Medieval Stasis

Posted: February 19, 2009 in writing update
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Some of you may have stumbled upon a site called TV Tropes before. If you haven’t, it is well worth the look – but be warned, it is a trap. You venture in to look at just one thing and two hours later you still haven’t got around to reading it.

Tropes are devices and conventions that writers use that generally aren’t cliched but are commonly employed.  Despite the title, it is not just about TV, but covers a wide gamut of media – TV, movies, literature, comics, anime etc.

One of the tropes lists is Medieval Stasis, something I have mentioned before, but by different names.  My references to it have been the apparent stagnation of technology and history often plagues fantasy.

The opening paragraph of the entry reads;

So, you have a Heroic Fantasy with a long history, in order to account for the fact that the Sealed Evil In A Can has been forgotten. So, you fast forward about five thousand years (or merely place the Sealed Evil’s Back Story that far back), and reveal a world… exactly like the one you started in! Same technological level, same form of government, same culture — you wouldn’t even need to dress differently to fit in.

If one thing irks me more than most it is this.  History and cultures change.  it is something I try and work hard on in my stories and my world.  Nations rise and fall, as do people and cultures.  Technology advances.

Hopefully as I get more written this becomes apparent.  I have stories that span from the stone age right through to the age of sail and gunpowder.  The Maedari are the main culture of I write around and even they change.  There first appearance is as stone age hunter-gathers who migrate into lands occupied by early non-human bronze age cultures.  From there they become a kingdom during the bronze age before it is destroyed by a newly arrived culture, the Chelosians, towards the start of the iron age.  The survivors are either subsummed by the Chelosians or migrate to harsher lands where they fragment into many tribes or nations.  From there they languish as a minor, scarcely important people until, in time, they form a new union and the Maedari Commonwealth is formed.  The various tribes of the Maedari evolved in their own directions though between the fall of the Kingdom and the rise of the Commonwealth and have their own differences – in a way like Australians and New Zealanders share a common heritage but are different, or the Irish, Scots and Welsh – all Celtic but all different.

Anyhow, that is in a large part what my writing is about and I hope that my skills can in someway match the vision and dreams I have for my world.


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