned because the mages see it as a threat... whatever...<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Possible? Or no? Could explain all the legends of magic and dragons and what not...In either case those of us alive today may never know for sure.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px"><strong>Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.</strong></p> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px">-Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)</p> </div>
 
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Kalstang

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Okay, my nerd quotient here is about to increase by several orders of magnitude... <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />lol your right it did go up several orders of magnitude <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> . I didnt even know that Ioun Stones where once called "Congenio's Pebbles". And I thought I was a fairly geeky kinda guy when it came to DnD. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ffff00"><p><font color="#3366ff">I have an answer for everything...you may not like the answer or it may not satisfy your curiosity..but it will still be an answer.</font> <br /><font color="#ff0000">"Imagination is more important then Knowledge" ~Albert Einstien~</font> <br /><font color="#cc99ff">Guns dont kill people. People kill people</font>.</p></font><p><font color="#ff6600">Solar System</font></p> </div>
 
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casualphilosoph

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Suspension of disbelief however often only works trough laziness of mind as the reader does not care anymore about certain details, so the question is always who is more of a perfectionist and stops digging deeper the writer or the reader.(kind like an arms race <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> )<br /><br />Well but the real problems is what compromises are you ready to take for certain ideas to work, for example the portal idea:<br />First if you not use an energy oriented approach of magic a portal can not be "powered by magic".(thats the case in my latest concept)<br />Second a manmade portal requires the knowledge that other worlds exist and suggest a strong magic technology, which changes the "taste" "smell" of magic is giving of.<br />(I rather had seen a portal as a natural occurence in the architecture of space time)<br /><br />Regarding the absence of technology reoccuring catastrophes are also a good explanation, or a kind of ban or taboo of technology maybe even some kind of protection mechanism or curse that prevents its development.<br />For example in one of my Fantasy world scenarios, where humans were genetically improved, (explaining super warriors, elves, gnomes dwarfs etc) nanorobots controlled by supercomputers destroyed each machine surpassing a certain technology level in order for the evolution of the genetically improved human species to not be disturbed.<br />(The idea was once a human with sufficient psi power would arise the computer would deactivate they prohibition and return mankinds technology which were shifted out of dimension. They whole plan was devoleped by the superior AIs/ lifeforms created by mankind that already transcended there physical forms in order to help the humans to also overcome that evolutionary step.)
 
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ordinary_guy

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eh...<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Suspension of disbelief however often only works trough laziness of mind as the reader does not care anymore about certain details, so the question is always who is more of a perfectionist and stops digging deeper the writer or the reader.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />If you're writing, be your own perfectionist and forget about the rest of the perfectionists that are out there.<br /><br />Really.<br /><br />Truth is a matter of perception and interpretation, therefore even if it's perfect from your POV, it won't be perfect from theirs.<br />...Or, in other words: you can't please all the people all the time. You'll be lucky to please some of the people most of the time. But if you try to please everybody, you won't please anybody.<br /><br />Oh yeah... <i>not to mention that you're writing story, not a textbook</i>. When somebody picks up a novel, there's an implicit agreement between author and reader. In this context, they'll give you the benefit of the doubt. As long as you frame your imaginative reaches so they <i>seem</i> believable, the illusion holds.<br /><br />If they're <i>looking</i> for holes, they'll find them even if you didn't leave any. Somebody that's looking for flaws will invent them if they have to, if only to point at the minutiae that you've omitted for the sake of the flow of the story.<br /><br />You can write and satisfy the analytical mind, but you'll never convince the critical mind. They don't want to be convinced. Screw 'em. Write your story and make it the best that you can.<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Well but the real problems is what compromises are you ready to take for certain ideas to work, for example the portal idea: <br />First if you not use an energy oriented approach of magic a portal can not be "powered by magic".(thats the case in my latest concept) <br />Second a manmade portal requires the knowledge that other worlds exist and suggest a</p></blockquote> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px"><strong>Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.</strong></p> <p style="font:normalnormalnormal12px/normalTimes;margin:0px">-Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)</p> </div>
 
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zer01zero

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>The better solutions are usually along the lines of "magic is already fairly entrenched, easily accessible and fairly powerful, so research into traditional science is unwarranted because magic already solves most of our problems<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Ordinary_Guy, that exact idea was used to good effect in the fantasy series "Guardians of the Flame" where several students were magically transported to the AD&D universe they were playing in. There they develop a rifle (to fight the baddies). (Well there was a bright engineering student in the mix) As you suggested, there was no reason for any device like a rifle because of the myriad magical weapons of the AD&D universe.<br /><br />The bad mages tried to do the same magically but they were not as good.<br /><br />I thought it was a good way to mix the 2 ideas. Other engineering ideas were blended along the way as well.
 
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