Anachrotech

DaVinci crossbow
Image from wikimedia commons

Anachrotech, from Anachronism and Technology, refers to obsolete, no longer common technologies or other objects that have been improved upon with modern materials and techniques, but retain the same fundamental properties. Put another way, technology from a lower tech level is used in a higher tech level society but improved with designs and materials available in the higher tech level but not in the lower.

One such example can be weaponry. Bows, crossbows, swords and other such weaponry have been anachronistic for thousands of years and are rarely seen used outside of Prim societies. Nevertheless, there are some hobbyists and ancient weapon enthusiasts who enjoy making these primitive weapons from modern materials, making them much more efficient and powerful than they could have been back when they were actually used in real combat.

Another example would be books. For thousands of years, even before The Great Expulsion, efficient technology for storing and reading all manner of books on portable devices has existed, rendering the ancient bound paper design of books obsolete, especially in locales where space is at a premium. Entire libraries, which can occupy entire planets if extensive enough, can be carried on one's person. Despite the conveniences afforded by such tech, there are bibliophile purists who simply prefer "real" books. Whether it be for the look of a well populated shelf, the feel of the pages or just disdain for excessive use of information technologies, they just do. However, traditional books are made of paper, leather and other such materials that age, decay and grow fragile, an especially great concern when the owners may live for centuries. As such, many print their books out of modern materials such as diamondoid or corundumoid, sometimes with the print being part of the molecular structure of the cover and pages, making these books practically impervious to any conventional damage or aging.

Further examples could include archaic engines, such as those used by Steampunkers, who employ a mixture of advanced materials and ancient steam engines to create all manner of exotic machinery, up to and including Steamecha. Others work with internal combustion engines, fuel cells and any other conceivable engine that has long since been obsolete.

Anachrotech is not uncommon where simple and easy to maintain technology is desired. Modern power sources are powerful indeed, but in isolated or small communities and temporary settlements, things like antimatter and monopoles may not be easy to come by. In such cases, simple biomass-fueled technologies, could be very useful and are sometimes built from modern materials for durability. Even in large, developed societies, it may be decided that there is no need for the most advanced possibilities. Some societies may employ First Federation era fusion plants with tweaked designs and new materials rather than employ monopole catalyzed conversion plants simply because a fusion plant is enough, not to mention being an old and time-tested technology.

Anachrotech is also sometimes used as a compromise in societies that shun higher technologies, using primitive tools and products, but made from durable, long-lasting modern materials. This is a popular approach in Lo Tek societies, which deliberately use lower tech than they hypothetically could. Anachrotech can also sometimes be just a hobby for those wanting an intellectual challenge or to sate simple curiosity.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Matthew C. Johnson

Initially published on 17 October 2011.