Science fantasy worldbuilding in Phoenix 5: Exotic technology

Exotic Technology

Highlighting a point of interest

Now that the reader has a sense of what they are looking at, we can highlight a key point of interest in the artefact. With the Astrolabe in Phoenix, a key point of interest is the symbols carved into the surface.

This snippet begins with Lucky’s expectation of there being words on the device—in Lucky’s world, as in ours, technology likely has words or instructions on it—but not the Astrolabe. This again helps to create a sense of mystery.

There were no words on it. But around its circumference were faint markings, intricate patterns. Twelve symbols, like a long-forgotten alphabet, carved into the black.

PhoenixS.F. SaidSource

This passage serves to tell us “Here’s what you expected, here’s how it’s different”. 

There’s no understandable words on the Astrolabe but there are symbols of some alien form on it.

There seemed to be no buttons, levers, dials, switches, handles, or triggers. But the lights, and sounds, the sense of it, said ‘machine’ to Biff. Seven lights pulsed at regular intervals through the goo, like a secret code, each one coinciding with a barely audible tone.

There were no sleeves or openings of any sort. Vijay found the cloak simply responded to the way she handled it. When she pushed an arm through the cloud, a sleeve formed around it. She could grip it enough to pull it around her shoulders, stretch it this way or that, it was like a kind of gaseous clay, forming a moulded piece of clothing.

There were no nodules similar to amphib tech but, deep within, she saw what she assumed were readouts and graphics on a straight, four-sided screen. Ten glyphs in the human’s language seemed to feature on the screen, changing at regular intervals.

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