History MundaneUtility / Literature

6th Dec '16 4:49:33 PM MasterGhandalf
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* Discussed and defied in ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn''. [[CourtMage Doctor Morgenes]] only uses his magic for things that would be impossible (or at least, prohibitively difficult) to accomplish via mundane means, and makes plain his opinion that wise wizards exercise restraint when it comes to their powers. His EvilCounterpart [[EvilSorcerer Pryrates]] is a lot more flagrant, and proves Morgenes' point in that his reckless experimenting attracts the attention of [[BigBad greater and extremely unpleasant forces]].
27th Nov '16 10:31:25 AM lorgskyegon
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* All the main characters in the ''Diadem: Worlds of Magic'' series do this. Justified in that they may have been gifted with the power to rule the entire galaxy, but they're teenagers and don't want to do it.
** Score, in particular, like this trope. He uses his powers to heat his bathwater, dry himself off without a towel, change unpalatable medieval foods into cola and burgers, and seals an alliance with goblins by turning water into Coke.
26th Nov '16 4:08:10 PM DaibhidC
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Lampshaded in ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'': "You have a time machine and you use it for...watching television?" He's also happy for Richard to use it in order to book a table for tonight at an exclusive restaurant, three weeks in advance.

to:

** * Lampshaded in ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'': "You have a time machine and you use it for...watching television?" He's also happy for Richard to use it in order to book a table for tonight at an exclusive restaurant, three weeks in advance.
26th Nov '16 4:07:38 PM DaibhidC
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Lampshaded in ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'': "You have a time machine and you use it for...watching television?"

to:

** Lampshaded in ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'': "You have a time machine and you use it for...watching television?"television?" He's also happy for Richard to use it in order to book a table for tonight at an exclusive restaurant, three weeks in advance.
20th Nov '16 1:29:31 AM Xtifr
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In Theodore Sturgeon's ''More Than Human'', Lone asks Baby to come up with a mechanical device that would help a farmer keep his truck from getting stuck in mud... Baby gives him instructions on how to build what turns out to be an anti-gravity machine. Neither character actually realizes the full extent of this invention - Lone is capable of making the device with help but doesn't comprehend how it actually works, while Baby does have this knowledge but, having a mind comparable to a computer, doesn't consider any other uses for it until later on when he's specifically asked about what might happen if the device is found.

to:

* In Theodore Sturgeon's Creator/TheodoreSturgeon's ''More Than Human'', Lone asks Baby to come up with a mechanical device that would help a farmer keep his truck from getting stuck in mud... Baby gives him instructions on how to build what turns out to be an anti-gravity machine. Neither character actually realizes the full extent of this invention - Lone is capable of making the device with help but doesn't comprehend how it actually works, while Baby does have this knowledge but, having a mind comparable to a computer, doesn't consider any other uses for it until later on when he's specifically asked about what might happen if the device is found.
15th Nov '16 7:01:11 AM AceOfScarabs
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** There's some mundane uses of magic-derived technology on the Discworld, such as using tiny summoned imps to paint pictures (essentially a photo camera), or as (dis)organizers. However, magic on the Disc is likened to nuclear power - it's good to know it's out there, but you wouldn't want a pile of it in your living room.

to:

** There's some mundane uses of magic-derived technology on the Discworld, such as using tiny summoned imps to paint pictures (essentially a photo camera), or as (dis)organizers. However, magic on the Disc is likened to nuclear power - it's good to know it's out there, but you wouldn't want a pile of it in your living room. As such, such mundane uses of magic in everyday use is under the purview of the University's Department of Inadvisably Applied Magic.



