Monday, March 27, 2017

#Hero Lost author Renee Cheung's 5 Reasons to Write in the Technomancy Genre

The 5 Reasons to Write series
proudly presents
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.

5. Technomancy...wha…?
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.

Renee uses her years of experience as a developer to write about the what-ifs of magic and technology. When she is not suspiciously peering at her computer in between her writing, she can be found roaming the streets with her family or gaming (whether it’s video games, board games or table-top RPGs) with her similar-minded friends.

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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.

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fantasy is a great venue for social commentary. It helps us deal with real life issues in a way and a place we can handle.
I believe magic is technology we just don't understand. Besides, science is not as precise as everyone believes.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm glad there's some technomancy in Hero Lost.

I'd still like to find Narnia through a wardrobe one day.

cleemckenzie said...

Authors of fiction with a technical/ scientific background have such an advantage. I'm thinking about Heinlein and his amazing science fiction. I'm sure Renee's story will reflect her developer background.

Renee Cheung said...

Alex, I think so too. It's fun when you start thinking about what the definition of magic is when you compare it as a foil to science.

Thanks Diane! I am excited to be able to share a bit of the genre with everyone.

Thanks C. Lee. I try my best to write accurately about technology. Helps that I have a core group of friends that are all computer scientists who help with research and verification. Just the other day, we were talking about panic buttons in data center for my next novel.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks, Renee for sharing info about this genre!

Libby Heily Author said...

It's funny that I stumbled on this post. I have a series that involves magic and an android. It's confusing for some readers but I love the mixture of the magic of science and just plain old magic!

Chrys Fey said...

I never actually heard of this genre. *hides in shame* But I sure do love the blend of magic and technology. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Interesting! I'm a tech nerd, I feel...I freelance write tech articles all the time. But I'd never heard of this genre. I need to look into it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I like the connection of fantasy and technology and the world building that can be the result.

Christine Rains said...

I remember Fern Fully! I believe this is a genre that is due to grow. If our world loses that sense of wonder, we're in trouble.

krystal jane said...

I love FernGully!! ^_^

I used to feel like technology was in my way when writing, but once I tried out some crazy tech for a currently unfinished idea, it changed my mind completely! I love playing with technology now. It doesn't disrupt the magic, it enhances it and makes me more creative in the process. :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Technomancy? Wow. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this genre... but I'll get there.

Erika Beebe said...

Great post Renee. I can't wait to see how you did it and it's a fascinating new genre. And I love the narnia reference. It would be most days to have an escape route out of meetings or the giant printer I have to deal with some days.

Nick Wilford said...

This was really interesting and I've never heard this term before. Technology is about ploughing into the unknown and seeing what happens, so why shouldn't it have a correlation with magic?

Magic Love Crow said...

Hi, nice to meet you! Thanks for coming by my blog, after reading about me, from Alex's blog! Very kind of you! Very interesting read! I believe in magic! Without magic, there is no life! It's all how you look at things! Everything is magical! Big Hugs!