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Schizo Tech

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A Tactical Flintlock.
"Those're guns! Whoever heard of guns in a samurai flick!!?"
A movie director, Astro Boy, "The Invisible Giant" note 

The setting and timeline may seem at first to be The Middle Ages, The Colonial Period, or some Fantasy Counterpart Culture thereof, but when you look closer, you find polyester, robots, or other high-tech toys in between the horse-drawn wagons and wattle-and-daub buildings. There's generally no rhyme or reason for which technologies are anachronistically present besides the Rule of Cool. Sometimes these may be leftovers from a lost technological civilization, or perhaps it could be that science developed along a different path than ours, allowing for more advanced technology in one field, while stagnating in others, but most of the time there is no explanation whatsoever for the bizarre mix of medieval and futuristic.

Schizo Tech is a key component of Punk Punk. It's also the foundation for Fantasy Gun Control. Compare Decade Dissonance for when one side has all the cool toys. When a story nominally set in a real-life historical period has this problem, you've got yourself some tasty Anachronism Stew. It may be because an isolated branch of mankind created an Advanced Ancient Acropolis. After the End is normally a good justification of this; often resulting in Scavenger World, especially when you have a faction with Low Culture, High Tech.

When evaluating a candidate for this trope, try not to confuse anachronisms with non-western-isms. For example, a kimono can be just as modern as a three-piece suit, if not more so. Likewise, do not confuse anachronism for cosmetic purposes with anachronism of technological capability. For example, though you will see lots of Zeppelins from Another World at work in Schizo Tech, Airships themselves are not more or less advanced than airplanes or helicopters, just suited to different situations—namely, ones that value endurance, payload and fuel efficiency over speed and maneuverability. Alternatively, a judge wearing an eighteenth century robe and wig while judging cybercrime cases is not schizo tech, but simply a remnant of the Good Old Ways. And again, Tropes Are Still Not Bad. It's also worth noting that in the alternate history of a candidate, the culture and style may simply be different, so while their older architecture may seem to jar with their higher levels of technology, it may be that that style of architecture is just "in" at that time. In dealing with other cultures, also remember that the concept of Technology Levels is flawed, and that real societies are not obliged to all invent the same things in the same order, and may miss some inventions entirely.

Most comic book universes have this trope as a natural consequence: the wondrous science held by the heroes and villains would, if even partially distributed, violate the surprisingly mundane world that divides the superhero genre from outright Speculative Fiction. Examples and subversions are noted below.

This trope has frequently been Truth in Television depending on the circumstances, with historical works involving World War I and other major events that were technological 'kitchen sink' like affairs (with cavalry charges co-existing with airplane bombing runs) one hundred percent qualifying. Beware: Many sci-fi settings that aren't harder than diamond can become this constantly if you think about it too hard.

Compare Adventure-Friendly World, Anachronism Stew, Culture Chop Suey, Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology, Weapons Kitchen Sink, and Fantasy Kitchen Sink. Technology Levels is what this trope averts. As well as Medieval European Fantasy, of course. If the old stuff proves as effective as the new stuff, you've also got an Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age. It may also be the byproduct of a Retro Universe. Contrast Days of Future Past. Not to be confused with tech used by schizophrenics.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 6, planet Guling is entirely prehistoric in nature, complete with a lack of modern technology... save for the presence of Sad S., Sick S., and Oversensitive S., who are all robots like the main characters.

