Okay, this may be the most random question I've ever asked, but what do you guys think of zippers? I mean, in real life they weren't invented until the 1890s, so would it, I dunno, pull you out of the story if people in a medieval-fantasy setting started zipping their clothes up?

Not if there was a good reason for it.

Well, if you don't have the metalworking technology to create something as intricate as a zipper, you shouldn't have them in your story. If you do, it's fine.

And if they had that technology, there would be a lot of other things they could conceivably make, as well...

Yes--if they had medieval tech, zippers are technically impossible.

Hey, it's Fantasy. There could be some type of plant that has a funky seed-pod that you can dry out and turn into a zipper.

It's an alternate fantasy world so you can do what you want and it's fine as long as its reasonably plausible. Readers in general don't care about things like this. If it's clearly antithetical to the world (like having metal zippers in a world that has stoneage tech) then it's going to throw people, but not explaining how something like zippers are present in your fictional world of magic isn't going to bother most readers who enjoy your story. Just because people in our world didn't figure it out until a certain date, or that you need certain precision tools that weren't invented until blah blah is missing the point, which is that not everyone values historical accuracy in fantasy fiction.

Having said that, you're going to get comments/criticism from people who are pedantic about these things, mainly other writers and nerds, both of which fantasy has in spades. Not only will they insist it's 'wrong' for your made up world to have these things in it, they'll make all sorts of claims about how people other than them will react (not surprisingly, exactly the same as them). It becomes very didactic and insistent. No one will accept it, everyone will complain, the book will be abandoned en masse etc. For some reason they think making grand prophecies of doom and speaking in absolutes will make their views more valid.

BTW my reason for thinking this way is that I use anachronistic ideas in my fantasy stories all the time and my stories are very popular with hardly any complaints. But when I do get complaints, they tend to be from other writers.

It would certainly bother me if the tone was serious, though likely not enough to stop reading. Unless zippers is an integral and super important tool in the story, I would remove them. If the tone were anachronistic or humorous I wouldn't care.

If you constantly put illogical touches inconsistent with the stated setting, you can bet your audience will have few people who complain about it; everyone who cares will have dropped the story and be avoiding any of your works now and in the future. People who care are not infrequent among people who love reading. Ignoring them because you're too lazy to use buttons is a terrible reason to have zippers in a truly medieval setting.

Unice, why are you assuming the reason zippers are being used is because the author is too lazy to use buttons? The original post said nothing at all about author motive. Bad form.

Zippers proper would bother me in a fantasy setting... but if there's magic that'll perform the same function, I'd let it slide. Say "self-mending clothes". If such a thing exists in the setting (and it probably should for high class outfits), it could easily be modified to function as a zipper using a thin razor.

And while it wouldn't be an *essential* bit of magical technology, it would be a useful one that can explain why your heroes don't do laundry very often. Toss in self-cleaning and you can explain why they smell like something other than fermented gym socks.

@ubersoft: I thought it was fairly obvious based on the content of that post that I wasn't replying to the OP, but apparently not.

Revfitz and others who pointed out the tone of the story have a good point.

If it was supposed to be serious fantasy that attempts to be realistic about technology in every other way, I'd have a problem with it--largely because in that situation it would appear that they were trying for realism, but didn't do the research. If it were serious fantasy where technological innovation is part of the setting, no problem. If it's a serious setting where people are using magic to do what we do with technology, no problem.

Also, of course, if it's someone writing in the style of Terry Pratchett, no problem. Discworld is sort of medieval, but full of magic and intentional (humorous) anachronism.

It may actually have been obvious. I can be a bit thick at times.

Is there anyone other than Pratchett who can write in the style of Pratchett?

Not exactly, but there are people writing humorous and sometimes satirical fantasy. That's what I was thinking of.

...yeah, I would not have given this a second thought if it were Pratchett.

Thing is, though... Pratchett would have given it a second thought. And a third. Then he would have dedicated four paragraphs to the fact that there were zippers, made us laugh at least once, and probably worked in an insightful comment about human nature to top it off.

As to similar styles... Well, other than Douglas Adams, I don't think *anyone* writes like Pratchett. And Adams wasn't as skilled at it. Also, different genre.

"@unice5656: I thought it was fairly obvious based on the content of that post that I wasn't replying to the OP, but apparently not."

Since OP is the only one who suggested using zippers, and you accused him of being lazy for considering it, I don't see how anyone would read your needlessly aggressive comment as anything other than aimed at OP. Poor guy was just asking a question. I agree with Uber, bad form. smh.

*dons moderator hat*

I read it as not directed specifically at the OP comment, but at a hypothetical lazy author, so it is possible to read it differently. Whatever the case, we're unlikely to determine anyone's true motives by arguing about it in a forum on the internet and so I'd like to encourage people to let it go.

*takes off moderator hat*

@Tananari: Again, I wasn't suggesting that anyone writes exactly like Pratchett, but if I found an anachronistic zipper in the work of for example Christopher Moore, Robert Asprin, Piers Anthony, or certain works of Roger Zelazny, I would be fine with it too because technological accuracy is somewhat beside the point of their work.