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Space Amish

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No machines are permitted on the Amish Homeworld.

"[He was] Techno Amish. They use machinery and operating systems up to Windows XP. [...] When you have airlocks to maintain and the atmosphere of a planet will kill you, it changes what you need for a simple life."
Winston Scudder Thurmad, about his father Gregor Mendel Thurmad, Freefall

A Sub-Trope of Space Romans, Space Amish are another Fantasy Counterpart Culture space. Like their namesakes, the Amish (found mainly in the midwestern United States and parts of the Canadian prairies) and the closely related Mennonites, who voluntarily eschew most forms of modern technological conveniences, Space Amish are an offshoot of a technologically advanced race who have rejected most forms of advanced tech in favor of an agricultural life.

Space Amish have generally found themselves a nice pastoral Arcadia somewhere and settled down in pursuit of a simple life. They're usually isolated and are quite likely to be a Lost Colony. Space Amish are defined by having very limited or primitive technology in explicit contrast with the extensive technology of the universe around it, though just how limited or primitive their technology is can vary widely.

Often, the settlers will actually have knowledge of, or even be highly skilled with, the same level of technology as everyone else; they simply choose not to exercise it (whilst never actually losing that knowledge). The settlement also enjoys a surpassing level of peace, with the implication — rarely stated outright — that the lack of technology is the actual source of the peace. In other words, Science Is Bad. For this reason, it can also be called a "Luddite Utopia".

As with any utopia, there's usually a catch to Luddite Utopia: for example, upon arrival, it may be impossible for visitors to ever leave. Or, if it's a Cult Colony, you may have to convert to the local religion — which tends to be strict if not joyless. Or human culture may be stagnant. Or you may have to share your body with parasitic alien spores. Or you have to actually put in an honest day's work for your supper. Or your descendants may discover that others have it easier and regret the settlers' unilateral decision.

Space Amish settlements might have a Superweapon Surprise in store for invaders — because, really, who better to guard the Lost Superweapon than people who reject technology and don't want to conquer anybody? Even if they don't, though, wider galactic society is usually not interested in crushing Space Amish communities: they tend to be too poor and too boring to be worth conquering. Only the evillest of despots try it.

Compare with:

  • Lost Colony: Space Amish voluntarily eschew technology, while Lost Colonies tend to have simply fallen behind galactic state-of-the-art due to crash landing on a planet or because they are out of contact with Earth. Space Amish and Lost Colony can, of course, overlap; in fact, it's fairly common.
  • Cult Colony: The rejection of technology may be based in a strict religious ideal, in which case, this trope may overlap with a cult colony.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Space Amish usually just stay out of society's way rather than actively rejecting it, and most are not actively hostile to outsiders. Still, it's a small step for a Space Amish community to become a Hidden Elf Village.
  • Pastoral Science Fiction: Science fiction set in rural or natural areas.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: A group of people who insist on non-violence.

Contrast with:

  • Space Elves: Another Closer to Earth space society, but Space Elves are almost always aliens, while Space Amish almost never are, and Space Elf technology tends to be quite advanced, albeit developed along different lines relative to human technology.
  • Space Cossacks: While Space Cossacks are also a Fantasy Counterpart Culture and rebels and/or dropouts from mainstream galactic society, they tend to be technology-neutral if not pro-technology, and they are definitely not pacifists.
  • Space Jews: An alien culture built on a much less sympathetic stereotype of an Earth culture.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: When a civilization appears to be like this, but actually isn't.


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  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ has the Moon-Moon colony which was cut off from the rest of space during the war from the previous series (less than ten years before!) where most people have forgotten how to use technology & believe that mobile suits are gods.
  • Last Exile is set on a world with an approximate 18th-19th century level of technology. There are occasional glitches and suspicions of Schizo Tech, like using steam-powered guns (which are, reasonably, much worse than gunpowdered ones), fashions ranging from Baroque to 1930s styles, or the anti-gravity engines used in their planes/blimps. Which appear to be powered by antimatter. That washes ashore. As it turns out, there are reasons for this: Ship-to-ship combat is judged by a Guild that maintains ships several tech levels higher than the rest of the planet — using laser cannon, no less — and provide most of the anachronistic technology used in the series. It later turns out that the entire planet is an artifact, an hourglass-shaped construct where they live on the inside; the sun and stars are fake, and in the middle of the connecting throat (the "Grand Stream") lies the kilometer-sized ship that was used to create it, the titular Exile. Whether it was the original intention or the result of their later civil war, the Guild exists to monitor and maintain the planet (they've been doing a bad job, lately) and, notably, keep the rest of the inhabitants' tech level down. Since said Guild is destroyed in the final episode, things should get interesting in the future.

