A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Inspirations For The Twelve Great Cities

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Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  I’d like to peek behind the curtain and talk about my inspirations for the Twelve Great Cities of Telvaren.

The idea for Twelve Great Cities sprung right into my head when I was messing around with ideas.  Inspired by some lovely visuals in anime (if you ever want amazing cityscapes, many SF/Fantasy anime have jaw-dropping designs) and some past fiction, I came up with the idea of a city dominated by a dozen great city-states.  Each city has its own personality, and these are the inspirations.

The Cities

Allanax – The capital of the Great Cities is somewhat inspired by Washington DC, but as it also acts as a culture center it takes some inspiration from Cincinnati, Ohio and Boston.  Visually it’s inspired by Seattle and the fictional city of Numbani in the game Overwatch – all soaring high-tech skyscrapers.

Brightguard – Brightguard is a massive academic center of magic and knowledge, so Boston was an enormous influence.  As it has a military past, there’s also some influence from San Francisco’s Navy days.  In the setting as of the novel it’s experiencing gentrification, inspired by many sources, and visually based on the way I’ve seen old buildings in Silicon Valley converted to other things.

Grand Ivar – The “little sibling” to Allanax and Brightguard, Grand Ivar’s is a fun city to write about because it’s amazing and diverse, but is always contrasted to others, leading to it trying hard to stand out, while also being insecure.  Culture wise it’s inspired by San Jose and Toronto, though visually I’ve described it as a “well laid-out art deco Hong Kong.”  The insecurity comes from watching rivalries in the Bay Area, and watching competition among various real cities.

Highpoint – The Great City made by various cities allying themselves together, building a bunch of roads, and asking to join the other cities.  Highpoint is inspired by those areas where cities and towns just kind of grew together, including Boston, New York, The Bay Area, and Columbus, Ohio.  Culturally it’s very laid back, taking some hints from smaller cities I’ve visited.

Kalfstaff – Financial center Kalstaff is heavily inspired by New York and London, as well as the cityscapes in the late MMO City of Heroes.  Ut.  It’s extremely neat architecture and well-kept streets are inspired by Toronto.

Mindarion – The great city of manufacturing and fabrication is a strange one.  In some ways it’s inspired by manufacturing cities like Pittsburgh, but the design of the city is well-planed, combining urban architecture, greenery, and massive factories.  It takes definite hints from anime designs combined with Jack Kirby’s imaginative cityscapes.

Nasharex – The high-tech friend/rival to Mindarion, Nasharex has an erratic layout, and is inspired by Silicon Valley, Seattle, and other cities who suddenly found themselves growing, with widing roads and surprising hidden places.  Nasharex is a mix of Eastern and Southern culture, making it a uniquely diverse city.

Olanau-Kau – A coastal city, the last survivor of the South, and a center of Botanomancy and reclaiming the lost lands, this is a complicated city that has many inspirations.  It’s giant walls are inspired by fantasy art and classical art of castles and fortresses, and it’s layered architecture comes from some giant hotels, buildings, and apartment complex I’ve seen.

Triad True – The great theopolis is more of an original idea – asking what if there was a city just dedicated to religion.  It takes some hints from Jack Kirby’s art, art deco, and anime – I visualize it as an embellished place, with shrines and great idols everywhere.

Sabillion – The media capital, Sabillion is obviously inspired by Hollywood and Los Angeles, though it’s more spread out.

Vasikon Zek – The only city upon the Ocean, Vazikon Zek is really made up of islands, artificial islands, magic, and clever architecture.  Visually and layout-wise I see it as organic, like a nautilus shell or a crystal.  It was inspired by SF ideas of oceanbound cities.

Zafrel – The giant transportation hub is clearly inspired by Chicago.


– Steve