    Comic Books 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift infamously introduced entirely generic-looking modern forklifts that clash rather jarringly with the setting's otherwise Steampunk aesthetic.
  • Comic books seem to be egregious examples of this. Batman's nemesis Mr. Freeze has invented a freeze-ray; Lex Luthor currently waltzes around in a battlesuit full of crazy power and can probably fly; Firestorm can synthesize any material in any quantity (I'm looking at you, lithium); Thanagarian N-th metal is apparently capable of bestowing flight; Black Lightning is capable of generating mounds and mounds of electrical current, and... well, you get the idea. And yet, citizens of Earth are still using gasoline-fuelled cars. This is usually either justified with the technology either being created by super geniuses and only working for them, or being in the domain of only aliens, magic-wielders or the very, very rich/military. Or maybe they just don't trust regular people with these wonderful toys — after all, someone probably could mass-produce cars fueled by the Power Cosmic, but suppose someone back-engineers them into weapons?
  • Batman:
    • Lampshaded in the first Superman/Batman comic. Alfred is guarding the sewer entrance to the Batcave with a shotgun. Superman remarks on it, telling Batman "You didn't have an extra freeze ray gun you could've given him?"
    • Batgirl tried to justify it back when she was the crippled hero Oracle. In theory, she could have the use of her legs back instantly with the tech that the JLA and Batman have available. She refuses to use it, however, until it is available to everyone.
  • Darkseid's world of Apokolips has space ships, teleportation technology, and many advanced weapons, while making the slaves use wooden pulleys, carts, and hand labor to build stone castles. Most likely, this is all intentional.
  • Days of Future Past: At one point in the Sentinel run Bad Future, we see a bus being pulled by horses. It helps indicate that everyone's suffering under their rule, not just Mutants.
  • In Lilith the alterations to the timeline caused by the protagonist's actions eventually start having this effect. Most notably, in the altered timeline Japanese small arms in 1783 were noted to have twice the range of their British equivalents, and a couple pages later it's shown they're breech-loading bolt action guns with rifled barrels, and their munitions are paper cartridges with spitzer bullets.
  • Marvel Comics is guilty of this as well. Stark Industries have technology that really should have revolutionized the world by now, SHIELD have jetpacks and interstellar-capable spaceships (technically, SWORD has the spaceships, but whatever), Charles Xavier has a global surveillance system (mutant only), Henry Pym has his shrinking particles, and of course, Reed Richards Is Useless.
    • This huge waste of world changing technology is noted as one of Pym's "sins" in Paradise X since Pym could have saved many more lives by adapting his technology to industry or health technology rather than using it to beat up criminals.
    • Even before the Civil War, Tony Stark tried letting the U.S. government use some low-powered suits of Powered Armor a few times. Inevitably, the armor ended up getting used for purposes that were evil or stupid and Tony ended up regretting the decision. That said, the U.S. government has Mandroids, note  Sentinels, portable energy weapons and all kinds of other ridiculous tech — none of which they even bother to keep secret! Bizarrely, the general public never seems to question any of this, not even when 50 foot tall killer robots are standing guard at the White House!
    • Latveria is one of the most advanced nations on Earth, but most of the landscape looks quaint and medieval—because Doctor Doom likes the quaint medieval look.
    • Wakanda, home of the Black Panther, goes even beyond Latveria in some versions. Someone might stumble on what looks like a harmless and primitive—at best Bronze Age—African village on the edge of the country and mistake it for an easy target only to discover the apparently decorative stone statues are shooting plasma bolts, armed flying drones are being launched from a wooden hut, and the spears those loincloth-wearing warriors are tossing? Rocket-boosted self-guided smart missiles with high explosive armour-piercing warheads. And in the late 2010s, it turns out that Wakanda has an interstellar empire on top of everything else.
    • Minor villain/heroic ally Arkon and his city Polemachus would count. Arkon is loincloth-wearing, sword-wielding barbarian who rides giant lizards, but carries thunderbolt-shaped energy spears that can open dimensional portals and be hurled for powerful energy bursts. The city he rules, Polemachus, is something out of a Frank Frazetta/Roger Dean album cover with such weirdtech as mind-controlling machines, but they somehow never develop atomic power (Arkon had to kidnap and brainwash Earth scientists to get the secret of developing nukes. The Schizo Tech elements get furthered as Arkon often goes raiding Earth and other dimensions for the opportunity to steal what technology Polemachus doesn't have, and his people have a highly developed use of sorcery and magic besides their own native science.
  • Schizotech shows ups in the comic series Neozoic. The comic is set in a contemporary Earth of an alternate history where the extinction of the dinosaurs never happened. Humans use animal-drawn wagons and large sailboats for travel and trade purposes. They also make extensive use of swords, longbows and crossbows (a heavy rifle does appear, ONCE! And it jammed without firing a single shot too). However they have television and camcorders as well as other electronics. Stockades using electrified fencing have also been shown. The main character of the story also carries a unique wrist-mounted acid sprayer that she uses with devastating effect.
