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Scavenger World

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Scavergersworld. In a modern society, everything is so interconnected that any product is the result of that entire society. People who put products together, people who got the materials the products are made of, people who run the machines that generate the power required for those things... et cetera. Even the things people tend to forget or disassociate with the production of a product: people who write the manuals, people who act as "gofers" for all the other people, middle-management, etc. Then consider all the people behind the construction of the tools required to do each ofthings, and then who make the tools required to make, and so on, and so on. Suppose a majority of mankind and its infrastructure were to be wiped out? There would be huge holes in the knowledge of how to produce things. Sure, someone might know how to fix the engine of a car, but if there's no one who knows how to make spark plugs, one is forced to hope they can find workable ones in the debris leftAfter The End. As generations go by, these knowledge "holes" would grow larger. Society would have to rely on scavenging workable machinery without the knowledge of how to make them. This is aScavenger World, and if enough of the cogs are lost you end up withLost Technology. An elaboration ofSchizo Tech.Possession Implies Masteryis always averted here. CompareCosy Catastrophe----


Examples: Edit

  • The comic strip features a warlike human culture, Termight, who are at war with everyone else in the universe despite the fact that culturally and technologically, they are regressing. They fight with medieval weapons, their Humongous Mecha are recycled, one of them can only move it's feet with the aid of men turning capstans etc.
  • The Kinetic Novel Planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~ also takes place After the End and involves Junkers, with one critical difference: instead of restoring technology, the Junkers pilfer it (as well as other valuables) from the ruins for fun and profit. Well, as fun as dodging autonomous killer robots can be, anyway.
  • Probably part of the inspiration behind (or, as it was known in the US, ) - two teams comprised of three engineers go into a junkyard and build anything ranging from buggies to firetrucks, and they always end up looking like something from a Scavenger World.
  • The former Soviet Union in
  • Wasteland, a comic series by Oni Press, takes place in a scavenger world thanks to "the big wet".
  • Post J-Day Terminator.
  • — The technology itself is untouched, but people's memory of how to use and maintain it vanished.
  • — Rather justified by the trash of (and occasional exiles from) the apparently utopian sky city being dumped into the middle to town.
  • The colony world (or far-future Earth, depending on your interpretation) on which is set seems to be in the beginning stages of this. Certain technologies — like the Otome nanites — are only available in specific cities, and there generally isn't sufficient scientific skill elsewhere to reproduce them. This is, in fact, a major plot point.
  • . Very few people know how to make or repair most of the machines in the film, and the weapons that caused this After The End scenario are hoped to remain Lost Technology.
  • In , most of the human population of the planet "Gunsmoke" has settled near the broken remains of the spaceships that brought them there. Very few people survive who know how to fix and repair the surviving ship "plants", and the current tech level of society has apparently decayed quite a bit from the level it once had just to make the trip.
  • The British dystopian sci-fi movie plays with this trope: The walled-off Scotland looks like something from a sequel with no or few gunpowder weapons in use, very limited electricity and ramshackle cars kitbashed together from old wrecks; the rest of Britain still bears a passing resemblance to what it's like today but seems to be turning slowly into this, as we see its authorities treat as Lost Technology.
  • Legenday British nightmare fuel is indirectly based on this trope, the titular threads being those that hold society together - the food we produce, the goods we make. Following a nuclear war, we follow an increasingly desperate struggle for survival in a grim world where deputised traffic wardens shoot looters on sight, a pregnant woman is forced to eat raw sheep and mill her own grain after stealing it from a government depot and the only remaining form of powered agriculture is an antique traction engine. Not to mention the horrific parody of school played on a barely functional VCR.
    • This trope doesn't really kick in until : In the first film, the greater society (in Australia at least) is still scraping along.
  • The middle section of the 30s movie shows a scavenger society slowly breaking down - despite what the Chief thinks!
  • . Scavenged anti-aircraft machinegun used as a terrestrial (well, aquatic) attack weapon? Check. Small town/islands made of scavenged sheetmetal and random equipment? Check. Scavenged , moved with ? Check.
  • The Diggers' society in works much like this; some, such as Shua and Moe, know how to assemble machines, but they mostly have to steal the parts from Ecoban.
  • Terry Brooks' as a whole, with the Druid order being the only people with any knowledge of technology left. Specifically, the most recent Genesis of Shannara trilogy, which aside from the usual scavenging for supplies includes sports stadiums as the last organized holdouts of civilization.

Another character who leaves the series for a while is Lt.Starbuck, as part of perhaps the most effective story arc in the

Battlestar Galactica (comics) Edit

series. In this plotline the fleet stumbles upon Scavenger World, the dominion of the female space pirate Eurayle, who makes a deal to spare the Colonials if she can keep Starbuck at her side.The planet is a Rube Goldberg ,collection of old star ships MacGyvered together,with aliens and humans from all over the galaxy.The interactions between Starbuck and Eurayle are memorable, with a satisfying conclusion in a tremendous battle (issue #13). At the end of the tale, Starbuck remains with Eurayle, and the fleet moves on without him, setting up his triumphant return in issues #19 and #20. Edit

Starbuck finds an old Kobal Ship abandoned and repairs it,using parts and money gained from Pyramide card game winnings.

  • An apt example of the level of superstition around machinery can be found in the Ciaphas Cain novels. At one point a techpriest worries about whether a device will work when she doesn't have any to light first, of course it does. Said techpriest is also something of a black sheep when we meet her because her rather pragmatic and creative approach is seen as a failure to understand the theology. Which of course had limited her advancement.
  • The parts of Stephen King's set in Mid-World have this flavor. It tends to become both more prominent and more dangerous as the series goes on: in the first couple of books Roland's six-guns are rare and precious artifacts, but by the fifth we've seen working robots, giant cyborg bears, weaponized props, and a supersonic maglev train with a yen for riddles, all of which are decaying and homicidal.
  • Although unintended, Ayn Rand was certainly setting the world up for this in her novel . As a result of the machinations of John Galt, the great thinkers and industrialists withdraw from society specifically to survive the collapse and then come back and rebuild. It has been observed, however, that these intellectual producers can only get their work done with the quiet help of many hundreds of simple laborers. If too many of those laborers get crushed in the collapse of civilization, the outcome is predictable.
    • They use their vast knowledge to fill in the few gaps and take up some of the duty of labor themselves?
    • The previous troper has evidently not read the book, since the industrialists are portrayed as quite capable of doing manual labor for themselves (that's one of the many, many anvils dropped in The Speech) and Galt for one spent over a decade working as a laborer on the railroad. They just needed the help of the laborers to their production, and they took the view that a tiny amount of wealth that they own absolutely is better than millions upon millions that can be taken from them with a stroke of a politician's pen. Also, there's a strong suggestion that most people would survive in a sort of peasant misery, like in Starnesville. Presumably, we are supposed to believe that those people would come back to work for the "Prime Movers" having learnt their lesson...
      • Which is, of course, bullshit, since anyone who has ever worked in any kind of high-tech industry should know that most objects of modern technology can be mass-produced. It's physically impossible to build a modern computer by hand, even if you had the raw materials.
      • Or, y'know, starve to death. On account of civilization collapsing and there not being any food.
  • by George Rippey Stewart deals with the consequence of most of the human population being wiped out by some plague. The protagonist sees mankind's technological advances undone, because the scattered survivors do not have the cohesion, nor the education or even the motivation to keep the technological marvels (electricity, indoor plumbing, metalworking etc.) running. Humanity reverts to a hunter-gatherer society.
  • by Jeanne Du Prau, the sequel to , takes place somewhere in the United States about 250 years after several successive wars and pandemics, where descendants of the survivors have reverted to old-style farming settlements, sending out 'roamers' to search pre-Disaster houses and such for supplies such as clothes.
  • In , the kingdom of Gondor has ancient cities and monuments constructed by means lost to the current dwellers due to a civilization regression.
  • In ,by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the United States is on its way to becoming like this after an asteroid hits the moon and causes climate change around the world.
  • Cormac Mc Carthy's The Road is exactly this. The story follows a man and his son walking south through the ash-covered ruins of America after an unspecified cataclysm, scavenging whatever food they can find and avoiding bandits who steal and murder to survive. Many people have even reverted to cannibalism.
  • Definitely Truth In Television, in poor nations without native industrial capacity, especially where high-tech imports are scarce.
  • started out this way, but things got better. Battlefield Salvage is still a critical component of most games
  • The RPG takes place After the End, and has hosts of broken machinery that not many people know how to use. (Then again, unless it helps keep your head out of an irradiated zombie's mouth, most people don't .) Enter the Junkers, "techno-shamans" who duct-tape together odd amalgams of old tech and enchant it back into working order. A player character can even be a Junker, and Junkers are known for (re-)creating odd bits of technology that seem at odds with the rest of the world's current level of knowledge.
  • In , much of the Imperium of Man's technology is ancient and only kept running by a specialized religious priesthood performing maintenance by ritual. It gets a bit ridiculous, to the point where they Big, impressive, Titan-killing tanks, but tanks nonetheless.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus don't worship tanks directly, but rather the "machine spirit" (but only as an alternate manifestation of the Emperor, because it would be heresy otherwise). The Imperium falls somewhere between Scavenger World and Lost Technology; because they're not actually scavenging existing technology for the most part (except for a few ancient and notable pieces of equipment); but rather are dependent upon use of ancient "templates" used by their automated manufacturing plants. The technological caste functions more as archeologists than researchers; and any "advances" are not due to modification of existing designs, but re-discovery of lost templates. Scavenger World applies best to the really big weapons systems like Titans and superheavy combat vehicles; where there are no templates left, and thus no ability to manufacture more.
    • And then there's the Orks, a technological spacefaring race... with no heavy industry and no understanding of physics. Their spaceships are salvaged hulks with jerry-rigged engines, and all their weapons and ground vehicles (apart from the ones they manage to steal intact) are cobbled together from mismatched bits of battlefield salvage by a bunch of idiot savants. And somehow it all manages to work.
      • It's actually the opposite for Orkz. All Orkz have knowledge of basic physics and mechanics literally encoded into their genes, thus evey Ork can smelt metal to make their choppa & scrounge enough junk together to make a functioning shoota. Some Orkz, the Mekz, have an even greater instinctive understanding of these principles, and can make teleporters, laser & plasma weaponry, massive walkers & even spaceships (with assistance of course). The problem is, the Ork doing the building doesn't really understand what he's doing, because its mostly subconscious, which is why Ork technology looks so ramshackle & generally isnt standardized.
      • There is also the fact that Ork technology is at least partially powered by the gestalt psychic field which connects all of the Orks, and allows them to compensate for mechanical deficiencies in their machines. For example, an Ork can cobble together a gun from spare parts and an ammo magazine, and it will work reasonably well; it will also work for a non-Ork, but not nearly as well. It also means that certain mechanical principles which shouldn't actually work do so because the Orks REALLY believe they should, the most notable example being that "The red ones go faster" (painting a vehicle red makes it go faster).
      • This troper recalls reading something that if you gave an Ork a stick and convine it that the stick is a Shoota (a gun), you better not turn your back, because that stick somehow shoot you.
  • The series is set in a post-apocalyptic Scavenger World in which getting an old car to run is a major quest. However, it's a world that's on its way to fill the holes: in the good endings of both and new cities are created, new governments established and it's implied that things are going better. It should be noted that the scarcity that seems to have hit the automotive industry has apparently left the weaponry one untouched, at least judging by the ludicrous amounts of energy blasters, miniguns and assault rifles scattered all over the place. They did manage a Hand Wave with one character late in the game, a blacksmith who produces his own gunpowder and loads it into recycled shells to make new bullets for sale.
    • The designs of many of the weapons of does show that they were made post-Apocalypse, what with their patchwork looks and the like, and why they degrade so easily. Ammunition can also be made, such as by Sydney's father. One does have to note that weapons are easier than cars.
      • Incorrect. Most of the guns in the Fallout series, with the exception of the Pipe Rifle were constructed prior to the war. The commonality of firearms in Fallout 3 is just another sign of the game's raging Adaptation Decay.
      • Don't forget that the reason the world ended was an apocalyptic world war, in which the majority of squishy bits (people) were destroyed, but it stands to reason that their innumerable weapons survived. With the resulting high weapons:people ratio, it's reasonable to depict weapons aplenty. Also, it's notable that many times the player finds large weapons caches, presumably many of the weapons in the wasteland were from previously-found caches. Also it's the USA.
    • The good ending of Fallout 3 also shows that, despite the fact that it is a scavenger world, people are trying to fix it with what they can.Battle Tanx: Nominally what the world is supposed to be. Yet somehow EVERYONE seems to be effective enough scavengers to all have tanks...
  • The Blastia in . It's stated that there is no known way to create the Barrier Blastia used to keep monsters away from cities, along with most other Blastia.
  • This happened in 's backstory: When the wormhole connecting the New Eden and Earth collapsed, most of the colonies died off or regressed back to pre-industrial status due to the lack of self-sufficient infrastructure. It got better, but there's still plenty of Lost Technology to be found.
  • This trope is invoked constantly in . Lesser technology is scavenged by previous civilizations that died out.
  • Uses and averted in Borderlands: People on Pandora tend to scavenge and salvage gear and tech, but it's implied that's because Pandora never really had an industrial base to begin with, and most of the people on planet were convicts. Also, it's implied that this situation is fairly unique to Pandora; it's mentioned at least once that Pandora got supply drops from off-world.
  • takes place on what remains of Earth after a nuclear war. The main character wanders around with his dog, and can't trust anybody. Everybody is trying to get what little there's left, and so it's hard to make friends. Some are even continuing the war...

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