Annotation Alcatraz Chapter Eight
Elevators? How primitive.
Of all of the things in this book, I think this chapter has the biggest stretch when it comes to worldbuilding.
I really liked the concept of Free Kingdomers thinking of our modern world as primitive. Them thinking swords are more advanced than guns is a really fun reversal. However, it’s a tough one to justify.
I ended up leaving this concept in because of the way it made the book feel, but I would never have done so in a more solemn fantasy novel. If you’re wondering, the reason for Bastille thinking that stairs are more advanced is the following:
Once, the Free Kingdoms used stairs. They eventually moved on to primitive elevators, but when Smedry Talents and other magical abilities began to get widespread, things with moving parts had a large chance of breaking. Plus, people developed Silimatics–the technology of the Free Kingdoms. Soon they were building stairs again. Partially for health reasons, partially because elevators weren’t very safe, and partially because silimatic stairs–which moved on their own–were so much more convenient (for those who could afford them).
So technology regressed while progressing at the same time. And people like Bastille can look back at elevators and say, “We stopped using those because they weren’t advanced enough.” We get an explanation like this in the book, regarding guns, in a little while.
The existence of three new continents is also a bit of a stretch. Though I appeal to Plato here as an explanation, it’s still mostly lighthearted. I can’t hold this book to the same scientific rigors as my other fantasy novels. Not only would it undermine the book, but it would also make this one feel too much like everything else I’ve written. I wanted to see what would happen if I gave myself a little more freedom. This is the result.
These chapters were a lot of fun to write because of the interaction I could get going between Alcatraz, Bastille, and Sing. Also, with the faster pace, I feel like the quick pops of humor work better than they did during the more leisurely, explanation-heavy beginning.
Particularly the carnivorous kind.