  • Nikolai Dante features this as part of its aesthetic. Swords and axes still have their place on the battlefield alongside highly advanced rifles with Bottomless Magazines, hover tanks, and gargantuan flying palaces bristling with gargantuan fusion cannons.
  • Nävis, the protagonist of the French comic series Sillage, lives in a treehouse inside a sort of biosphere spaceship, presumably because she grew up in a jungle and likes her home feeling close to nature.
  • Lampshaded in Starman, when Jack Knight tells his father that when he invented an unlimited, clean source of power in the 1940s, he should have used it to make cosmic-powered cars instead of flying around fighting crime. Jack's father actually goes on to construct a cosmic power plant big enough to power the entire county, which hasn't been seen since in the DCU.
  • Though Star Wars is already slightly Schizo Tech because of a monastic order of sword-wielding monks in a highly advanced futuristic society, many of the comic books in the Expanded Universe that detail events that take place thousands of years before the movie have people wielding conventional swords and spears and bows and arrows alongside blasters, starships, and laser weaponry, such as the Jedi vs Sith comics having the Battle of Ruusan being fought by Jedi that use lightsabers, blasters, and ships alongside spears, swords, shields, bows, and other medieval-era weapons, while the Sith do the same thing. One Sith Mook in the same comic even uses a slingshot.
  • Superman: Pre-Crisis Krypton had all manner of advanced tech, with the single, sometimes-lampshaded exception of a space program. Krypton only started developing space flight within a single generation before its destruction, and largely abandoned it after a catastrophe destroyed one of their moons (oops! This is what got Jax-Ur exiled to the Phantom Zone). But the reason for this lack of space tech is simple: In Pre-Crisis days, Krypton was freaking huge, with monstrous gravity that any rocket would have to fight. The breakthrough that finally allowed them to have spaceflight at all was Jor-El's invention of antigravity. All this meant that Jor-El was never able to build the evacuation fleet he wanted, and only had one little home-made rocket for baby Kal-El.
    • This mostly just justifies why the Kryptonians didn't travel the galaxy as Supermen once they escaped the light of their red sun. In theory, if they had gotten far enough away, they could simply continue travelling without the need for spaceships.
    • Post-Crisis stories like The Third Kryptonian often explain this as a cultural shift; Kryptonians did at some point attempt to develop space travel, and even had a short-lived intergalactic colonial empire, but abandoned it as the people became more xenophobic. The same was true of on of their colonies, Daxam. In both cases the influence of a device intended to preserve Kryptonian cultural purity messing with their genetics was used to provide an explanation. The reason Jor-El and Zor-El could conceive of a way to leave Krypton was because their house originally built said device and they knew how to undo its effects.
  • The Trigan Empire has supersonic planes, Hover Tank and heat guns (a hybrid projectile/energy weapon) that wouldn't be out of place from Buck Rogers, but due to tradition - the Trigan Empire (which was initially made mostly from the Barbarian Hero Vorg tribe plus refugees of the highly advanced Tharv people) - they also use Ancient Grome technology like horse-drawn carts, cavalry, spatha short swords and spears. While there are other advanced civilizations, there are also people who are at Stone Age tech level and anywhere between.
  • 2000 AD strip Nemesis the Warlock, intergalactic spacecraft, Humongous Mecha and swords and battle axes.
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan and others actually invent a ton of things that change the world. Cars are now electric, eliminating the need for gasoline powered vehicles, and among other things Rorschach's constantly shifting mask is an invention of Dr. Manhattan's designed originally as just an ornate dress.
  • Tech level in White Sand is pretty hard to nail down. On one hand, Darksiders have flintlocks and dynamite, while Daysiders seem to be more on spears-and-swords level of technology - yet there's something akin to a radio or DVD player visible behind Kenton in one panel.
  • In Wonder Woman, Paradise Island is an interesting case. In Pre-Crisis, despite a love of ancient Greek aesthetics, the Amazons had both magic and advanced technology — for instance, they built the Purple Healing Ray and the Invisible Jet. Since they had a magic scrying device that let them observe developments on the outside world at will, and they were a scholarly culture with nothing but time on their hands to invent things, this actually makes perfect sense. However, Post-Crisis, this was deemed confusing, and the Amazons were cast solidly back into the Bronze Age.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey's been going since The '50s and the Korean War, so Beetle and his unit wear Korea-era uniforms, drive Jeeps, and use old-fashioned rifles. In more recent strips, there are computers, microphone headsets, modern-style golf, and other modern technology, but the 50s tech has never gone away.
  • Flash Gordon joyously lives on this trope. Mongo has swords and rayguns and riding beasts and rocket ships and anything that would be cool.

