Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Technology and Modernization

By Eoin Colfer

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Technology and Modernization

Foaly was a paranoid centaur, convinced that human intelligence agencies were monitoring his transport and surveillance network. To prevent them from reading his mind, he wore a tinfoil hat at all times." (3.92)

Concern for privacy never seems to disappear in human or fairy society no matter how advanced they get, since Foaly's surveillance should tell him whether he's being watched and the fairies are convinced they would be under attack if their existence was known anyway.

Every spoiled kid in Haven had a Hummingbird for their wilderness holidays, and here were the LEP with wings that were junk when they were new. (3.173)

Ever think about why it's possible for Artemis to get a leg up on the People technology-wise even though they have their own genius inventor? Inventing, producing, and owning superior technology requires money, and there's often no way around that fact.

"Nuclear power source, if I'm not mistaken. We must be careful not to underestimate our opponents." (4.95)

Seriously? Artemis seems awfully indifferent toward what would be the most important power discovery of several lifetimes. 

[…] everybody else was replaceable. Not Foaly. He'd built the system up from scratch, and if anyone else even tried to boot it up, a hidden virus would bring it crashing about their pointy ears. (5.27)

Classic genius trope in books and movies—why does the system always depend on the knowledge of one person who is an outsider of some kind and a little temperamental?

Artemis had anticipated some technological advances, but nothing like the treasure trove of fairy hardware spread out on the four-wheel drive's dashboard. "Impressive," he murmured. "We could abort this mission right now and still make a fortune in patents" (5.73).

And yet Artemis chooses not to. His is impressed by their technology, but not wooed by it.

For a century or so, [Foaly's] pod designs had leaned toward the futuristic […]. Lately, however, his sensibilities had become more retrospective, replacing the gadgetry with walnut dashes and leather upholstery. (5.101)

One of the unique and completely confusing pleasures of modernization is that it allows us to make things look older. It's odd, and perhaps indicates nostalgia for days gone by.

Back in the shillelagh days, there were no fancy polymer harnesses, no auto thrusters, and certainly no external monitors. […] Science was taking the magic out of everything. (5.142)

A lot of people claim this about scientific discovery even today—is it true, or can we think of science as creating its own kind of magic, especially here in the book?

There was an age when you could throw a blanket time stoppage over a whole country and the Mud People would simply think the gods were angry. But not anymore. (6.348)

What they're really saying here is that technology has made humans harder to fool.

"I want you to tunnel in there and find out how this Fowl person knows so much about us. Probably some surveillance device." (7.125)

It's fascinating that Root, the guy who gets all grumbly about science and technology, immediately thinks of a technological answer to Artemis's knowledge rather than the ancient Book that contains all of their secrets in one convenient place.

"I trust science about as far as I could throw you, Foaly. Radiation has a habit of hanging around when certain <em>scientists</em> have assured us it has dissipated." (9.271)

If this is so dangerous, why use it? Why not use all that advanced fairy tech to create some sort of defense weaponry that doesn't linger on and threaten fairy lives as well?

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