Created By: CowsAndBearsYay on October 3, 2011 Last Edited By: Zenoseiya on March 6, 2013
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Theotech Genre

Science fiction subgenre that borrows imagery, if not philosophy, from religion and the occult,

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A Science Fiction subgenre that borrows the aesthetics, symbolism and terminology of religion, the occult, and New Age conspiracy theories. It doesn't serve any purpose aside from Rule of Cool, with little or no relation to actual religion or magic.

The subgenre is particularly popular with anime, manga, Eastern RPG, and the like, probably for much the same reasons as the Creepy Cool Crosses trope exists.

Not to be confused with Cargo Cult or Machine Worship (where the characters are so ignorant that they believe technology is magic and treat it accordingly), Magic from Technology (where technology is disguised as magic), or Magitek (where the "technology" is actually magic that appears outwardly similar to technology).

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the titular mecha are named after Eve from the Bible, and the antagonists are Eldritch Abominations named after angels from Hebrew folklore (but they are not actual angels). Other oddities include a supercomputer named MAGI, an alien artifact named the Lance of Longinus, and the implication that the Bible was actually an alien technical manual (making Christianity in-universe an example of Cargo Cult).
  • Genesis of Aquarion has antagonists called Shadow Angels who live in Atlantis (which is located in Antarctica) and feed captured humans to their "Tree of Life."
  • RahXephon has the lost continent of Mu as the main antagonist, and the titular mecha was an attempt to create an artificial god.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist involves an extradimensional portal known as the Gate of Truth, which is emblazoned with the Arber Sephirotheca and implied to house God itself, though Christianity itself is implied to be a dead religion due to the proliferation of Alchemy allowing anyone to perform seeming miracles.
    • In the 2003 anime adaption, the Gate of Truth is visually changed to resemble the classic sculpture "The Gates of Hell" (which means it is now made of writhing human figures and inhabited by demonic creatures).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • The short story A Word For Heathens by Peter Watts invokes this on purpose. It's set in a theocratic dystopia where the Doom Troops of the Corrupt Church that rules everything have had devices surgically implanted in their brains that cause them to be in a constant state of religious righteousness; in other words, they constantly feel as if they are the hand of God, doing God's will. Since the story is narrated in the first person perspective, everything that happens is described in religious ways, since the main character is in the thrall of artificially-induced religiosity.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • Although the characters had a lot of Greek names, the original Battlestar Galactica borrowed heavily from Mormonism, and some of it thinly veiled, at that (The Mormon God hails from a planet called Kolob, the Colonials originated from a planet called Kobol; the LDS church is presided over by a President and a quorum of 12 Apostles, the Galacticans by a Commander and a quorum of 12 Colonial tribal elders, etc.). Hardly surprising, as series creator Glen Larson is a member of the LDS church and drew on what he knew.
    • The imagery of the reimagined series, however, was far more akin to ancient Greek theology, even showing them having household idols named after the Greek gods and goddesses. In contrast, the Cylons had adopted a mystical, almost Judeo-Christian view of a "one true God." (Well, most of them. Some of them were atheist; the model Ones - the "Cavil" model - especially seemed to lean that way.) Baltar was changed from the Darth Vader expy of the original series to an atheist who became a sort of prophet/messiah, spreading the word of the Cylon God to the humans.
  • Much of the storyline of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was heavily influenced by the religion of the planet Bajor which DS9 orbited. They even considered Commander Sisko to be an emissary of their gods.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
  • Warhammer 40,000 has demons from hell and medieval inquisitors as some of its factions, borrowing heavily from Christian theology (especially Catholicism).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • Xenogears has technology and characters with names like Deus (an artificial god) and Abel (a past life of the main character).
    • Xenosaga follows the same formula, with antagonists called Gnosis (incorporeal creatures that turn their victims into salt) and characters with names like Nephilim (a mysterious girl who characters see in visions) and Albedo (an Artificial Human).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]] [[/folder]]


Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • October 3, 2011
    surgoshan
    • In the Robert Heinlein novella, Methuselah's Children, the Howard families end up on an occupied world. When Lazarus Long asks how the local technology work, his interlocutor replies "The God breathes on it and makes it move." Lazarus reasons he once gave a similar reply to a Venusian about a nuclear rocket. Then the Howards learn that the planet is also occupied by LivingGods.
  • October 3, 2011
    CowsAndBearsYay
    In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have the Eva units, which are derived from Adam and can manifest metaphysical powers. In the End Of Evangelion, the mass production units even reproduce the Sephirot from the Kabbalah. There's also the mecha from Xenogears and Xenosaga, who have a similar purpose and function as the Eva units, but are from the Zohar.

