Culture, Scenery, and Little Details

History left its mark on place names. Victoria. Van Demons Land, then Tasmania. Queensland. New South Wales.

Culture, Scenery, and Little Details

Last week, I decided on an island or chain of islands somewhere in the pacific. With some added measures of cross-pacific cultural contamination.

I had some ideas about the chain of names that this little nation could have had in the past. Since British explorers were all over the Pacific Oceans in the Georgian era, the British probably ran out of officials and anniversaries to name islands after. Hawaii was originally named after the Earl of Sandwich (and inventor of the same foodstuff).

History left its mark on place names. Victoria. Van Demons Land, then Tasmania. Queensland. New South Wales. Even New Zealand doesn’t have its original name. New York had a name before it was New Amsterdam, and it wasn’t after anyone else’s town.

And going digging into surviving Polynesian culture is going to add to the tapestry. Cross-contamination is very much a thing. Christian missionaries have been infecting other cultures with their noise for about four hundred years or so. Honestly believing that they were doing good work.

Americans would just stomp the living hell all over the native culture worse than the British missionaries.

I can use actual bullshit plucked from the very pages of history. Stuff like – a period of history when it was illegal for natives to speak the native lingo. Or banning traditions. Or separating families for assorted bullshit reasons.

Not that I’m going into all of the bloody details. But there will be a secret society dedicated to preserving the culture, long suspected of being some form of Polynesian mafia. But it’s now out in the open and taking kids camping to teach them the legends, the language, and the lore.

And of course as I said earlier, climate change is making things rough. A low-lying area of land with short cliffs is now a lagoon with a reef. There’s Little Boat-town, a floating miniature city of refugees and pontoons and whatnot where those exiled by the rising waters are more or less waiting for the next shelter from the next flood. Of course, it’s all more or less periodically trashed by the next cyclone, but these are people who are afraid of putting down roots.

People clinging to the past. People clinging to hope. People clinging to whatever they have left… loads of potential for intermittent drama.

And new development tearing up heritage, as they do to this very day. Tearing down  history. Which is why the whole dollhouses thing exists in the first place.

There should be five larger cities and at least a dozen smaller towns/villages/whatnot scattered about the place. Pokey little places that are difficult to get to, etc.

Of course, ninety percent of all of this won’t make it into the narrative. But the reader should feel it when they read the book.

Which is why I’m noodling with all of this in the first place.