    Comic Books 
  • There are several instances of this in The DCU, interestingly involving Kryptonians.
    • The Kryptonians themselves, while a highly advanced civilization technologically, had a very closed culture, to the point of having built a device, the Eradicator, to assist in keeping them cut off from the rest of the universe, even introducing genetic modifications to make life offworld nearly impossible.
    • While they have and use advanced technology, the Daxamites are very isolationist to the point of xenophobia and have strong cultural taboos against certain technologies, such as anything related to space travel.
    • In the Threeboot continuity of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the enlarged Kandor is like this in that the entire place is essentially under self-imposed quarantine to preserve the last remnants of Kryptonian culture. No one's allowed to leave because if they found a world with a yellow sun, they'd become super and never come back; no one's allowed in because the entire rest of the universe knows this and doesn't exactly think that first part is a good idea.
  • Smiley's World in Strontium Dog — while advanced technology is present, the planet is so remote that obtaining it is expensive, so people outside the large cities live a mostly agrarian lifestyle. While it isn't entirely without problems, it's one of the better planets in the galaxy.
  • The forest-dwelling Primmies (Primitives) in Doug Moench's 1980s comic Electric Warrior have chosen to flee the cities not just to get back to nature, but because the cities in that world are class warfare nightmares where the slum dwellers live like vermin.
  • The National Lampoon had "Amish in Space", a comic-book format story by Brian McConnachie — a typical midwestern rural Amish family floats around in a sci-fi rocket ship, displaying the stoic purposeful behaviour of their kind. It's as pointlessly absurd as it sounds.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek: Insurrection portrays the Ba'ku, inhabitants of a world whose radiation keeps them forever young. They claim to be capable of producing and using warp technology, but they don't bother with it.
  • The planet Akir in Battle Beyond the Stars verges on this, although it appears to be mostly because they're really, really poor rather than any particular desire to live the simple, agrarian life. They seem perfectly comfortable about the one spaceship they do have, and the other spacecraft and aliens who come to their aid.
  • The people in The Green Beautiful (French: La Belle Verte) are an advanced race capable of instantaneous space travel who live in rural happy communities on their home planet.

