Apr 21, 2012

S is for...


Well, I figure I should probably do a little more writing about the stories that I've published. You know, for kicks and such. So here goes...

The city of Sanctuary is where Ezra Hawkins, the protagonist of Wind-Scarred, grew up. They believe that they're the last enclave of humanity on Earth. They're wrong, but that's not important right now.

Sanctuary was birthed from two main ideas. First, every person who was part of the founding of the city was a tenacious genius. They had survived a war with godlike beings and clung to their technology in the face of insurmountable odds and dwindling resources. They were scientists, inventors, and all around really smart and stubborn people. Second, scarcity. All of these people were suddenly isolated from the rest of the world. Sure, they had a peace treaty with the things that had beaten them so long as they didn't venture outside their new city, but that really didn't help put food on their plates. For that matter, after seeing things like San Francisco sink into the ocean (or the bay, take your pick) they didn't have all that much peace of mind.

So based on these ideas, I figured that the people who would rise to power would be the ones who knew how to keep the bad things out and keep the city going.

Now, fast forward about a thousand years to the time of the story, and this is how I saw it unfolding. People who had specific knowledge had kept it in the family. Laws were in place to prohibit research into existing technology for anyone who wasn't part of the owning family, or Legacy. These Legacy houses ruled the city, which now had no need for scarcity but was still operating under the same general principles that had gotten them that far. No-one collaborated, for fear of accidentally revealing some of their family's coveted data or techniques, and as such the advance of science had slowed to a crawl. Sanctuary had become, in essence, a totalitarian scientific oligarchy.

Now, I did this for two reasons. Number one, so that I could write off truly incredible new technologies (i.e. wormhole travel) as the work of singular geniuses, because honestly, I can't imagine what a society like that could come up with after a thousand years of really working together. Number two, because I don't know how carbon pictotubes, controllable holes in space-time, and flying cars would really work. I essentially needed to create a new branch of magic, science magic, where secrets were not discussed and everything that anyone else could do was basically taken on faith.

I didn't want this to be a hard science-fiction novel where getting into the nitty gritty of wormhole mechanics became something important. It freed me up to just drop a few names like Minkowski and Schwarzschild and toss around things like the Casimir effect and exotic matter boundary conditions with the implication that no-one other than Ezra Hawkins (the heir to the wormhole Legacy) was getting it, and so you the reader shouldn't need to get it either. It was just a wizard explaining a spell to a bunch of barbarians, which changed the setting from technical to kinda humorous.

After all, I was writing an adventure. And adventures only get weighed down by excess baggage.

Oh, hey, S could be for Skyrim too, huh? In that case I'll just post this video, because it's awesome.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.