    Fan Works 
  • In Worldwar: War of Equals, Humans are actually surprised that the aliens have tanks, aircraft, and technology that are somewhat weaker than theirs but yet they have starships and have cold sleep tech.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos: Technology is all over the place, depending on the planet and aliens involved. The Demons (minus Astorath and the Nephilim) and Angels are consistently portrayed as Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, but the Jewish forces range from flying pieces of welded scrap with machine guns to secret tech so advanced that it cannot be physically understood. Some races that Sonic and his friends encounter have little to no technology at all, using old wooden sailing ships (the Zeko natives) or straight up satanic Black Magic (the Marmolims). The Muslims may be the king of this trope, combining fanatical spearmen and suicide bombers with golden nuke-flinging battleships and Body Horror-filled genetic engineering. It helps that its a totalitarian theocracy that considers many common pieces of technology to be haraam.
  • Shielded Under The Raptors Wings: The Earth Alliance's case is Lampshaded when a ground battle between EarthForce and the Minbari is shown and the list of human weapons include both 'primitive' but effective firearms and mustard gas and more advanced PPGs, laser cannons to shoot enemy aircrafts and artillery shells out of the sky, and railguns.
  • The Discworld, in the city of Ankh-Morpork as seen by the visiting Californians in crossover fic with The Big Bang Theory, The Many Worlds Interpretation. It has a supercomputer (HEX) way in advance of anything on Earth but no electricity, TV, petrol engines... meanwhile visiting Discworlders in Pasadena/Los Angeles find technological sophistication - but no awareness of magic. The visiting Assassin realises how reliance on machinery to do the work has rendered the people largely less muscular and physically able than on her own world.
  • C'hou is loaded with this in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, as the G'heddi'onians use both magic and technology, and the outworlders have brought in a huge variety of stuff.
    • The four immediately note the wide variety of styles and materials used in clothing stores, and how unlikely it would be for everything to be produced locally. When George asks a salesperson where all the stuff comes from, the woman handwaves it by saying that “The gods lined up various suppliers.”
    • Ringo notes that the civilians of the Guardians-run Central City are essentially peasants who sell heavy ordnance from what look like fruit stands and ox carts.
    • The G'heddi'onians are divided into the urbanized “Urb Geddies” and the Luddite “Nat Geddies,” who eschew both technology and most magic. However, the Urb Geddies use both happily, though at least one (Lotisa) was very startled by John's touch-telepathy because she “grew up with tech.”
  • In Incompatible System, one of the main reasons humanity initially assumed that the Mass Relay had to be meant as a bomb was that any real research into the properties of planium would inevitably lead to WIMP theory, which would both let you realize how horrifically dangerous planium is and let you do anything planium can do (other than make stupidly big explosions) much more effectively and safely. So the only way a species could end up using planium for non-destructive purposes would be if they were given planium-based tech as a Black Box from some other race, and then never did more than the most cursory research into what it was or how it worked.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse):
    • Hector made an electric chair during what appears to be somewhere in the 1300's or earlier, and he also made a foot-powered generator (think a bicycle) to power it.
    • In the same era, Isaac was the proud owner of, and we quote: "anachronistic laser cannon".
    • The Belmont family had arguments over whether or not they should install an elevator in their house during the Renaincance.
  • HZD Terraforming Base-001 Text Communications Network: Discussed. Beta is shocked that Meridian has working elevators when they don't even have electric lights. According to Erend, the elevators are water-powered. Apparently the tribes do have enough working knowledge of electricity to make lights if they wanted, but setting up the infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming when blaze is cheap and plentiful.