  • In the Chaos Walking series, the trope is attempted but failed by the first settlers. They get rid of most of their technology but absolutely fail the peaceful part.
  • In Speaker for the Dead (and its sequels, to a lesser degree), there are references to planets in the high-tech space empire that engage in pretty primitive activities, such as whaling, but it seems to be more because these are pioneer/frontier areas that do use some technology and continue developing while taking advantage of their raw natural resources.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Partial example: Grayson was founded as this type of colony. However, by the time of the books, the people had decided that technology was a good thing, and desired current tech. Trying to colonize a planet with an environment so toxic that breathing the air suffices to poison unmodified humans and having to build farms in orbit to grow food that won't slowly poison you will do that.
    • At one point in its history, Grayson had a civil war brought about by zealots who thought the main government wasn't eschewing technology enough. The zealots lost the war and were exiled to the neighboring star system of Masada, which at the time of the books is even more primitive than Grayson.
    • The planet Refuge in the short story "In the Service of the Sword", set in the same universe, played it much straighter. Due to low-tech of its inhabitants, this star system was used as a staging base by the Space Pirates.
  • In Safehold, the star-going empire of humanity is attacked by a race of Absolute Xenophobe aliens and would have been doomed had they not managed to hide one colony ship from the aliens. The original mission plan is for the colony to stay low-tech for a few hundred years to avoid detection by the aliens, but the people put in charge of the colony are megalomaniac Luddites who start a religion in an attempt to keep the colony low-tech forever (as well as making themselves into "Archangels").
  • Anne McCaffrey:
    • In Dragonriders of Pern, Pern was originally founded as this type of colony; this led to complications during the first Pass of Thread attacking the planet, and eventually led to an even more primitive culture than the colonists had planned. Pern is also a Lost Colony, though there's a strong implication that the parent society wouldn't care anyway — space travel is slower than light in that universe, and folks expect to leave the planet of their birth behind forever when they leave on a colonization trip.
    • One short story establishes Pern as existing in the same setting as The Ship Who..., which has developed Faster-Than-Light Travel since the colonization of Pern. However, an early exploratory mission landed there after the Southern continent was abandoned and found only a single family living there, who claimed all the settlers were dead. This led to Pern being marked as extremely dangerous and the rest of the universe simply steering clear.
  • In Darkover, the human colonists on the titular planet have developed a feudal culture and general level of technology. The aristocracy has and uses psionics and "matrix technology", which can do things that even the advanced technology of space-faring humans can't duplicate. But use of these is highly limited, and the Darkovans have a strong cultural resistance to Terran attempts to introduce regular technology into their society. It was initially patterned as a fantasy series, being revealed later in the series as a Lost Colony of spacefaring Earth at roughly the same time as it became a Found Colony.
  • The Stars My Destination has a colony of asteroid-dwellers who have customs reminiscent of a stereotyped isolated tribe (including rapid arranged marriage, initiation rites and facial tattooing). However, they're called the "Scientific People" (they're the descendants/remnants of a stranded scientific expedition who have undergone a "nativeless" version of Going Native). They're gentle and welcoming, but they don't want you to leave.
  • The Golden Globe from the Eight Worlds series includes genuine Amish living on the moon. They are just like the real Amish in that they are they are neither ignorant of nor resistant to the modern world surrounding them, they're just very particular about which aspects of that world they choose to accept.
  • Slow Train to Arcturus by Eric Flint and Dave Freer is a Deconstruction of many of these ideas. The Government specifically wanted to get rid of weirdos and unpopular cultures. The ship is one long string of artificial environments, with all of them breaking apart in a way the other cultures can help fix. There's the new Aryan Brotherhood (who pretty much kill themselves off after using too much boom), New Eden (Amish whose world was built to be very robust but ultimately needs repairs), the Republic of Diana (Dominatrices who genetically engineered men to be 90-pound weaklings and have a very good biology department but whose übertech has been breaking down), Space Indians (they lampshade that it may have been an act by conman for hundreds of years and who understand computers better than all other groups but don't have a biome suitable for farming) and Daredevil fliers (who love flying with their own cybernetic wings and developed a government based on who wins the speed matches, but whose ecosystem is breaking down), and finally, the ruling caste of the DPRK.
  • Peter F. Hamilton has used this trope a few times.
    • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, Norfolk is one of the more pastoral planets, with legal limits on technological imports. Although it's not entirely backwards, as a power grid and transportation network do exist.
    • In Fallen Dragon, the Wilfrien are an advanced alien race who chose to "look inward" once they knew all there was to know about the universe. This translates into living simple pastoral lives among the decaying ruins of their cities.
    • In the Commonwealth Saga, the race that created the Dyson sphere confining the Primes split into those who used their incredibly advanced technology to transcend physical existence, and those who chose to remain behind on their homeworld and live simple lives.
    • Also in the Commonwealth Saga, the inhabitants of Huxley's Haven have essentially paused their society at about a late 20th century level of tech (plus a wormhole connection to the rest of humanity which doesn't really get used very much).
  • The Last Colony has Space Mennonites mixed in with the rest of the Roanoke colonists. They are willing to use technology up to internal combustion, but not electronics, which is important as the colony can't use electronics or risk detection by the Conclave.
