So here’s a thing I’ve been thinking about off and on. You know that song It’s a Small World? Pfft. What am I saying. Who doesn’t know that song.?
Well it’s right. It is a small world. I can get to a town several hundred miles away a lot faster now than I could have in the days before air travel, cars, or even trains. Technology has, in so many ways, SHRUNK our world.
That’s why fiction uses the apocalypse so often. It makes the world big. All the people who were just a phone call or a drive or even a flight away from each other suddenly aren’t. It’s the dark ages all over again, when traveling through the local forest was viewed as dangerous, much less crossing continents. When kings pillaged and plundered their way across Europe (here’s lookin’ at you Crusades) just to fund the travel. Watch The Book of Eli. Post apocalyptic America is now a chain of small communities run by whatever local person could gain leadership over the others. Obviously, few people travel and those that do are looked on with awe and suspicion. Can anyone say Old West please?
This whole big world thing, it opens up so many possibilities to the author. You can focus on one main area and learn/research it. Or develop it. Your hero can just be out to save a city if you want, and the villain doesn’t really go after much more than just the one place. Think of the Kate Daniels series. It focuses on Atlanta, Georgia. They leave the city occasionally, but for the most part things happen in the city and it’s ‘burbs. And it works so well. Magic has cut people of from each other and mass transport is out. Planes just don’t stay up, sea monsters rule the waters, and if you don’t have a car that runs on enchanted water you might as well be afoot when the magic rolls around (which it does half the time). Therefore, Atlanta becomes the world and it takes major resources to be effective beyond it.
Of course, you can go the other direction in a big world. Patricia Briggs does a wonderful job with Mercedes Thompson. Air travel and everything exist, and her characters flip flop between states with the greatest of ease. But she has a reason to localize the magic, keeping her key characters and the chaos that follows them pretty much all in the same place.
Ah. Fae Reservations. Got it. Magic central. And the vampire master who stuck a pin in the map and sent Marsilia there. Got it. That gives us vampires. Oh. And the remoteness of a dinky one hotel and gas station/post office town in the Rockies. Great place for troubled werewolves to den up. And there you go. She’s tamped a good number of potential enemies all down in the same region and lit the keg. And it’s a beautiful thing that happens. She’s made the world smaller, while at the same time keeping it big.
And I think that’s the key. A reason for things to localize. Or a reason for them to spread out.
Sorry. No sketchies today. Husband had the whole weekend off. So distracting ;P
Upcoming: How the heck all this rambling applies to MY book XD