History MundaneUtility / Literature

17th Feb '17 6:22:44 AM Kakai
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* ''Literature/TheWitchlands'': Safi uses her LivingLieDetector ability to win at card games well enough that neither she nor her flatmate Iseult need to work to support themselves.
21st Dec '16 10:12:50 AM AnonFangeekGirl
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* In Creator/StephenKing's novel ''Literature/TheTommyknockers'', an alien spacecraft is discovered, and it makes the people near it technical geniuses. The main character uses her new abilities to power up her water heater by creating a small sun in it, making a tractor that can fly, and a typewriter that can read thoughts.

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* In Creator/StephenKing's novel ''Literature/TheTommyknockers'', an alien spacecraft is discovered, and it makes the people near it technical geniuses.geniuses, but it also harms their common sense (to the point where they simply never think of buying an AC/DC converter so they don't have to rely on batteries for their antigravity). Pretty much all they make is this, since [[ReedRichardsIsUseless they never think of higher uses for their power]]. The main character uses her new abilities to power up her water heater by creating a small sun in it, making a tractor that can fly, and a typewriter that can read thoughts. Other townspeople create similar things, like a teleporter used for magic tricks.
18th Dec '16 5:42:18 PM Rhodes7
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* ''Literature/{{Mindwarp}}'': Being about thirteen-year-olds gaining superpowers, everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, finds a way to use them to make life easier. Jack (who speaks all languages) wins money on a TV show showcasing 'weirdities' and makes a fool of his Spanish teacher. It gets pointed out to Todd that school will become amazingly easy, since he can memorize things whether or not he's paying attention, but he's never shown to use it.
6th Dec '16 4:49:33 PM MasterGhandalf
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* 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
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* 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
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** 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.

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

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** 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
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* 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.

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* 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
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** 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.

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** 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.

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** 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.

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** 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.

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** 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
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* 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.

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* 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.
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