  • Deconstructed in Schismatrix. Earth chose this route and is portrayed as a horrible Crapsack World for the half-chapter that it appears.
  • In the futurist book 2081, a non-fiction text with an incorporated fiction thread, residents in the fictional narrator's colony have opted not to use much technology more complicated than a bicycle in their daily lives, despite living inside an immense space station. In-character, this is to ensure that they can be self-sufficient far from the Earth; out of character, it gives the author a protagonist who can be as surprised/impressed as the reader, when he visits Earth and sees its advanced devices for the first time.
  • In the Revelation Space Series, the technological progress on Sky's Edge is centuries behind as a result of constant warfare; when a trading vessel enters the system, the planet's inhabitants only buy weapons.
  • In Uglies, there is a tribe that was being kept in Stone Age technology for research, complete with blood feuds and lifespans of forty years.
  • In the Green-Sky Trilogy, there is very little in the way of technological advancement, at least among the Kindar. Partly justified in that the Kindar are somewhat limited by not having fire (reasonably enough, for a tree-dwelling society) and being forbidden from using metals, glass, and other material from the forest floor or underground. Their social order isn't really encouraging of innovation, either, although Genaa's father is known for developing new technology including "an efficient new sanitation system". That must have been a relief. Green-Sky also lacks warfare and crime, which leaves out many technological developments that started from making better and nastier ways to hurt and kill people.
  • In A World Out of Time, the far-future immortal Boys spend the Antarctic summer living as nomadic Stone Age hunters but return to their high-tech cities during the unending darkness of the polar winter.
  • Allen Kim Lang's "Blind Man's Lantern" is about an Amish couple who, faced with a lack of available land on future Earth, emigrate to a low-tech planet called Murna whose original settlers, curiously enough, were apostates from Islam.
  • Subverted in The Quantum Thief. The purported low-tech barbarians of Oort and the embracers of outdated flesh and blood on Mars all use technology that is incredibly advanced from the modern perspective and count as Transhuman to one extent or another. Just because these people embrace the ways of the past doesn't mean it's past from the readers' perspective.
  • Deconstructed in Mike Resnick's novel/short story collection Kirinyaga — an attempt to preserve the traditional pre-colonial Kikuyu ways of life on a terraformed planetoid ultimately fails.
  • The second Uplift trilogy focuses on Jijo, an isolated planet illegally colonized by at least six separate species who all had their own reasons for wanting to leave Galactic society, a number of them even seeking to revert to their pre-Uplift state of sentience. They all essentially operate on Bamboo Technology, which turns out to include rockets.
  • The Keepers from Last Sacrifice live in secluded, old-fashioned areas and consider the rest of Moroi and dhampirs to be "Tainted" for accepting the modern world. Somewhat subverted in that they have no problem with technology, as they drive cars. They have a problem with the modern political system in effect in the Moroi world.
  • The eponymous planet in the Majipoor Series is very poor in metals. Its inhabitants do remember their ancestors came from the stars, they do know of other worlds, even travellers from other stars appear occasionally, but in general there's no outside contacts. All advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (and some is even called that) and most of it involves Psychic Powers. Save for vibroblades, electronic books and engines maintaining atmosphere atop the Castle Mount (normally exposed to space vacuum) the tech is more or less medieval. And despite all Majipoor's troubles and hostilities, there's been no homicide for millennia, at least by the start of Lord Valentine's Castle.
  • The premise of Alien in a Small Town is that hundreds of years from now, the Pennsylvania Dutch will continue living much as they do now, even as the rest of the world changes enormously.
  • The Culture provides an interesting example. In this universe, once civilizations reach a certain level of technological and social advancement, it is normal for them to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and stop interfering with events in the physical world. The Culture is considered backwards (and frankly rather childish) for refusing to do so despite having long passed the point where they could have. This makes for an odd case where the Space Amish are actually by far the most advanced civilization active in their galaxy.
  • Refugees: There is a debate over whether the new arrivals to the compound on the new planet should be allowed to use technology; strict limits are placed on it. Those who have been living on the planet for a long time see no need for technology.
  • In Always Coming Home, the Kesh people have access to all of mankind's knowledge and are sharing Earth with A.I.s. However, they are an agricultural and foraging society, and are only using technology on a level they can easily maintain (which includes solar batteries, a steam train and some looms).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Invasion of Time" has the Outsiders, a group of Gallifreyans who live outside the cities on Gallifrey. They don't use technology more advanced than a bow and arrow, despite their race having access to time machines.
    • "Hell Bent" includes a village of apparently literal Space Amish just outside the capitol who the Doctor stays with for a while.
  • Used a number of times in the Star Trek franchise:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In "This Side of Paradise", Colonists on a new planet who are expected to be found dead by the Enterprise crew are found alive. They have abandoned their original plans to be space Amish. Except for Captain Kirk, the Enterprise crew abandons their ship and duty in favor of this way of life. Both groups do this due to the influence of euphoria-inducing alien spores.
      • "Errand of Mercy" features an alien society which has thrived for eons without technological advancement... although they really don't need to use technology. They are, after all, Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