    Film — Animated 
  • Dragon Hill is mostly set in a medieval setting, with a character trying to improve technological advance (such as the use of television); in the end, it turns out that dragons have developed a supercomputer.
  • The Emperor's New Groove is largely set in an ancient Incan kingdom, although a floor waxer inexplicably appears for a one-shot gag.
  • How to Train Your Dragon is apparently set in The Low Middle Ages, but due to Serial Escalation more and more advanced tech shows up:
  • My Little Pony: A New Generation: Friendship is Magic tends to rely mainly on the ponies using steampunk or non-electronic technologies. However, the centuries that passed between the series and the movie have seen considerable, but uneven, advances. The biggest business in Maretime Bay is CanterLogic, an electronics company similar to Apple. Meanwhile, giant plasma screens adorn the walls of buildings in Zephyr Heights and nearly every pegasus owns smartphones. However, in Bridlewood, the unicorns still rely on the steampunk hoof-cranked or even literally Hamster-Wheel Power tech.
  • NIMONA (2023): The film's world is initially presented as a classic fairytale kingdom with princesses and knights, but it also has more contemporary and futuristic elements such as lasers, flying vehicles, holographic displays, television sets, and wireless headphones.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: The Mushroom Kingdom has a mishmash of modern plumbing and other conveniences such as electric lighting, plus it has guards carrying pole arms and other relics out of Medieval times. Then there's the weird floating Magitek stuff such as Peach's obstacle course for Mario. Then there's the Kongs' Jungle Kingdom where they have sci-fi muscle cars and other vehicles such as motorbikes, which Peach is an expert at riding.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • Zork contains mostly World War 2ish-era technology that is augmented by magic, some of which uses devices that strike accord with pre-industrial paradigms.

