A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Popular Culture

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Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s out late this fall but you can find out about the world now let’s talk about life in one of The Great Cities . . .

Popular Culture

Popular Culture has evolved a great deal since The War. Unconsciously, most people tend to mark cultural elements using The War, which considering the nature of the event is understandable. However, it is noteable that before The War there was no real idea of global popular culture.

After The War, with The Alliance forming, culture began standardizing as well. This included popular culture, though it involved several phases.

Immediate Post-War (-5 to 0 AR)

Post-War popular global popular culture was largely nonexistent as known today. Most of what was shared was classical novels, plays, and music. Some individual Great Cities shared culture with each other, but there was little “global.”

Reformation (0 to 50 AR)

The Reformation, an attempt to build a unified government and sense of purpose resulted, of course, in some unified culture. Cities exchanged more information, ideas of the reformation were propagated, and some major cultural milestones were agreed on. However music, books, and literature outside of the “classical” culture were little shared.

Most Great Cities had their own media production, from movies to publishing. Though they often copied each other, they did have their own way of doing things.

The Military provided to be a unifying force in that those joining it were exposed to other Cities, other former Nations, and other people. Many people did short tours of duty, and often returned to their Cities with other ideas about food, music, and more.

The growing Theopolis of Triad True and the theological parts of The Reformation added to cultural cohesion in the realms of theology. However that had somewhat existed before – it’s just that with some three hundred gods agreement on things had never been that coherent anyway.

Post-Reformation (50 AR to 100 AR)

The post-Reformation period was not conflict free, but was a period of reducing the smaller, regional conflicts and petty grievances. Not all of the Great Cities actually liked each other, so this period was necessary for cultural exchanges.

As cultural and economic commerce among The Cities expanded, as territory was reclaimed, more shared culture evolved. Music, books, plays, and films were shared among “groups” of cities that had strong relations.

During this time Sabillon began to arise as a cultural center.

The Rise of Sabillon and Triad True (100AR to 200 AR)

Sabillion had formerly been a publishing clearinghouse, strongly associated with Mindarion and Zafrel. With it’s proximity to Triad True, the unremarkable if well-established city became more prominent in this age of integration.

Triad True was a culture powerhouse, but was a bit focused, and people whos minds are tuned to the gods don’t always have the best tactical and publishing sense. Brightguard was an education powerhouse, but was focused on education and politics. Allanax was the capital but was busy keeping The Alliance together. Highpoint had no real unified identity, and Grand Ivar had its own local concerns.

But Sabillion was perfectly placed to become a media center. It expanded from books and shipping and its otherwise unremarkable economy to more and more forms of media production. Centrally located in a hospitable area, it grew faster and faster.

There was plenty of land for studios. There was a transporation hub. Refgurees from the Old Dragon Kingdoms who had fled there with money, knowledge, magic, and technology had established their own businesses and familities and unions.

Soon, Sabillon had become known as a media capital almost by accident. It’s hand was everywhere in television, movies, and more – and it had happened almost by accident.

The Current Age (200AR to Present)

Sabillon is a major producer of video and musical media – or at least adjacent entertainment concerns that sell media have a footprint there. Movies, songs, and television broadcast around the world bear its mark.

Sabillon’s works are considered to be entertainment by most people – fun and something everyone can enjoy, if not deep. Of course the influence of Sabillon – and the importance of popular culture – is easily underestimated. Having something unifying, even if its shallow Glitterpop music or the soap opera Souls of Sorcery is important to society.

What is often missed, especially as other Great Cities posture, is Sabillon’s role in distribution. Books written in one Great City are easily available in others. Locally shot movies are easily distributed via the Network. News is carried across the planet by powerful Network services.

Sabillon has remained humble throughout all of this (some would credit the cultural influence of Zafrel and Triad True). They know who they are and what they’re doing, though the younger members seem to be less aware of their history and role.

Growing up in the major media center on three planets really does change awareness . . .

– Steve