      • "The Way to Eden" features a group seeking a world where they can set up such a society. In the end, it doesn't work out (both because the planet they've chosen is uninhabitable, and because their leader is a nut), but it's interesting that out of the whole crew, the one who is most sympathetic to their goal is Spock.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "Up the Long Ladder", "Devil's Due" and "Journey's End" all feature these.
    • "Paradise" provides Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's trademark Darker and Edgier take on the trope when two officers returning from a mission beam down to investigate an old, automated distress call and end up forbidden to use any of their technology to try and return home by the colony's leader, which operates like this. She's eventually revealed to have sabotaged all technology to keep everyone there.
    • In the Star Trek: Discovery episode "New Eden", Lieutenant Owosekun is sent on the mission to the Lost Colony of Terralysium, given her background growing up in a Luddite collective on Earth.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Nox at first seemed like a Hunter-Gatherer (minus the hunting) society who knew special, almost magical stealth and regeneration techniques; the Twist Ending was that they had higher technology than even the Goa'uld, but chose to live very close to nature... and look down on anyone who practiced any kind of violence, even in self-defense, without sharing their defense technology that makes such violence unnecessary for them.
    • In another episode, SG-1 comes across what seems like a stagnated agricultural world that remained primitive and agrarian despite connections to a more advanced race, the more advanced race actually nerfed what was once a thriving industrial community through sterilization
  • In Stargate Atlantis, the Genii have to pretend to be a lot less advanced than they actually are, because the Wraith would pulverize them should they show any signs of being technologically advanced. Now, if only people would learn to keep their secret underground hatches locked...
  • Firefly:
    • This is a fair description of the Rim worlds, though most aren't this way by choice. There was also a colony of religious fanatics, who shunned technology.
    • There was also a world that was forced to live like the American old west because the colony's resident mega-wealthy civic leader would rather live out his cowboy fantasies than invest anything in developing the economy or improving the local quality of life (although he, hypocritically, had a personal hovercraft and the only personal laser pistol seen on the show).
  • Andromeda: On two separate occasions, the crew of the Andromeda run into cultures who refuse to resort to violence, even when the alternative is being wiped out.
  • In The Starlost, hundreds of domed biomes on a slower-than-light colony ship have had most of their connections cut. The heroes are from a Biome of Space Amish whose biome is breaking down due to the entire spaceships malfunctioning.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) ends with the surviving colonists deciding that technology wasn't worth the downsides, and they settled as Space Amish.
  • Crichton crash-lands on a world of these in Farscape's first season, with the twist that they weren't necessarily agrarian by choice — it was the result of a Hynerian ruler wanting to get their ancestors out of the way, so he shipped them to a planet and had some anti-tech installed in a shrine.
  • In Killjoys, Zeph is revealed to be from one of these societies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The BattleTech universe features the periphery government of the Outworlds Alliance. It's composed almost entirely of agrarian worlds with pre-industrial technology, save for a few cities each - with the exception of Home, an Amish planet that pretty much only allows tech for space travel - and they're quite happy that way. Curiously, they also field the most fearsome aerospace fighter pilots known to mankind, who are really the only things keeping unpleasant conquerors and pirates from setting foot on vulnerable Alliance worlds. To make things even stranger, they eventually merge with a Clan, one of the setting's resident, highly technologically advanced, Proud Warrior Race Guy factions. It works out surprisingly well, since the Clan in question is the Snow Ravens, who disdain land-based military forces in favor of overwhelming air and space superiority and thus respect the OA's ASF pilots while ignoring the planets aside from a few small holdings they establish.
  • The Hatire Community from Star*Drive is a quasi-example of this trope. While okay with most technology, they prohibit non-essential cybernetics and generally favor a simpler lifestyle. Granted, Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, but only if you abuse it. Strictly speaking the Hatires have a stronger rejection of technology within their faith, but the core principle would be 'technology to the degree that it is necessary' — and the Hatires are very aware that if they don't keep up with the other interstellar governments and compromise on some points, they're going to lose ground, let alone spread the Hatire faith.
  • Traveller, having a big map of highly varied (but often classic-SF-influenced) worlds, inevitably invokes this trope from time to time. For example, Scipio, on the Solomani Rim, was settled by a faction of Terran humans who believe that ever going into space was a mistake, and who deliberately restrict their technology to pre-space flight levels.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Imperium of Man has "feral worlds" and "medieval worlds", often intentionally kept in Medieval Stasis or even Stone Age Stasis, the reasoning being that people from such harsh worlds make better soldiers.
    • There are also the Exodites, Eldar who left their empire before its fall due to their disgust at its decadence. They still have considerable technology, but at this point, even the Imperium would have grounds to call them low tech, although many of them also have stockpiles of the good stuff they don't use except in cases of emergency. They also have dinosaurs to ride.
    • Orks can potentially hit this trope as well. Due to their reproduction by spores, they will keep popping up on any world invaded by them even if they are defeated. As long as they are only present in small numbers, they will usually be limited to very primitive technology; basically just pointy sticks. It's only once they reach a certain critical mass that Mekboyz will start appearing and building more advanced technology.

