Also dial-up internet, printers that sounded like dying moose, transparent telephones, rotary telephones, gigantic cell phones, inflatable furniture, the original Game Boy, NES/SNES, Walkman, and hair scrunchies.
[Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, “theoretical physicist and inventor whose research helped to create the portable fax, touch tone telephone, the solar cell, and the fiber optic cables, and the technology for call waiting & caller ID. She is also the first African-American woman to obtain a Ph.D from MIT in 1973.”]
in the span of a year, technology has gone from old cordless telephone knock-off cells to smartphones.
every day, you look at your nose in the mirror. was it always this sharp? how many corners can you find on your body? are people even supposed to be so…angular?
you sit in a dark corner of your house, waiting for a dead body will crash through your veranda door. your neighbour was killed a month ago; it’s only a matter of time.
more and more geniuses are popping up in japan. young adults, a couple of teens, now grade schoolers. how young will the next batch be? every night, you have an ominous dream where a toddler, swaddled in diapers, crawls up to a dead body and bathes in its blood.
you’re chatting with your friends at a dingy old bar when they bring up the story of a possessed soccer ball that will pursue its target to the ends of the earth. they say beware, you could be next.
you’ve never heard of a ‘locked room beetle’ in your life; why does everyone shudder involuntarily when you say its name?
oh look, you’re doing it, too.
it’s been a week since you’ve moved to beika. no matter where you go, everyone has blue eyes. every time you step outside, you feel the pressure of a million sapphire irises weighing upon you. you’ve taken to wearing contacts, but you know very well that all it would take is one slip. one slip, and you will become an Other.
orange juice. sometimes, you see it out of the corner of your eye. sometimes, it’s lying innocuously on a table. you look around; aside from kamen yaiba, it’s the only thing you see advertised. you don’t understand, what’s so good about it, oh my god shit what the fuck is that oh god oh god helpme my eyes M Y E Y E S
So I’m writing a book series that happens after a new dark ages and a second Pangea. In this world (which is practically the same as our earth but in an AU where mythical creatures live here too) how can I believably write that we forgot how to use technology and are just starting to use guns and such but not things like Internet and cell phones?
The first thing to keep in mind is that we tend to take human infrastructure for granted. Most of us don’t think about things like water, power, gasoline, goods and food and how they actually get to us. Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina illustrate how quickly infrastructure can collapse. Even something like a catastrophic virus could lead to loss of power and interruption of utilities if there weren’t people available to keep running those systems. And, the ability to get those systems back online again would decrease over time. The knowledge needed to run those systems (much less get them functional again in the first place) would disappear in a generation. It’s also not like you can simply read a manual and kick start your local water treatment plant. There’s a lot of knowledge, manpower, and supporting infrastructure that has to be in place. The same goes for things like internet and cellphones.
In a true dark ages scenario, where all of that knowledge would be lost, and all of that infrastructure would crumble and disappear over time, we would essentially be starting from scratch and have to evolve through all those technological eras all over again. The only difference is that some measure of residual knowledge would probably make it a bit easier the second time around. Just knowing that telephones and cell phones are possible would save time, because you don’t have to wait for someone to think them up first.
What you do have to wait for, however, is the need. You’ve probably heard the term “necessity is the mother of invention,” and that’s especially true of technology. If you have a very small population distributed between villages, for example, you don’t really need cell phones–or telephones for that matter. They’re convenient, sure, but that kind of technology requires a lot of work and a lot of infrastructure. Couriers on horseback work just as well. Until they don’t, and that’s not an issue until the population increases and gets spread out over very large distances. So, it’s pretty believable that internet and cell phones will be relatively low on the priority list as we emerge from yet another dark age.
Guns, on the other hand, are something that will more than likely survive into and through the a second dark age. They don’t really require anything but gunpowder and metal, and lots of people know how to make that. Guns would also hold a pretty high value through a dark age scenario, and even if–for some reason–all of the world’s guns vanished during that time, they would be one of the first things to be reinvented. Waaay before things like telephones, cell phones, and internet.
Use the evolution of technology in our timeline as a guideline, just compressed a little bit. Whereas it took us roughly 130 years to get from telegraph to cellphone, it could conceivably take half the time on a second go ‘round. Or, maybe, for some reason, things go a bit differently and it takes the same amount of time or longer. We don’t really know for sure what would happen, so really anything you come up with is fine as long as you can explain it. :)
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