  • Analog: One very representative example is a short story in an issue of Analog, in which the most advanced two species in the universe can use black holes as a source of energy and have more Wave Motion Guns than you can imagine, but are surprised and, for one of the two species (both flew around in gigantic spaceships), destroyed by a lucky shot from a device consisting of a long tube, a titanium coated projectile, and an explosive, i.e., a gun. Apparently, only humans are brutish enough to come up with the idea.

    Music Videos 

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance: Magic can explain its use to some extent, but the setting is somewhat medieval but includes elevators, steam trains, spacecraft, powerful computers, and styrofoam. And despite all that, apparently a safe method of curdling milk to make cheese hasn't been discovered at the beginning of the game.

  • In The Flintstones, not only does Fred invent concrete several million years early, there's the Dictabird, the Bronto Crane, and a push mower with a giant lobster on the front.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The L.O.U.I.S. Wrestling board communicated with partner enterprises like CZW and their own appointed officials like Sozio by telegraph. In 2012, when fax machines, email and cell phones were not only common place, but in most cases much cheaper. When the company itself relied on social networking services like Facebook and video streaming sites like Youtube to promote their product. This mostly went without comment but their first singles champion, Sienna Duvall, didn't even know what a telegraph was.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dino Attack RPG: The entire LEGO Universe. We have knights and pirates shooting crossbows and flintlock pistols alongside astronauts and cyborgs shooting lasers and sonic weapons as all sorts of technology levels coexist in this world. The Space Knights are a specific example, since their entire culture is based on Medieval Stasis enhanced by futuristic technology.

  • BIONICLE has this in spades, as the series revolved around advanced, artificial semi-Mechanical Lifeforms who used to live inside a space-faring giant robot before it crashed on a planet, forcing them to evacuate and live under primitive, tribal conditions in huts and shacks on a tropical island.
    • In its first three sagas, only the six Turaga elders, the translator Matoro and Makuta were aware of their origin. The rest of the islanders, having lost their memories, lived in a world mixing Bamboo Technology with various engines powered by water, steam, crystals or the remnants of forgotten, ancient tech. Nuparu the engineer used advanced power tools to repair things, while combat was done by throwing bamboo disks, rocks or volatile fruit at the enemy. Only by examining and taking apart fully robotic creatures like the Bohrok were they able to invent high-tech Powered Armor, but their battle tactics still boiled down to hitting and punching.
    • In the expanded universe inside the crashed robot, full of futuristic tech, certain places like Zakaz were still stuck in medieval conditions due to constant wars that halted progress. The island Xia meanwhile was a polluted industrial complex despite loads of clean energy being available. While Teleportation and advanced chute systems connecting islands existed, most travel was still done with primitive boats. In the literal capital city Metru Nui (located in the robot's head) large projector screens and all manner of flying or floating craft were commonplace, some people even owned handheld, touch-screen devices, yet carving text into stone was the accepted form of communication and robots were built using clockwork systems.
    • One of the main "rules" introduced by franchise co-creator Bob Thompson was the lack of wheeled craft. Some actual living animals had wheels or tank treads in place of feet and almost every character had some sort of gear mechanism inside, but carts and vehicles all walked on insect-legs. When the ancient guardian Umbra is introduced, with wheels on his feet, other characters are taken aback at the concept of using leg-mounted gears for travel. Later on, Antroz is shown owning a genuine motorcycle with wheels, allegedly the only one in its universe.
    • When doing tasks left by the ancient Great Beings, the Toa Nuva are utterly confused at the strange material their to-do list is written on, which none of them have ever seen before. What is that substance? Paper.
      Pohatu: “Why use this when there are perfectly good rocks everywhere you look?”
    • Long-distance communication devices are practically nonexistent, despite the technological advancement in almost all other areas. Messages between lands are carried by people, flying animals or via a Psychic Link. This leads to situations like Makuta cutting off Metru Nui from the universe simply by blocking seaways or entire lands like Karzahni sinking into legend after people stopped going there. The Pit is a stranger example. It's a top security prison mostly guarded by highly advanced robots, yet when it got breached, its prisoners escaped and its one living jailer got killed during the Great Cataclysm, the place's owners didn't notice this for over a thousand years because no one could contact them.