** Unseen University's omniscopes are powerful scrying devices that can see anywhere and anywhen. Because of this it's extremely hard to get them to show anywhere and anywhen ''in particular'', so they usually show the blackness of empty space (that being what most of the universe consists of). The wizards mostly use them as shaving mirrors.
** In a world in which technology to make clockwork is rare, how does one keep track time? Trap tiny demons in watches of course! They aren't dangerous, but the clocks aren't very reliable, which makes mechanic ones far better.

to:

** Unseen University's omniscopes are powerful scrying devices that can see anywhere and anywhen. Because of this it's extremely hard to get them to show anywhere and anywhen ''in particular'', so they usually show the blackness of empty space (that being what most of the universe consists of). The wizards mostly use them as shaving mirrors.
mirrors. Ridcully, who is particularly skilled at using an omniscope, takes advantage of his skill to make stalking prey while hunting easier.
** On a lesser scale, Wizards will occasionally use magic for mundane purposes - in ''Sourcery,'' for example, Spelter turns water into sherry, and in various later books, the Dean uses a very tiny fireball to light a cigarette, Ridcully makes a tiny light spell that serves as a magical laser pointer for a presentation in ''The Science of Discworld'', and in ''Making Money'' Ponder gets the Cabinet of Curiosities to produce a Golem's Foot so that Adora Belle Dearheart could correctly identify some other Golems she was freeing from an underground area, and Hix calls back the late Professor Flead to translate Umnian for Adora and Moist.
** In a world in which technology to make clockwork is rare, how does one keep track time? Trap tiny demons in watches of course! They aren't dangerous, but the clocks aren't very reliable, which makes mechanic mechanical ones far better.



** On the other side of the fence, Discworld witches are trained to avert this trope (which doesn't necessarily mean they do it 100%, just that they're trained not to rely on magic as much as possible). Most of them seem to take it as a point of pride how far they can go using only hard work and completely nonmagical things like herbalism and headology.

to:

** On the other side of the fence, Discworld witches are trained to avert this trope (which doesn't necessarily mean they do it 100%, just that they're trained not to rely on magic as much as possible). Most of them seem to take it as a point of pride how far they can go using only hard work and completely nonmagical things like herbalism herbalism, theaterical performances, and headology.



** Meanwhile, Wizards will occasionally use magic for mundane purposes - in ''Sourcery,'' for example, Spelter turns water into sherry.
** In ''Equal Rites'', Esk disguises her wizard staff as a broom, occasionally using it to sweep up. When Mustrum Ridcully was summoned to UU to become its Archchancellor, he had to retrieve his own staff from the garden, where it was serving as the support-pole of a scarecrow. He's known to use magic for trick shots in pool involving time travel.
** In ''The Truth'', Otto uses his vampire power over animals to make a huge crowd of squabbling dogs sit up and howl, so they'll stop blocking his and William's path back to the ''Times'' office.

to:

** Meanwhile, Wizards will occasionally use magic for mundane purposes - in ''Sourcery,'' for example, Spelter turns water into sherry.
** In ''Equal Rites'', Esk disguises her wizard staff as a broom, occasionally using it to sweep up. When Mustrum Ridcully was summoned to UU to become its Archchancellor, he had to retrieve his own staff from the garden, where it was serving as the support-pole of a scarecrow. He's known to use magic for trick shots in pool involving time travel.
travel and spatial manipulation that he refers to as 'baize space'.
** In ''The Truth'', Otto uses his vampire power over animals (the one that allows them to command the Children of the Night to make vonderful music) to make a huge crowd of squabbling dogs sit up and howl, so they'll stop blocking his and William's path back to the ''Times'' office.
14th Nov '16 7:37:42 PM PaulA
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Two of the main characters in ''The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch'' by Creator/PhilipKDick are "pre-fash consultants", [[{{Seers}} people with precognitive powers]] employed to find out whether or not various products will become fashionable before they're accepted for production.

to:

* Two of the main characters in ''The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch'' ''Literature/TheThreeStigmataOfPalmerEldritch'' by Creator/PhilipKDick are "pre-fash consultants", [[{{Seers}} people with precognitive powers]] employed to find out whether or not various products will become fashionable before they're accepted for production.
22nd Oct '16 10:55:12 PM JMQwilleran
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* From the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'': When the (financial) going gets tough, [[LaResistance the Varden]] have their mages [[spoiler:use their powers to make valuable lace to sell for funds]], since the only limit on their magic is that it takes the same amount of energy to do something by magic as it does to do it by hand - thus they can make the low-energy lace really ''really'' fast. They consider this beneath their dignity and are horrified when Nasuada orders them to do it.