    Video Games 
  • Hat Kid's spaceship from A Hat in Time has shades of this, being made primarily out of "Space-Resistant Wood". In fact, she calls a diary containing a typical frisbee UFO a "mockery", pointing out that it couldn't be a spaceship as it lacks wood.
  • Chozo settlements from Metroid (or at least what's left) are (were) built to be as close to the environment around them as possible, and as a result look a lot further down the tech level scale than you would expect. The Chozo, remember, built Samus's incredible Powered Armor, as well as the machines that recharge it, and were able to alter her DNA during her childhood. They're Space Amish by Choice.
    • It could be argued that their technology IS highly advanced, but very subtle and unobtrusive to the surroundings as possible. They didn't go low tech, they just designed their tech to not affect the natural surroundings much.
    • In Metroid Prime, lore scans make it clear that the Tallon IV Chozo settlement, at least, did abandon most of their technology to get closer to nature. It worked, too, as they became Sufficiently Advanced Aliens before being yanked back to the planet when the Phazon meteor impacted. Of course, this is still relative; a few of the rooms and corridors of the Chozo Ruins are very technological indeed.
  • In the Wing Commander universe, specifically the game Privateer (and its add-on Righteous Fire), the group "The Church of Man" (usually referred to as "Retros" by just about everyone else) is arguably a rather militant variety of Space Amish, with their goal to destroy modern civilization to bring in a more "simple" time. Being Wing Commander, this means they fly spaceships, which your job as the main character is often to blow up. Being zealots, anything that advances their goals is acceptable, even if it includes using stolen alien technology to upgrade the weaponry on their spacecraft, some of which were gotten from the Kilrathi.
  • Tazmily Village in Mother 3, though it's also the only settlement left on Earth.
  • Vega Strike has Purists — a legitimate faction whose ideal is "humanity free of changes to the species". That is, they're happy to get a new ship or other toys, but don't like unnecessary cyborgization and genetical meddling. Which one more reason of cool internal relations in Confederation, given that half of human factions are Transhumans. Their ships tend toward "large, armored brick with heavy guns and thrusters bolted on".
    • There's also a splinter group not unlike Wing Commander Retros — "Interstellar Church of True Form's Return", whom almost everyone else hates and calls "Luddites", though they are warlike about the changed ways of life rather than technology as such. The only faction they're friendly to are Purists, who in turn barely tolerate these jerks. On the other hand, Confed Homeland Security who crack down on Luddites like 360 tons of steel is staffed primarily with Purists too.
  • The D'ni, primary race of the Myst series, are the descendants of the Ronay, who fled to a new world when their home was dying. Most went to a huge and lush paradise of a place, but a steadfast few saw issue with the decadence of their culture and went instead to a cavern complex Beneath the Earth, therein to live in relative simplicity. They've since developed digging and excavating tools the equal of anything made by humans, reactors that can rearrange the atomic structure of rock to form a substance stronger than steel, and retained the Ronay technology to travel to any world in the multiverse simply by describing it clearly in a book. These power might not seem befitting to a simple folk, unless you compare them to the indolent and egotistical culture that the rest of their kind became.
  • Starbound: The Glitch, a race of semi-sentient robots with the occasional self-aware individual, were supposed to progress beyond the medieval age, being experiments placed by Abusive Precursors to see how spacefaring cultures develop. A glitch, as the name indicates, caused them to get stuck around this era, and anyone who tries to make any progress, and/or is self-aware, is branded a heretic and burned at the stake unless they escape.
  • In Stellaris:
    • There's not just one, but two preset empires based around this trope, the Maweer Caretakers and the Sathyrelian Bliss. Both are generally isolationist empires who distrust outsiders, but are generally peaceful and very dedicated to preserving and nurturing the environment on the worlds they inhabit. This is especially apparent for the Maweer Caretakers, who never even properly urbanized.
    • With the First Contact DLC, it is possible to discover a unique peace-loving empire called Habinte Unified Worlds, which inhabits six Gaia worlds within their star system. In game terms, they are considered an Early Space Age pre-FTL civilization, but their ability to move planets (they once "robbed" a nearby star system to improve their own) and manipulate hyperlanes suggests that their potential is close to that of Fallen Empires, and in some ways even greater. However, they mostly do not use it and prefer to lead a semi-primitive way of life In Harmony with Nature.