    Web Animation 
  • Audience! They have a feudalistic monarchy complete with peasants and castles in one location and space traveling robot engineers in the next. Not to mention magic.
  • RWBY: Remnant is a world where fantasy monster-slayers and sword-wielding nobility co-exist with portable music players and tablets with holographic displays. At least one country has developed humanoid combat robots, tiltjet aircraft and a Humongous Mecha. It's mentioned that, even though Remnant's level of technology is far beyond that of our world, they have never developed a space program because Dust doesn't work the moment it leaves the planet, and the people of Remnant have never bothered to look for an alternative fuel source. While they have an Internet on Remnant, it's not based on satellites and instead is based on four massive terrestrial communications towers. This eventually bites everyone in the ass: when one of these towers is knocked out in the finale of Volume 3, the resulting communications blackout combined with the last images being relayed from Vale being those of Beacon's Huntresses inflicting grave harm on their fellows and Atlesian robots attacking innocent people, it's enough to discredit both Beacon and Atlas in one swoop and drive the Kingdoms to the brink of war. Just as Cinder planned. During Volume 7, General James Ironwood comes up with a plan to restore communications and warn the world about Cinder's boss Salem. However, he abandons this plan and turns against the heroes before it can be completed and forces them to finish it in Volume 8.

    Web Comics 
  • Aecast: The setting looks like somewhere in medieval India or the Middle East, yet humanity clearly has access to things like teleporters, holograms, and proximity sensors.
  • Blade of Toshubi: While the setting is mainly feudal Japanese, there have been instances of higher level technology, such as Reiko's training taking place in a chamber with nuclear waste barrels.
  • The world of Blonde Sunrise is a downplayed example. Creston and its surrounding environs have a tech level mostly comparable to the modern day, but they appear to lack computers or the Internet, and melee weapons are used alongside modern firearms by hunters.
  • Bruno the Bandit is set in a basic "middle ages" fantasy setting, but still has vacuum cleaners, television (complete with every TV trope in the book) and cellphones. The author Ian McDonald has said he originally intended the Schizo Tech to be the main source of humour in the comic, but soon realised it couldn't carry jokes by itself and it was left as The Artifact. There are still occasional gags such as their version of Youtube being called "Thoutube".
  • Cucumber Quest: "Well, the people of Dreamside have television, electric lighting and space travel, but they're still fighting with swords. I probably decided on this because I've always liked cartoons and comics that blend old-timey fantasy stuff with modern technology for the sake of humor or whimsy or whatever."
  • Cwynhild's Loom: The small mining settlement of Prosperity resembles a Wild West town in look and feel, however robots, aircraft, high-speed maglev trains and powered land vehicles are all seen.
  • DMFA has everyone using swords yet guns also apparently exist. Modern appliances and things like video games exist but the only known transportation is gryphon drawn carts. Also Giant Robots. Granted most of the tech is credited to be invented by the same character and some, like the guns, aren't in the hands of the general public and magical versions seemed to be the standard until recently
    • Lampshaded by the world description, which states that it's not uncommon for 21st century cities to exist a short walk away from medieval villages in Furrae.
    • With the world dominated by magic creatures with scrying orbs, teleportation, and pocket dimensions; it never occured to Dragon Lord Hizell that Cyra was hiding on a space station.
  • Demon's Mirror has swords, cyborgs, and carriages pulled by robots.
  • Dominic Deegan, set in a medieval-type world of magic, has plenty of modern-day luxuries. Casting a lighting bolt onto a guitar will make it an "electric guitar", a voice-amplifying spell on a crystal turns it into a microphone ... yeah, they had a full-fledged rock concert. They also have newspapers. And comic-book superheroes.
  • In Endstone, Rosie's Beauty Salon and Blacksmith is perhaps the clearest example of how this is a Sword and Sorcery United States of America.
  • The Fourth is mostly a Zelda-esque fantasy world, but the authors are not afraid to throw in a Victorian-era haunted house, or phone when the plot beckons.
  • Gaia: what starts out looking like a standard Renaissance-stasis swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting is soon revealed to have most of the trappings of a modern industrial society, like spiral-bound notebooks, electricity, and modern clothes and fabrics. We later see a Hidden Elf Village that displays a science-fiction level of MagiTek, which may explain why a society that can produce indoor plumbing, fountain pens, light bulbs, zippers and brassieres can't also make firearms, telephones or automobiles.
  • Girl Genius has numerous instances of technological disconnects, mainly because mad scientists have specialized talents and are more inclined to fight each other than to build something profitable. They have autonomous robots with advanced AI but no computers. Airships the size of cities cruise the skies, but no fixed or rotary wing aircraft. Energy weapons abound but no radio or telephonic communications. Probably because lighter-than-air crafts rarely crash on their own. For that matter, instead of parachutes they have "lifegliders"—hang-gliders looking like a bastard child of blimp and bat.
    • Prototypes are more advanced than mass-produced stuff, though. Gilgamesh Wulfenbach actually does invent a gas powered fixed-wing aircraft early in the comic archive (Hilarity Ensues). The chapter is aptly called "The Infamous Falling Machine!". There's a jetpack jetsuit—Mk II, of course ("dangerous, but amusing"). Castle Heterodyne has a holographic map updated in real time. The Master of Paris built a city-wide telepresence system, and keeps the Autonomous Library, based on a scribing engine made by Voltaire.
  • Guilded Age: When the Champions are attacked by the corrupting beast, several of the Peacemakers have just tracked it to them. They find themselves up on a cliff overlooking Penk and Magda's attempts to fight it. Sundar is all for leaving them for it, but everyone else insists on intervening. Even Frigg points out that no one deserves that fate.
  • In Homestuck we see the warring kingdoms, who both have lots of crazy gadgets like flying warships, giant mechas, and high-tech facilities for genetic manipulation. However, right next to a squad of soldiers wielding assault rifles, we see soldiers wielding swords and bows.
    • Doc Scratch uses a typewriter to communicate with the trolls' instant messenger client through a time gap of almost a thousand years.
    • There is also ancient Alternia, which features sailing ships, swords, bows, cybernetics, and interstellar travel. Modern Alternia, meanwhile, has mastered robotics and biotechnology, but has yet to invent the airplane.
  • In Inhuman, the technology level of the planet Hekshano is that of 1970s Earth - but with spaceships.
  • MegaTokyo appears to take place in a normal analog of the modern world. Except when the Tokyo PD breaks out the giant mecha.
  • Sarilho: some people use regular guns and there's these guys with Microwave Guns.
  • The Order of the Stick is set in a Medieval European Fantasy setting much like a typical campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. However, in various strips it has featured coffee machines, indoor plumbing, stethoscopes, bug zappers, cell phones, and even a desktop computer (the last one was admittedly owned by an angel). The Technology Levels appears to be whatever inspires the best jokes.
  • The Tieke from Prophecy of the Circle possess a number of hi-tech devices which were granted to them by a being known as Teyka, along with the means of replicating them. In all other aspects, their own technology is early iron age at best.
  • Questionable Content is set in Present Day western Massachusetts, but features sentient robots sold at retail, various Transformer-style mecha (Vespa-Bot FTW), and a major character spent her childhood on a space station. This seems to go forgotten for large stretches of time.
  • In The Rifters, modern combat fatigues and plate armor are worn by two different main characters, and no one thinks this odd. Then again, the other main characters are wearing modern clothes, a martial arts gi, or no shirt at all.
  • Rusty and Co.: Electric guitars and soda machines accompany your traditional fantasy fare.
  • Sleepless Domain: The City's technology seems to be at an unspecified point behind the real-world present day — they have a tram system but no cars, personal computers don't seem to exist, and characters call each other on corded landline phones. The most advanced technology seen in the setting are the magitek items produced by a magical girl named Techno Blitz with her powers, including a Surveillance Drone and a prosthetic arm.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The After the End setting has this. For starters, the five nations of the Known World have lost their infrastructure to different extents. Mechanical vehicles are still around, but have become very expensive to use and maintain compared to horse-drawn carriages, thus making their use mostly military. Those that do exist are however more advanced than in present times. An Icelandic genetics program intended to boost the country's immunity rate hints that they at the very least have sperm and ovum preservation, as well as artificial insemination equipment up and running. By contrast, a Swedish character, whose country is just getting around having public radio again and has a few trains built specifically to go through Plague Zombie territory, genuinely believed that Finland didn't have electricity at all (they do, "but not very much" according to an actual Finn).
  • Starslip Crisis' Show Within a Show Concrete Jungle (supposedly an accurate portrayal of the early 21st century) has, well, just look at it.
  • Tellurion, for the most part, takes place in something like an Iron-Age Caribbean adventurer's fantasy world. That is, if you look past the fact that the sun and moon are giant mechanical apparatuses, and one of the Heroes is a robot.
  • In TwoKinds, a character orders a pizza. This seemingly innocuous act soon becomes Fridge Logic when one realizes that the setting doesn't have the communications, rapid non-magical transport, or agricultural tech for food delivery, being just into Iron Age. Could just be a throwaway joke by way of anachronism.
  • The medical terminology in Vigil is a couple centuries more advanced than anything else they have. The flintlocks at least are explained by an international ban on all guns.
  • The Clan of the Hawk in The Wandering Ones eschew most forms of technology, preferring to live as part of the land. However, their allies in the Alliance and the Yakama Nation are under no such restrictions, and embrace more advanced technology.
  • The Way of the Metagamer is set in the Medieval time period of Dungeons & Dragons. There are skyscrapers in towns. With elevators.

