Ready for Some Scenes from the Future?

Is anyone else tired? I feel like my brains are running out my ears and down my neck. It’s ironic, because I spent much of this weekend in blessed repose, sleeping the hours away. As a result, unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of writing done so I have precious little to report here.

But I know that you want more than that from me, so it’s time for another installment of the nearly world-famous, semi-annual feature Scenes from the Future, wherein I talk a little bit about a scene or part of a scene from something I’m working on. In this case, of course, the “something” is Fugitives from Earth, and the scene comes right at the beginning, where I do a little worldbuilding and character development.

A shadow fell over the monorail as the bulk of Brighton Tower cut off the sun. Ahead, Joanna could see the yawning doors of the depot at the Tower’s base open and ready to receive them. Joanna spend so much time inside the tower and so little outside that it was easy to forget how huge the building was. It might’ve been tiny if placed in any major terrestrial city, but the Tower’s dozen stories and flying buttresses were still an impressive sight. It utterly dominated the flat, dark landscape of the Mare Serenitatis and the scattering of landing pads around the monorail line. It was a crowning achievement of human engineering, and Joanna always felt a tingle of undefinable pride whenever she laid eyes on it.

It was all the more impressive for what lay beneath: a sprawling underground city, 50,000 people strong and growing continuously. Aside from the lack of windows and the lower gravity, one might almost think it was on Earth, so extensive were its amenities. People responded to that; tourism was a major source of income for Brighton, and tourism was exploding. It was almost cheap to get to the Moon now, from Earth.

The tower’s architecture was dominated by a the planetary-orbit logo of the United Nations Space Colonization Authority, positioned so that anyone riding the monorail would be unable to miss it. Brighton was everything that UNASCA wanted its colonies to be: safe and clean but bustling and ever-expanding. More than anything, it wanted everyone to know that they were in charge. If the news stories and blogs were to be believed, they could use all the positive PR they could get; every day there was more bad news from Jupiter.

Of course, on Brighton, it was all an illusion. Joanna glanced at Gabriel out of the corner of her eye and saw Gabriel chuckling at some small joke Benjamin Riley had made. Gabriel was in control on Brighton, no matter what UNASCA believed. She wondered if it was like that on all the colonies.

They pulled into the depot airlock, and the tram stopped while the pressure was equalized. As the far doors opened and the tram moved into the multi-story industrial space of the Depot, Gabriel was blathering. “I could never make my living out in the belt like you folks do. Certainly I can understand the desire for independence, the allure of a hard day’s labor, but I confess that I’m perhaps too dependent on my luxuries.”

What do you think?

The story of Fugitives from Earth is the story of the rotten core of UNASCA that Joanna sees hints of here gradually consuming everything. I’m trying hard in the beginning of the novel to make it clear that UNASCA is powerful, to a certain extent anyway, but that their power is more and more tenuous, reliant on people who don’t have the best interest of the body politic at heart.

The entire political situation is based very loosely on the political situation during the American War of Independence, where a powerful empire either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the political situation in its colonies. The cities and stations of the Solar System are at a point where they consider themselves self-reliant, and very much resent the economic prerogatives that the central government reserves for itself.

And, as you all know, I love space, and I love describing things that take place there. I feel like I didn’t get to do enough of it in the first draft, so now there are more bits and pieces scattered throughout. Nothing to slow the pace of the story, of course, but enough to foster a sense that it takes place in a real world, not just a collection of sets and backdrops.

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