You’ve discussed the problems with mismatched technology a few times, such as when people use devices that were created centuries apart.

But, I want to do a story where everyone has flintlock pistols and laser swords.

Is that possible?

Thank you,

Dave L

Hey Dave, great to hear from you again! 

The snarky answer is that, yes, it’s possible – in the same way it’s possible to do most things in a story because there’s no law against them.* Now, if you want to combine flintlocks and laser swords in a way that isn’t heavily contrived, that’s a different matter. 

One option is to use a highly niche scenario that would allow the two technologies to exist side by side, at least for a little while. Perhaps your hero is a space knight who crash lands on a planet where flintlocks are state of the art. Now, your stranded scifi protagonist can hand out a few laser swords to their friends, but since no other technology survived the crash, they have to use flintlocks if they want a ranged weapon. 

Or, you could reverse it. Maybe you have a postapocalyptic world, and before the big cataclysmic event, technology was advanced enough to include laser swords. It’s now been long enough for the survivors to develop flintlock firearms, and then they discover a big crate of laser swords that still work. 

I’m sure you can think of other possibilities. The problem is that they’re all very specific and likely wouldn’t last for long before the laser swords either stopped working or the flintlocks were outmoded by more advanced weapons. 

If you want a setting that works more generally and doesn’t feel incredibly contrived, your best bet is something that replicates the feel of one or both of these technologies, rather than including the technology itself. For example, the Shardblades from The Way of Kings are nearly identical to lightsabers in function, but are thoroughly high fantasy in form. It wouldn’t be too difficult to do something similar in a flintlock setting. 

Maybe the magic system in this setting allows mages to shape their soul-stuff into physical tools, and some of them craft swords for battle. These soul-blades would have similar qualities to a lightsaber, but be made from magic rather than technology. Such a world could then have flintlock firearms as well, and it wouldn’t seem like a bizarre mismatch. 

Hope that answers your question, and good luck with your writing! 

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