Inspiration: from SF and technology to fantasy

In this post, I’ll look into some cases when Sci-Fi inspired my writing, despite the fact I’m writing fantasy.

Optimus prime

Optimus Prime in TF4 movie

The main protagonist of the Transformers toy line became a significant indirect inspiration after I saw the first boom-tastic movie. The reason is one major difference when it comes to Optimus in the movies: among robots who carry more weapons than a tank brigade, he fights with SWORDS! And swords are awesome!

And for being a massive robot, he’s nimble and can kick ass. Plus, he works as a role model for a leader figure.

Optimus Prime in TF2 movie

And nimble warrior is exactly what my plan for Tyr’eshal was. Sure it takes a while before he gets good enough to dual-wield swords, let alone to get a weapon that would get close to the cut-through-metal power of Optimus’ swords.


Yes, you’re reading this right. I used terminators as inspiration for fantasy. Now, on to the details.


When I got to explore the topic of elemental creatures and when I decided to use the ‘vulnerable only to opposite element’ approach, I had to come up with a way how exactly would that work.

And that’s where the T-1000 comes in.

T-1000 mid-change

I did not take it as far as the actual T-1000 to the point an elemental could change their shape into anything. The inspiration is in how an elemental react to a wound: it just seals itself in similar way the T-1000 does. How exactly to destroy an elemental depends on what kind of elemental they are, and that part bears inspiration from elsewhere, but there’s a major element coming from T-1000.

T-X/bone wraith

The T-X from the third terminator movie was a combination of T-800 skeleton and T-1000 ‘flesh’.

T-X trapped

A bone wraith is an undead construct built on similar basis. It has a skeleton (created from the bones of fallen demons) with a magical outer layer protecting it similar to the liquid metal (and which works similar to a T-1000/elemental).

In a way, bone wraith can be considered an artificially created ‘death elemental’. And there’s a similarity in a weakness – but I can’t say more for spoiler reasons.

General Sci-Fi: hologram screens

Avatar (2009) – aircraft control console

Without going too deep into the details: one of the characters came up with a magical demon detectors as a defensive measure, which are linked to hologram maps at the barracks to warn the respective officers about an incoming attack. This is one of the many cases where you can use magic for a similar result as you might do with technology.

And not the last…

General present-day tech

Which leads to some gadgets that have some degree of inspiration in present-day technology with magical touch. One of such devices is arcane compass, which can do a lot of things similar to a GPS receiver, and some other things, on a magical basis.

Many of the main characters also have something very reminiscent to smart watch which they can use for communication (if you’re into details: it works on the same basis as teleport but only pulling the voice, and possibly image, through – not the whole person). The end result is also tied to the above: a hologram-like projection appears when they have a ‘call’. It also has some other functions, but that’s not the main point here.

Another minor thing inspired by tech is the security in courtrooms and prison: doors to courtrooms don’t have handles. Instead, they have a magical panel that reads the handprint and the doors only open if the person is allowed to enter/leave. The main prison entrances are equipped in a similar way, though with some other security measures added.

To wrap it up, one last inpiration: geothermal energy. With some adjustments for a magical variant, those who can afford it can use such as a source of power for lights and stove, as well as magically-powered water pump (includes heating) for almost present-day bathroom comfort.

So, that’s another look behind the scenes of my story. Feel free to ask me anything about the topic, or share your own experience. Did you take similar inspiration, or saw it in a book you’ve read? You’re welcome to share it.

Used images are linked from IMDB or movie fan sites and are property of the respective copyright holders.

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