This is a cultural description of my 2016 NaNo novel
|This is a steampunk novel set in the Victorian era of England. Of course, it’s an alternative reality. The city is Capercairn. It’s residents are under the control of Carby Gorse, who is the head of what is known as The State. The State’s only objective is to control its citizens and to increase its own wealth and power. Job duties are decided shortly after a child is born. His station in life will never change as long as he lives, for the most part. Children born to lower-class parents will receive lower-class jobs. There is no upward mobility, only punishment for not performing up to par.
The city is very industrial, with most people who spend any time outside, even traveling to school or work, wearing mechanical masks that filter the contaminants out of the air. Due to the industrial nature, there is smog and soot everywhere in the city. There is no weather, to speak of, and most born in the last 40 years have never seen the sun. This is actually part of the culture because it keeps the people from knowing there is more to life - they do not know sunny days. They have never seen clean rain. The smog is so thick, and sometimes wet. It clings to their clothes and machines in those days, but it is never, truly, rain. They cannot grow any plants, whether they be for food or decoration - that is all controlled by The State, who purchases food from elsewhere. Even animals do not do well within the walls of The State. There is little to feed even the citizens, let along household pets, so those do not exist. Phineas Cavendish and others have gone to making clockwork companions for the children, in lieu of actual pets.
Most of the population suffers from some ailment or another due to the unhealthy air and lack of healthy food in adequate amounts. However, health care is incredibly expensive. It is completely controlled by the state, as are so many things in Capercairn. There is very little personal freedom.