Hmm, I’m thinking about this again, as I write a story for the Tower setting. Or maybe it’s for a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy setting. Or is it?
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this style of setting recently, specifically what I like about it. In context, I’ve been developing the Tower setting (straight urban fantasy) and mucking about with a couple others—secondary fantasy and Earth-urban fantasy—and not really finding what I’m looking for in the others. Then I began to mess around with post-apocalyptic fantasy.
A lot of what I’m thinking about is somewhat similar to Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series, her post-apocalyptic Atlanta, GA. Basically, in that setting magic has returned to the Earth after several thousand years. However, this didn’t happen all at once but rather has been happening in ebbing waves over 30+ years and is still on-going. Eventually, magic will completely take over and return, causing technology to completely stop. In the meantime, there are tech times and magic times.
Most of these settings that I can recall are similar, in that the action takes place relatively soon after the magic causes apocalyptic-style events. The Shadowrun RPG-verse comes to mind as well, also about 30-40 years post-magic (according to the 2nd edition version at least).
I like this sort of setting for a few reasons. First, it allows for whatever tech level the writer desires from stone age to advanced, depending on how magic interacts with technology. Second, it can allow the creation of what amounts to a secondary world that can still reference Earth cultures and backgrounds. Third, for an open magic world (versus hidden magic), history doesn’t have to be rewritten. Only the events after the magic event need to be recorded because all the prior history is the same as our world (or can be), we don’t have to worry about how viable, working magic affected WWII or the Cold War. Those just happened as is, though we do need to figure out what happened between, say, 2016, when the event occurred, and today. That might only be a couple generations, a couple years, or even a couple centuries.
For what I’m playing with right now, I’ve set the Event as occurring about 150 years prior to the present. So, things have more or less settled down, multiple generations have been raised with magic and non-humans, new governments have formed, and all that stuff. Sort of like turning Earth into a secondary fantasy world, with random tech levels and magi-tech.
I’m hoping it will work out well and prove interesting for me, possible readers, and the characters who just arrived there.