We’re just as eager for news about more Titansgrave as you might be, so in the meantime we’ve been in search of stories that share some of its flavor and feel! One of the coolest things about the world of Titansgrave is the way it combines tropes from both the science fiction and fantasy genres. Of course, this combination has been explored for decades—in books and movies and games alike. If you’re looking for more stories where magic and technology meet, here are a few fun examples.
The Dark Crystal
Jim Henson’s 1982 film epic may have been nightmare fuel of the highest order for anyone who saw it as a kid, but looking back, the movie is a fascinating exercise in design and worldbuilding. Like in Titansgrave, a terrible cataclysm of the past haunts the world of The Dark Crystal. Long ago, the vulturelike Skeksis shattered the Crystal and sent the world of Thra into chaos. They fancy themselves the rulers of a near-empty planet, fighting over power and prestige despite having no one to admire them. They desire eternal youth and devise a life-draining device to grant their wish. Their enemies are the Mystics, four-armed and peaceful folk who live a simple and very slow life based on ancient rituals.
The story follows Jen and Kira, last of the near-extinct Gelflings, as they try to restore a missing shard to the Dark Crystal in the Skeksis Castle in hopes of restoring balance to Thra. Titansgrave‘s exploration of racial tensions—and the way each group fits together into the history and health of the world—is a theme that carries over into The Dark Crystal as well. While at first, tech may seem to be purely evil in this world, the truth is more complicated than it seems. The final reel of The Dark Crystal has some surprises in store, and despite flaws with the story the movie is too fascinating and unique to skip.
Blizzard’s popular fantasy games have had something of a backlash now and again, but they remain some of the most exemplary video games in their genres. For the uninitiated, there’s about 20 years of lore to catch up on, but it’s probably safe enough to say that a bunch of orcs and trolls and things are fighting a bunch of humans and dwarves and things over and over again. Science fiction definitely creeps its way into Warcraft quite a bit—be it through planet-hopping Draenei or the invention-obsessed gnomes. Magic potions and demonic curses sit comfortably aside giant robots and x-ray goggles.
Blizzard isn’t afraid to get thoughtful with the consequences of magic and tech. For example, a radiation bomb was unleashed on the gnome capital to combat magic-resistant creatures, but ended up killing and mutating many more gnomes than it saved. On the other hand, the Warcraft series’ best traits is its great sense of humor, and the disparity between the genre tropes is rich fodder for comedy. In fact, it led to maybe the slyest flavor text of any trading card ever made. In any case, those seeking to immerse themselves in a Titansgrave-like world of both magic and tech would do well to try out World of Warcraft or its painfully addicting card game spinoff Hearthstone.
Dragonriders of Pern
The Dragonriders series, written by Anne McCaffrey, may at first appear to be a fantasy world but is in fact a very deep—if fantastical—science fiction. Pern is a planet colonized by humans centuries ago, who found themselves devastated regularly by massive, matter-consuming, spore fibers falling from the sky called Thread. To burn away and combat the Thread before it overtakes their settlements, the humans genetically designed a race of psychic dragons.
With over 20 novels in the series, it’s hard to know where to start, but this humble writer and McCaffrey herself both suggest going with the first trilogy: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon (which all feature, to some extent, a great female protagonist). The trilogy’s characters are well-developed, and the conflicts between their personal wishes and what is best for their world are reminiscent of the best parts of Titansgrave. And while the idea of combining time travel, dragons, supercomputers, psychic powers, and planetary colonization can seem dizzying at first, McCaffery expertly keeps the world feeling cohesive and understandable.
Final Fantasy X
Many of the Final Fantasy games involve a mix of science fiction and fantasy themes, including the beloved Final Fantasy VII, but the tenth entry in the series does it in perhaps the most interesting way. Facing a recurring and almost unstoppable threat in the form of Sin, a gigantic monster, the world has turned to many solutions in an attempt to defeat it. The only successful one has been the summoning of the Final Aeon, which prevents Sin’s attacks for about a decade. Those who find hope in the summoning also believe that machina—a complex technology—is taboo as Sin’s first targets were the cities that used the most machina.
However, the Al Bhed, a small group of marginalized humans, salvage and attempt to use machina against Sin. Their reasons—and the conflict between them and the religious populace—is the undercurrent for a more intimate story about a young athlete named Tidus who is dropped into this world as a stranger. He meets Yuna, a woman about to complete the next summoning, and her faithful companions. As Tidus is drawn closer into the lives of these people, so are we, and though cheesy and tropey at times, Final Fantasy X is a heartfelt and memorable RPG. Fans of Titansgrave should give this one a shot. You can pick up your copy of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana at the Green Ronin Store.
Are there any others you’d add to the list? Let’s hear ’em in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: Green Ronin Publishing