Merry Christmas and human stupidity

25/12/2013 17:49

First, Merry Christmas! For us, it’s a day off – we do one lot of family on Christmas Eve and the other lot on New Year’s Day, so it’s a nice break with just myself and Jon (and the Lizard, who is extremely grumpy today). For anyone who’s having a family day, best of luck…


Second, I’ve been thinking about writing – this happens quite frequently – and today, the world of choice is Greensky. I was plotting weapons last night from a standpoint of electricity, rather than gunpowder – rail guns! spud launchers! tasers! flamethrowers! – but I started thinking about the amount of powder needed, and what would happen when Meton exceeds its current storage space. They have mountains behind the city, so would they move into those? A hollowed-out cavern filled with capacitors would be amazing.

One of the places in the mountains is Treloolir, which is the centre of magic (roughly. I’ll simplify it for those that haven’t yet read the story). I could work it so that Toru, who has an attachment to Treloolir, uses that as the new base for his electricity workings and the storage space the city needs. It could become an engineers’ place, full of mechanics and electricity and new things.

And then I thought…waitaminute. Treloolir is somewhere that most Mages can’t go, due to the sheer amount of magic. It would mean that the engineers are effectively blocking one specific group from seeing what they’re doing – when they are making things (like flamethrowers) that could do exactly what the Mages can. They would be making rivals, making challengers, making the Mages obsolete. And if I was a Mage in those circumstances, I’d be utterly paranoid. The simple location of the facility could create a division, a paranoia; a split that would divide first Meton, and then the world. It would put science and engineering on one side, and Mages on the other – even if they didn’t want to be. Over a generation, as the new technology exploded into the world, it could be catastrophic.

Would anyone really be stupid enough to do that? Is there any way it could not work out like that? Is there any way that magic and technology could sit side-by-side? I mean, it always would, as the magic won’t fade – Mages will continue to exist. But would they continue to exist in the same positions, the same roles? What would technology do? Would there be a war (which is entirely possible), or a lot of distrust and hatred, or could it co-exist peacefully? In the current world, magic is assisting technology – Toru’s flying machine needs a Mage at the helm to provide the ‘engine’. If magic and technology could work together, the results would be very different. But that isn’t possible if the inventions are created somewhere that the Mages can’t get to…

There are plenty of examples of the stupidest little decisions exploding into horrible consequences; Northern Ireland, large amounts of the Middle East (Israel for starters), bits of Africa both in the Colonial era and modern era…it is entirely possible that an innocent decision to relocate somewhere with more space and more stone could have unforseen consequences.

And finally: is it really something I want to continue thinking about? At the moment it is simply a train of thought, a following of ideas in my own head. I love my world – do I really want to put something that horrible into it? Do I really want to write those divisions in, and follow the tiny decision by Toru to its conclusion?

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.