to:

* From the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'': When the (financial) going gets tough, [[LaResistance the Varden]] have their mages [[spoiler:use their powers to make valuable lace to sell for funds]], since the only limit on their magic is that it takes the same amount of energy to do something by magic as it does to do it by hand - thus they can make the low-energy lace really ''really'' fast. They consider this beneath their dignity and are horrified when Nasuada orders them to do it. Additionally, magic can be used for any number of mundane purposes. One such example is that when Oromis gives Eragon a razor for shaving, it cuts Eragon so badly that he devises a spell for shaving and from then on shaves in that matter. This is something that is explored in some detail, and even commented upon by certain other characters who fear magic and are disturbed by Eragon's unnatural clean-shavedness even at hours of the day when it wouldn't be normal. Whether or not Oromis [[StealthMentor did this on purpose]] to get Eragon to discover the spell is left up to the reader to ponder, though it is indicated that magicians have used such methods with their apprentices in the past. If apprentices didn't tap into their magical power on their own, then the magician would set them some mundane task such as moving a large pile of rocks until they finally grew so frustrated that they unconsciously tapped into their magic for the first time.
18th Aug '16 8:54:37 PM PaulA
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* MilesVorkosigan in ''Komarr'' is given the position of a Barrayaran Imperial Auditor, which means he is above the law and can issue orders to anyone about anything with the Emperor's personal authority, subject to review only by the Emperor himself. At one point he uses this power to bypass paternal consent on a routine medical treatment for his love interest's son. Lampshaded by his comment "Just like swatting flies with a laser cannon. The aim's a bit tricky, but it sure takes care of the flies."
** Ekaterin's own point of view regarding this scene:

to:

* MilesVorkosigan in ''Komarr'' is given ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'':
** In ''Literature/{{Komarr}}'', Miles Vorkosigan holds
the position of a Barrayaran Imperial Auditor, which means he is above the law and can issue orders to anyone about anything with the Emperor's personal authority, subject to review only by the Emperor himself. At one point he uses this power to bypass paternal consent on a routine medical treatment for his love interest's son. Lampshaded by his comment "Just like swatting flies with a laser cannon. The aim's a bit tricky, but it sure takes care of the flies."
**
" Ekaterin's own point of view regarding this scene:



*** Miles also gets one in ''Memory''. He and Simon Illyan aren't having much luck fishing, so Miles messes with his SonicStunner's cartridge so that when he discards it into the water, it creates an explosion of fish.

to:

*** ** Miles also gets one in ''Memory''.''Literature/{{Memory}}''. He and Simon Illyan aren't having much luck fishing, so Miles messes with his SonicStunner's cartridge so that when he discards it into the water, it creates an explosion of fish.
17th Aug '16 9:52:41 PM DanaO
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** On the other hand, several mages in the ''Literature/ElementalMasters'' series use their powers for such things as making sure dinner doesn't burn or the butter churn gets ''completely'' clean. And in the ''Five Hundred Kingdoms'' series, explicitly magical creatures can serve any function they are willing to do, presumably because magic is easier for them.

to:

** On the other hand, several mages in the ''Literature/ElementalMasters'' series use their powers for such things as making sure dinner doesn't burn or the butter churn gets ''completely'' clean. And in the ''Five Hundred Kingdoms'' series, explicitly magical creatures can serve any function they are willing to do, presumably because magic is easier for them. Also from that, unlike Witches/Hedge Wizards (who are supposed to have minimal magic and usually hoard what they can get) and Fairy Godmothers/Warding Wizards (who are supposed to have vast amounts of magic, but need to conserve it when "offstage" as the Tradition forgets they exist when they aren't actively part of a storyline), Sorcerers/esses are ''supposed'' to live in highly magical surroundings; when they make magic a part of their daily lives the Tradition actively subsidizes them and increases their available power. (This isn't usually resented, as the latter under normal circumstances get the most dangerous roles for magic users the Tradition can find for them.)
This list shows the last 10 events of 99. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=MundaneUtility.Literature