I don’t often post about fantasy, particularly Dragonlance’s tinker gnomes, but several observations/encounters prompted this post. In the Dragonlance world, tinker gnomes are unlike the gnomes of other fantasy series because they are neither interested or capable in wielding magic. The sole focus of every tinker gnome is to tinker with gadgets, with technology. In fact, tinkers are so obsessed with technology that they will find a technological solution to a problem even when there is a much more logical and efficient non-technological solution. e.g. A tinker gnome will build a mechanical steam-powered machine to take sensor readings of the ambient light levels outside coupled to a facts machine that will then write out its findings and have said finding mechanically delivered to the machine’s operator … or you could just look out a window and see how much light there is.
Let me preface by saying that I love smartphones. The touchscreens, the convenience, the digital power, it’s all quite intoxicating. There comes a point though, when even love crosses over into unhealthy obsession. My wife and I have encountered various instances of this kind of obsession. Incident example one: A man walking his dog is so busy looking at his smartphone that he almost collides with my wife on a wide sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon. Incident example two: A woman is so busy looking at her smartphone she collides (at under 10 mph) with a car at the stoplight she is sitting at. Incident example three: many people sitting around a table in a restaurant waiting for their food and instead of talking to their table-mates are instead messing with their smartphones (tweeting about their food?).
We have become Tinker Gnomes!