    Web Original 
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara lives in a typical 21st century home. He also has a Robot Buddy, working tricorders, sonic screwdrivers, cybermats, and power morphers. He also has a spaceship so advanced that sometimes the government asks HIM to check things out. Most of the devices are actually replicas he's made work via magic, while the ship was taken from an interdimensional villain. His other tech is provided by a Mad Scientist version of himself from a Alternate Universe. His trademark weapon, the Magic Gun, takes the cake as it closely resembles a flintlock but fires lasers.
  • C0DA, written by former The Elder Scrolls series writer/designer Michael Kirkbride, takes place in the far distant future of TES universe. To note some instances of the trope:
    "More than half of the people have TELEVISION SETS for heads, and these are chasing the others. The TELEVISION SET HEADS are only unified in their strange, replaced heads; otherwise, they are people from all walks of life: businessmer, construction workers, tourists of all stripes and races, vagrants. The speaking TELEVISION SET HEADS are spaced around the panel, each one chasing an uninfected CITIZEN. Their SPEECH BALLOONS are static-laden and jagged at the edges."
  • Ever After High the setting is fantasy fairy tale world mixed with modern day elements. The school is a huge castle / high school, and uses magic mirrors as TV screens, and students use them as iPads or iPhones.
  • Fire Emblem on Forums has a few examples dotted about the roleplays:
    • Wonderful Blessing: While castles still are the largest buildings and horseback is still a major form of transport, a tram system exists in Ishim, the capital of Midgardia, gacha games exist on the crystal tablets (which operate as a magical equivalent to a smartphone and a television), while firearms are still being created. And that's not even getting into the oddness of Kaisei, which has a culture and aesthetic influenced by a combination of Generia and the half-remembered dreams of Revivians, who are almost exclusively drawn from Otaku from modern Japan.
    • Solrise Academy: While Parvain is mentioned to have tech roughly equivalent to the 1930s, the protagonists still prefer to use swords and bows, with firearms absent from the setting. Cars are mentioned and the characters board a bus to ride into the city, but horses are still heavily used in battle. Justified to some extent, as some areas are very rural, with Mordecai in particular coming from a rural area where most of the urban technological advances are uncommon.
  • The Mercury Men's story is set in the mid-Seventies. But the lighting — and the monsters — looks like The Outer Limits (1963), Edward's and Grace's outfits look Fifties-ish, and Jack's outfit evokes The '30s. And it mixes Dieselpunk, Raygun Gothic, Atomic Punk, horror and other genres seamlessly.
  • Neopets: The world of Neopia is based in a "pre-industrial period", where this trope is dependent on region. There's sticks and stones in Tyrannia, the various Fantasy Counterpart Cultures have the tech level you'd expect, Moltara is Steampunk, while Neopia Central is closest to real life but has nothing like computers, cars, or any sort of electronic technology. And orbiting the planet, there's the Virtupets Space Station and moon colony on Kreludor, although they were created by a scientist from outer space.
  • Though mostly sticking to its mid 17th-century flavor, Open Blue has the occasional incendiary bullet (WWI), Minie-Ball (19th century), and swords coated with diamond (???) to make cutting easier. This of course, does not count the myriad of weird things left behind by the precursors.
  • Ryan George's "The First Guy to Ever" videos take place in a world where many modern things exist, but other things both new and ancient are being created for the first time. For example, in this video restaurants (albeit by the name "food place" as a result of having been invented in a previous video) and Yelp are both established, but eating eggs is a new idea.
  • Vaguely Recalling JoJo:
    • Jonathan uses a laser blaster (Metal Silver Overdrive) during the 19th century.
    • Straizo uses a pineapple grenade as an attack.
    • Kakyoin carries around a PSP and DS during the 1980s. They both break.
    • Cursed Devo uses a clamshell phone during the 1980s.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Technology Kitchen Sink, Eclectech, Anachronistech


Concept of a Hot Air Balloon

Tanks, Jet Skis, and Gigantic Friggin Drills abound. But no Hot Air Balloons?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / SchizoTech

Media sources: