Do you see fantasy evolving/progressing from a Middle Ages time frame?

Is there (or should there be) a natural evolution in fantasy? By that I mean most fantasies have been set in something like the Middle Ages. Everything from castles to swords, archers and knights on horseback, taverns with roasting meat on a spit, and on and on. I’m not knocking that, but at the same time I find myself exploring an evolutionary path in my fantasy. That’s why I placed the Iron Elves in something like the Napoleonic era. I enjoyed mixing gunpowder and cannons with swords and magic.

So I guess what I am asking is, where would all these Medieval-like fantasies be 500 years on? Would gunpowder be invented? What about the sciences? Physics and astronomy? Medicine? I believe these worlds would evolve, but that’s not the same as saying they should, at least from a literary entertainment perspective. For the most part readers seem to be OK with evolution/progression in fantasy. But clearly, traditional fantasy still abounds. What’s changed or evolved appears to be the elimination of elves and dwarves and a downplaying of magic, at least judging by the success of series like Game of Thrones.

We’re chatting about this now over on FaceBook.

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