I like thinking about what the real world would be like if some of the genre conventions we all love about comics were to be introduced here. So that's our weekly conundrum:
Discussion after the jump!
- Mutant humans with super powers: The problem here is that a) you don't know what kind of people are going to be granted these abilities, and we all know some people are real jerks; and b) there's such a huge variation in power levels. What if the guy who gets hugely destructive powers with the morals of a dictator? On the other hand, you're bound to get some mutants who could really advance the general welfare of humanity.
- Magic that works like science, requiring no special inborn gift to use: I like that in theory anyone could learn to be a magician, just like anyone today can learn to be a physicist. But not everyone would, which is also ok. Magic in these kinds of settings tends less to the "it can do anything" category of ridiculous to a more controlled, limited, and focused set of phenomena that are more or less predictable. This would be less exciting, but more egalitarian.
- Magical abilities available only to certain humans: Here you have similar problems to the mutant scenario, where there's no telling who is going to be able to do what. On one hand, that's scary because you've automatically got two tiers of people, and one or the other is likely to get the shaft in a situation like that. On the other hand, the world's already divided up into various kinds of haves and have-nots, so this would be just one more thing to deal with.
- Active Infernal and Heavenly entities -- angels and demons: I realize a lot of people believe this is happening already, but I'm talking comic-book levels of involvement here. And I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. At least with mutants and magicians, you've got beings who are fundamentally human. Angels and demons are fundamentally not-human, and yet would be running around with vast levels of power and control. That scares me.
- Psionic abilities like telepathy, telekinesis, empathy, etc.: I probably should have broken this up into "for anyone" or "limited users" like with magic, because I do think that makes a difference. But I think mental powers are cool.
- Portals to alternate realities: This could be hugely great, or hugely awful, depending on what's on the other end of those portals.
I think I'd probably go with the last one, multi-dimensional or alternate reality portals. They'd be a bunch of new frontiers for us to grow into, getting us out from this one breadbasket, and we'd probably have access to some amazing new stuff. I think humanity could do with an outward-facing frontier again.
What about you, what would you bring into the real world if you could?