The 5 Reasons to Write series
the authors from
Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life
for the month of March
Please welcome Renne Cheung!
5 Reasons to Write in the Technomancy Genre
1. The perceived dichotomy of technology and magic
There is a stereotype that when it comes to magic and technology, it’s either/or. I’m not sure where this idea that technology is the antithesis of magic came from but it seems to prevail in fiction. What’s worse is that often, it feels like technology is positioned to be the death of everything magic represents - dreams, intuition, wonder, to name a few concepts.
Perhaps this is due to technology going hand in hand with science and industrialization. After all, even Arthur C. Clarke said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” which implies that magic is simply what science has not been able to explain yet. As a result, science and what it produces, technology, is often used as an antagonistic force in fantasy. (Anyone remember Fern Gully?) But to view something so prevalent in our lives so negatively in an entire genre is rather unfortunately, in my opinion and technomancy is a subgenre that works to correct this misconception.
2. The wonder in our lives
Were you one of those kids that went looking in the back of closets after reading the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time? I was. I remember looking at everything with wonder and trying to catch magic in my hands. Well, wardrobes don’t exactly exist anymore and instead, what we got are computers and laptops. With technology so deeply woven into our lives, why are we not introducing more wonder in those aspects?
Just as one of my fellow anthologist, Jen Chandler, mentioned once in an interview I conducted with her, I want to rekindle that sense of wonder but instead of looking at a forest and wondering if there are faeries about, I want someone to look at social media and wonder if the amount of emotion we pour out via our technology might lead to something else.
3. Social commentary on technology
The fantasy genre is often used as social commentary with the ability to highlight issues about the current society while sneaking past people’s defences because it’s taken out of context of the world as we know it today. I believe the same kind of conversation needs to happen about our technology. Just like Terry Pratchetts Discworld is such a brilliant satire on a range of topics from politics to economics and culture, I believe that technomancy fiction can fulfil a similar role about technology today.
4. An opportunity for education
Learning about technology can be boring (well unless you are a tech nerd). Technomancy is an opportunity to introduce technology, or even the workings of, in a fun way to a wider audience. For instance, I was able to introduce Slack, a chat platform, in one of my stories. I’m fairly sure that outside of the tech industry, not a lot of people know about Slack, but it is an application used widely in many workplaces. Sure, it’s not exactly accurate (technomancy is a subgenre of fantasy after all) but it may inspire someone who previously was not interested in technology to take another look.
I am well aware that the term is not very commonly used, at least in some circles. Technomancy is a term used more often in tabletop and video games than in fiction. And that’s a reason in itself - there’s simply not enough technomancy fiction out there.
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Renee wrote the story "Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight" for the 2017 IWSG Anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life.
Long ago, before the Unseen migrated into servers and networks, a hedge-knight sought to save a village from a dragon. But being a hero always has its price.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble
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