Main Bamboo Technology Discussion

collapse/expand topics
05:08:33 PM Jan 9th 2015
edited by Khurzog
As to the War Hammer40k Orks' Bamboo Tech, a friend explained it to me thusly (I'm paraphrasing from shaky, spotty, incomplete memory):

Their tech operates partly on belief. If you were to give them an empty suitcase, and convinced them that it's a Doomsday Device, they'd believe you. When they attempt to activate it, and find that it's NOT in fact Made of Explodium, once they'd opened it up, they'd be like "Well, no wonder it didn't blow up, there's no detonator, no explosives, no nuclear reactor/heavy fissionables, no Big Red Button!", etc., but each discovery of what's missing would be its own step of "Why didn't it blow up?", opening it up, & then "Well, no wonder!..." Then, they'd promptly rectify such oversights, thereby turning an ordinary empy suitcase into a doomsday device because they believe it to be one.

Admittedly, it was a whole heck of a lot funnier the way he told it, when he told it.
12:10:37 AM Mar 16th 2014
Most examples in real life are of modern electronics with a bamboo trim/case/etc I think these are not actual examples of the trope
02:39:18 AM Mar 16th 2014
Yeah, taking trope names literally is a common problem on this wiki. I am not sure if these are misuse - might want to bring it up here.
08:39:08 PM Dec 11th 2011
No mention of minecraft? Surely it has something that falls under this trope.
09:16:50 PM Aug 30th 2011
As written, there's no way to know how this is an example. Since it's real world it is essentially impossible to be an example because the trope is technology that works despite being crudely made of (comically, absurdly, in real-life, nonfunctional) low-tech components.

     Professional Wrestling  

  • The Punjabi Prison match between Batista and the Big Show. If that isn't bamboo technology I don't know what is.

09:14:38 PM Aug 30th 2011
Not an example. Bamboo furniture is just fine and dandy regular low-tech stuff.

09:13:36 PM Aug 30th 2011
edited by Camacan
Apart from the natter and Example Indentation problems, not an example. If gods or other magic get involved then all bets are off. This trope is for technology that somehow works despite being made of bamboo and the like.

  • Touhou:
    • While not technology, the inhabitants of Gensokyo constructed a moon rocket to visit the Lunar Capital in the Silent Sinner in Blue official manga. It had normal windows that could be opened from the inside while in-flight, a chimney, artificial gravity and air, somehow, and was constructed mostly of wood.
    • Wild and Horned Hermit features a bamboo not-quite-technology cold-fusion reactor.
    • To be fair, both these examples only work because they run on gods.
      • Not to mention that the cold fusion reactor was only built because there were problems with the previosu attempt at nuclear fusion, which also involved a god.' Specifically, feeding a dead sun god to a hell raven - who is very much the Hell of Blazing Fire's counterpart to a certain ice fairy...
08:16:50 PM Aug 30th 2011
edited by Camacan
These are not examples. This trope is not primitive tools being used to make slightly less primitive tools an so on until sophisticated tools are made. That's the opposite of the trope. This trope is missing all those steps and going directly from the basics to stuff that by rights needs a whole technological civilization: carving a supercomputer from whalebone, flying a a jet made from wood fueled with palm oil, built without access to so much as a lathe.

  • One of the many Dragonlance books had an exiled dwarf happy he found a bunch of metal scrap. Granted, he couldn't build anything important with it. But he could build the tools which would then allow him to build important stuff.
    "There is only one thing you can forge without a hammer - a hammer itself. Of course, it would be very crude hammer, but with it, you could make a somewhat better one. And with it, you could make one even better, unless you have a good hammer. And with good hammer, you can make a good sword..."
  • Discworld: All a dwarf needs is fire and metal. Then he can make simple tools. And with simple tools he can make complex tools, and with complex tools a dwarf can make anything.
01:50:58 PM Jan 28th 2011
Would an ornithopter qualify? An ornithopter, by the way, is a flying machine that uses flapping wings to fly. Technically, getting one of these to work in real life would be impossible. So if someone were to actually fly using an ornithopter, would that be bamboo technology?
08:11:48 PM Aug 30th 2011
Depends. If high-tech materials and mechanisms were used, no. If bamboo and string were used, possibly. The trope is all about what is used to build the machine, not the strict practicality of the machine itself: that can vary from work to work without regard to this trope.
02:13:43 AM Apr 1st 2010
I removed this Philip Josť Farmer example. There is no inexplicable technology in the series based on bamboo and the like — as the comments indicated the non-stone-aged tech only occurs where metal is available, it's a big plot point.

  • The Riverworld novels by Philip Jose Farmer. The entire human race is resurrected on the banks of a twenty-million-mile-long river with no tools except what they can cobble out of bamboo and fish (and the occasional human corpse). They end up making large boats, balloons, and almost-industrial societies.
    • It has to be admitted, though, that the powers that be provide the resurrectees not only with food but also occasional other amenities, such as razors, cloth, soap and whatnot. The only thing definitely lacking on Riverworld is metal.
      • Book 2 of the series introduces this metal in the form of an asteroid and the conflicts that arise when various factions realize what they can do with it.
09:24:01 PM Aug 30th 2011
edited by Camacan
Yep. The book is extremely careful with its realism. The process of getting from bamboo to the riverboat is gradual and difficult — and the end result is hardly an example of Bamboo Technology: it's a metal ship with electric motors. Even the fighter planes are not examples: think WWII spitfires (metal engines.) If a plane looked like a flying bamboo chair with palm-leaves as the propeller that would be an example.