    Web Original 
  • The Synthetic Human Alliance of Orion's Arm are explicitly compared to the Old Earth Amish, as they were originally multifunctional bodyguards, nannies and Sexbots who found a loophole in their programming: if fleeing from their masters was in the interest of their master's (more specifically, their offspring's) safety, they should do so. After founding the SHA, they created a ludd utopia, with importance placed on communities, hard but fair work, a rejection of vanity and pleasure. They are surprisingly hi tech, needed to maintain the synthetic half of their population, but have a purely utilitarian view on technology, with 'skillsets' being temporarily lent whenever necessary. They're widely regarded as an example of how a nearbaseline ludd society can work perfectly well by modosophonts and transapients alike.

    Western Animation 
  • The human family in The Herculoids. According to the comic book Future Quest, they're refugees from a Robot War who wanted to start a new life away from the technologies that caused it.
  • Tarkon in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Turns out they were once an extremely advanced technological society, and created a massive, benevolent Master Computer to defend the planet during a forgotten war. The forgotten war is implied to have blasted the society back to the iron age, leaving the survivors very gun-shy about embracing high tech. When the planet's Rebellious Princess is taken off-world and exposed to galactic-level tech, she becomes determined to break that cultural taboo.
  • One episode of The Jetsons flirts with this, where George and his family settle on an asteroid, making do with what's at hand. They're happy, at least until developers find their paradise.
  • In Futurama, there is an Amish Homeworld, only accessible by wooden spaceships powered by two oxen on a treadmill.
  • In Rick and Morty, the titular characters once stumble upon a world populated by Amish-looking Cat Folk who are about to initiate their annual "Festival".

  • An exceptionally rare LARP instance: The Waypoint System includes a race which does this; the people actually have incredible tech power in the background, they're just not allowed to show it to outsiders, and the majority of the population are unaware of it. The culture is divided so that those who make it are separate from those that use it, and neither understand the nature of what they're dealing with.
  • Associated Space features the Free Realm of Sarmatia, a planet whose colonists hide their high tech (aside from medical scanners and such) underground so they can all have fun pretending to be nomadic Horse Warriors like the Mongols.
  • Meta-example: sci fi writers and readers. A surprising amount is not so much about creating a different world but about technology as a justification for the recreation of a pre-modern world. In sci-fi, though we have lots of Technology Porn, that tech often creates a society with hierarchies, tribes, frontiers, great wars, and Cloak and Dagger between powers of comparable size. It is as if readers have a psychology that was bred to deal with a wilder world, and in the modern world they are like a well-fed lion pacing around in its cage ominously and wishing it was back in the Savanna.