History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

The Setting of Barren

When I originally drafted Barren, I had a very clear picture of where it was set, because I’d based the location on where I live. Though later drafts strayed away from that location, much of the setting is still a temperate Pacific Northwest climate after the impacts of sea level rise.

Years ago, Jeremy found a mapping website that would let you raise sea levels by a given amount and then look at how that would change a familiar landscape. I cranked it up as high as it would go and took a look at Seattle. Much of the city was gone. But there were a few of the higher hills that had been transformed into narrow, long islands. And that’s where Lemy begins her journey in Barren.

I took a bit more liberty with the places she travels to. I had specific visuals in mind, and described the biomes to match. And having been to the areas that would have still been above water after the massive sea level rise I’d decided on, they don’t match those biomes. But perhaps in a world where many lives have been lost and people have needed to move to higher ground, nature could have reclaimed some of these places. For fiction, I think it’s close enough!

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