1. Tony Breeden says:

    No fair skimping on the fantasy nanites! My Impworld/Otherworld Saga largely plays on this. In that series, gamers are playing the universe’s most popular fantasy adventure game on a terraformed alien world . Improbable beasts such as dragons and manticores are actually biological robots . And nanites provide much of the special effects & mechanics of the game’s magic . Players receive medical treatment from nanites in order to accelerate their healing as per a healing potion. Nanites also form into cameras to film the spectacle when needed. Basically, beneficial nanites are infused into the future and are employed to accommodate this fantasy LARP. My nanites are also used in bodysuits that some players use to play characters like ogres and centaurs but these are rare in the game because nanites use up a lot of resources. We replace our cells on a regular basis; I reason that nanites have the same basic requirements. A nodal interface into the brain (already ubiquitous due to the prevalence of immersive VR in the world) is required to complete the jump between, say, human and troll. Players are levitated to the proper height where nanites give the holographic illusion of their game form and provide situational physicality or substance when required (viz., grabbing a torch, landing a punch, etc.).

    In the non-game world, weaponized nanites take three forms. Guns with magazines that generate ammunition out of inanimate materials the mag comes into contact with when the mag is taken out of the gun and activated. Drones made from nanite swarms. And the dreaded gray goo that eats everything and has to get shut down with an EMP or a nuke if you really want to be sure.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Well, I have issued the complaint that Christian writers of speculative fiction in general could be more original and creative in their world building–clearly that gripe on my part doesn’t apply to you!

      Though, actually, sir, if you write a fantasy setting in which everything works for science fiction reasons, you’re at most writing a multigenre story, though someone could argue your tale is actually straight-out science fiction. Like the Dream Park novel by Larry Niven and Steve Barnes.

      As for replacement needs, recall that not even all life forms break down at the same rate, so while nanites surely would break down, I assume they could be made much more durable than, say, human biological cells.

      Also, a good gray goo should include at least some non-metallic nanites. Ones immune to an EMP… Though of course a nuke works on anything due to heat and high radiation…but you gotta be sure you have them all destroyed… (And why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t at least a portion of the gray goo disperse as widely as possible…?)

      • Tony Breeden says:

        It is true that the nanites are more resilient than human cells but they’re also being intentionally subjected to higher stress and resource requirements since they’re being used on a constant basis in the game. The action in my books rarely eases up but this is partly because part of the premise is that the Gamelords desire ratings for their live casts and thus they create near constant peril to keep everyone watching.

        As for the gray goo… I may have to think about that. Many of my robots are biological. I favor metal for military applications simply because metal allows for structural strength and better defense but I might need to flesh out (pun intended) how a purely biological military gray goo might be neutralized.

        Technically my books are considered gamelit like Ready Player One but it is very much scifi meets fantasy. It’s been a lot of fun to write!

  2. Autumn Grayson says:

    There was one movie that I don’t remember the name of, but it was about this atheist guy that was working on this AI and nanite project. He nearly died and to save him his SO uploaded his brain to a computer. He basically starts to play God, amassing power and trying to lure everyone in with healing and stuff. He uses nanities to cure people’s ailments, but considering how much control he was starting to have over everything his SO had to find a way to stop him.

    I do think it would be good if more fantasy and sci fi started addressing these issues, the fact that we’re increasingly getting more tech that will be nearly impossible to detect and deal with on our own. People say to check for hidden cameras in an AirBnB room rental, but eventually cameras will be so tiny that they can’t be detected so easily. And if nanites are developed enough, they’ll become so common that a lot of people would be able to use them to whatever end they want, for better or for worse. Some of them may even think they’re doing good with them when they’re not. And there’s a lot of interesting yet dangerous topics that come up whenever we talk about implanting advanced tech in a human body. Presumably, a lot of advanced parts might end up being connected to the internet and other outside sources in some way. Maybe to receive software updates or to look up ways to solve certain problems. Or, at the very least, so the device can get repaired. But that means those parts can get hacked just like a regular computer can. Nanites would be the same, only it may be more difficult to purge them if there’s a problem. (Though maybe it’d actually be easier, assuming they were built a certain way)

    Nanites would be useful, and there’s tons of applications where I wouldn’t have a problem with them, but I do cringe when I think of all the possibilities that might actually come up.

    In one of my sci fi stories I did consider having a certain entity be composed of nanites. I decided to have it be composed of something else, but some aspects of its behavior probably seems nanite like.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Yeah, thank you for bringing up issues of surveillance and nanites coming under hosticle control. I briefly mention their potential for spying and my reference to the Borg is meant to be a reference to the control issue. But I only touched on those issues and both of them are definitely important!

    • notleia says:

      Sounds vaguely like a Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex plot. Probably better than the current SAC’s plot.

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        I haven’t seen Ghost In The Shell, but I did figure out what movie I was talking about. It’s called Transcendence:

What do you think?