HP fanfiction as sci-fi
So 18 prosince 2021
(my comments on the Reddit thread “What if there's no magic gene?” by 15_Redstones)
Concerning your thoughts about “The magic system is so whimsical, I don’t think it should be susceptible to manipulation by scientists.”, I am a bit torn. The one thing I really like about the HP universe is that it is exactly like ours except for the magic and its consequences (yes, I feel a bit of irony over the statement by Arthur Weasley, that “Muggles are same as us, except they lack magic.”). Yes, including the same timeline as ours.
I heard somewhere a definition of sci-fi as a thought experiment, what would people do if this one variable changed. One variable being the multi-generational flying to Alpha Centauri, for example, or in the classical sci-fi something more simple (flying in the rockets, being invisible … that goes actually all the way to Plato, Mesozoic animals alive, dystopian totalitarian regime). What would people do facing such changed world? How would it change them? Most of the good HP fanfiction literature seems to me a variation on this theme? What would people do if they had magic? What if they were a tiny minority of human population so the fear of disclosure would be completely rational and sensible? How would it change their behaviour, their society, etc.?
For this to work, however, you have to keep changes small, otherwise your world is just too different from ours and the comparison is vague, or even worse, you fall into the endless abyss of the Uncanny Valley. That's for example the problem for me with crossovers with the superman genre stories, their world is just too different. Or introduction of elements which are just too weird in our world (e.g., I am never happy when vampires are introduced, their undeadness is just a way too different from our universe).
And no, I don't think, that using mitochondria instead of DNA for inheritance makes such difference, just a remainder for all of us that “magic is weird” and anything goes may be strictly speaking true in your logic, but that this line of thinking leads to some rather disappointing results (at least for me).