How do I mix magic and science fiction tech without it feeling haphazard or unbalanced?
From a storytelling standpoint, magic and scifi tech are nearly identical except for theming. If you’re not careful with things that feel different in theme, it will give the impression that you arbitrarily put whatever you wanted in your world. But this is fixable. There are two main ways to create a world theme that encompasses both fantasy and science fiction elements.
First, you can make them feel like they’re really the same thing. Options for this include the following:
- The magic is actually advanced technology – sure it looks like that person is casting a spell, but really it’s nanobots that are doing it.
- The technology is built off of magic, also known as magitech. This is what happens when your high fantasy setting has its own industrial revolution, but all the technology uses magic to function.
- Most technology is normal technology, but scifi technology is special because it’s powered by magic. Basically this is lower effort magitech for contemporary settings.
Second, you can emphasize the contrast, making it an important part of your world. For instance, some stories have the premise that technology kills magic or vice versa. You also could have two alternate universes – a scifi one and a fantasy one – that the protagonist switches between. The important part is that the difference between magic and tech is central to your story, and there’s a method behind when you choose magic and when you choose tech.