Author’s Notes: Chapter 3 continues Atriya’s break with his environment. He makes a shift in that he consciously begins to notice that his surroundings give him no comfort and that he is deeply disturbed by them, even though he is still unsure of what that represents on a deeper level. I also start introducing the theme of outer versus inner. Through the linkup, I’m trying to paint a picture of his aversion to a focus of adding stuff on. More than cool weapons and gear, he wants first and foremost to be a warrior in the inner sense.
As he walks through the city, all my descriptions are indications that the world itself is lost and confused. It opens with the description of over half the planet being covered by city. I push it further by mentioning the lack of natural light or the suppression of it when I write about Ascension and the white dwarves. Going a little into the social structure, I wanted to give a pronounced sense of disparity; Ascension residents literally look down from the comfort of their homes miles above the workers.
As Atriya starts reflecting on the workers, I wanted to give the idea that he felt disturbed by them. He feels that mindless drudgery without higher aspirations is unnatural and wrong, but he hasn’t personally committed to that idea yet. It’s more like he can’t stop thinking about it.
I go into the economics a bit, also reflective of a dark age. Echo gets all its energy from dying sources, and is only motivated by a hungry thirst for more. The construction is entirely dependent on its next fix of energy. The harvesters are portrayed as nothing more than cogs in the machine.
The advertisement: Reference to the Roman Empire, a bloated system that kept going as long as it did in part by appealing to baser pleasures and thrills (one way was through gladatorial combat) is intentional. Atriya’s disgust at it is also indicative of his deeper unhappiness with the currently stagnant system.
On a personal note this chapter was very hard for me. I really just wanted to focus on parts with action in them, but I realized that I couldn’t write a book about dystopia where I didn’t reflect it in everyday living and society. It took a while for me to think of a simple and illustrative culture that fit the theme.
As far as the wording goes, this chapter is where I start to smooth out the prose. I feel like the first half I’m still writing in kind of a stilted manner, and you see pieces in the second half where the descriptions start to smooth out and a little more flow is introduced. Sorry about that. When I wrote this, I was still struggling with transitions between events. I know I keep saying it but the prose smooths out more and more from this point on. I hope you’ll be patient and bear with me.
I finish with a lead-in to the first conflict of the book. And yes, stay tuned, you will get to see Atriya beat some ass.
Thanks for reading!