  • October 4, 2011
    Koveras
    Would Final Fantasy XIII count? The Sanctum's APM/Manadrive tech and weaponry presumably comes (like all the other magic in the setting) from the Cocoon l'Cie, Starfish Physical Gods they worship.
  • October 6, 2011
    aurora369
    Warhammer40000, most technology of the Imperium runs on prayers to machine spirits.
  • October 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Inverted in one of Isaac Asimov's Foundation stories, where the locals are taught to work the Foundation's tech as a religion, but it has no actual theological powers.
  • October 7, 2011
    aurora369
    Two words: Cargo cults. Wooden airplanes that are supposed to run on pagan rituals.
  • October 22, 2011
    Zenoseiya
    Theotech is a science fiction subgenre where the aesthetics and terminology are taken directly from the symbolism of religion, the occult, and new age conspiracies. This doesn't appear to serve any purpose aside from Rule Of Cool. Theotech does NOT have any actual relationship with religion or magic, but is Faux Symbolism as applied to Science Fiction.

    Not to be confused with Cargo Cult (where the characters are so ignorant that they believe technology is magic and treat it accordingly) or Magitek (where the "technology" is actually magic that appears outwardly similar to technology).

    Examples:
    • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the titular mecha are named after Eve from the Bible, and the antagonists are Eldritch Abominations named after angels from Hebrew folklore (but they are not actual angels). Other oddities include a supercomputer named MAGI, an alien artifact named the Lance of Longinus, and the implication that the Bible was actually an alien technical manual (making Christianity in-universe an example of Cargo Cult).
    • Xenogears possesses technology and characters with names like Deus and Abel.
      • Xenosaga follows the same formula, with antagonists called Gnosis and characters with names like Nephilim and Albedo.
    • Warhammer40000 has demons from hell and medieval inquisitors as some of its factions.
    • Genesis Of Aquarion has antagonists called Angels who live in Atlantis (which is located in Antarctica) and feed captured humans to the Tree of Life.
    • Rah Xephon has the lost continent of Mu as the main antagonist, and the titular mecha was an attempt to create an artificial god.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist involves an extradimensional portal known as the Gate of Truth, which is emblazoned with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and implied to be the biblical God, though Christianity itself is stated to be a dead religion due to the proliferation of Alchemy allowing anyone to perform seeming "miracles."
      • In the 2003 anime adaption, the Gate of Truth is changed to the Gates of Hell (which is now made of writhing human figures and inhabited by demonic creatures).
  • October 23, 2011
    Tambov333
    Compare Ave Machina.
  • January 3, 2012
    jate88
    Does Crystal Spires And Togas have anything to do with this? What about paranormal stuff such as psychic powers that have a Maybe Magic Maybe Mundane explanation but that doesn't stop the government or some other organization from scientifically studying them or biulding an army of them?
  • January 3, 2012
    Deboss
    You may want to tack a "genre" at the end of the title, just to make sure it doesn't get confused with Magi Tech or something.
  • January 3, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Not sure if this would count, but...

    • The short story "A Word For Heathens", by Peter Watts, invokes this on purpose. It's set in a theocratic dystopia where the Doom Troops of Corrupt Church that rules everything have had devices surgically implanted in their brains that cause them to be in a constant state of religious righteousness; in other words, they constantly feel as if they are the hand of God, doing God's will. Since the story is narrated in the first person perspective, everything that happens is described in religious ways, since the main character is in the thrall of artificially-induced religiosity.
  • January 6, 2012
    JonnyB
    • Although the characters had a lot of Greek names, the original Battlestar Galactica borrowed heavily from Mormonism, and some of it thinly veiled, at that (The Mormon God hails from a planet called Kolob, the Colonials originated from a planet called Kobol; the LDS church is presided over by a President and a quorum of 12 Apostles, the Galacticans by a Commander and a quorum of 12 Colonial tribal elders, etc.). Hardly surprising, as series creator Glen Larson is a member of the LDS church and drew on what he knew.
      • The imagery of the reimagined series, however, was far more akin to ancient Greek theology, even showing them having household idols named after the Greek gods and goddesses. In contrast, the Cylons had adopted a mystical, almost Judeo-Christian view of a "one true God." (Well, most of them. Some of them were atheist; the model Ones - the "Cavil" model - especially seemed to lean that way.) Baltar was changed from the Darth Vader expy of the original series to an atheist who became a sort of prophet/messiah, spreading the word of the Cylon God to the humans.
    • Much of the storyline of Star Trek Deep Space Nine was heavily influenced by the religion of the planet Bajor which DS9 orbited. They even considered Commander Sisko to be an emissary of their gods.
  • January 10, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    A Canticle For Leibowitz?

    ...

    I'm not sure 'genre' is the right word...
  • January 10, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ I am open to suggestions. :)
  • March 6, 2013
    MissKitten
    How about just the title "Theo Tech"?
  • March 6, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Babylon 5 dealt a lot with religious themes, including:
    • G'Kar being elevated to a religious figure among the Narns after writing "the Book of G'Kar" which detailed revelations from his enlightenment
    • The appearance of Vorlons as angelic figures (sometimes) to the younger races
    • The Minbari Religious Caste, the prophet Valen, and their significance in that society and to the ending of the Earth-Minbari War
    • Brother Theo's monastic order on the Babylon 5 station
    • Various scenes of religious ceremonies, human and alien
    • Various allusions to Biblical themes and stories in different episodes, such as "Passing Through Gethsemane"
    • Some discussion and theories of the concept of God as it relates to the universe and sentience
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