Convergent Evolution of Maps
Anyone who knew me in Mrs. Smiley’s Sixth grade class, would have realized I loved maps. The realization that a piece of paper contained reality, of a sort, is so seductive compared to the prosaic qualities of, say, long division. My affliction has continued. Thus, I was struck by the similarity of my own map for OMAI with Kurt Schlicter’s cover for his second book, People’s Republic, in the series which began with Indian Country, delineating the fate of a near-future America torn into an increasingly
socialist nightmare of the blue Peopl’s Republic, on the coasts, or the democratic republic of the New United States, in the fly-over states. Mr. Schlicter imagines that things go south rather sooner than I, about the time Hillary is inaugurated in 2020. When she declares a national emergency and outlaws all private ownership of firearms, the BOR hits the fan and states begin to take sides. His map is political, the boundaries being those of the states themselves.
As for OMAI, the dissolution is due to a power vacuum rather than an abuse of power. Being consummately selfish (just ask my wife), I have put off the dissolution until 2052 to guarantee I will not be here to see the death of the American Experiment, nor be blamed for being prescient. The boundaries are geographical rather than political: the Pacific Crest, the drainage of the Mississippi, and the Appalachian Crest.
Yet the similarity of the maps is a bit spooky considering that I had to invent sentient plants (the Appalachian squiggle) and a truculent Canada to accomplish my redrawing of the map. Moreover, While Mr. Schlicter manages to do the trick with but four entities (Red Middle America, Blue bi-coastal Peoples' Republic, Canada and Mexico), I have had to gin up any number of political enemies to recreate the same map (RSA, Unity, Demarchy; Columbian Republic in the west, a rump of Canada in the east, the Scorch, and new and old Mexico). I even had to cobble together a few new gods for book four. More of that in another post.
I invented the Scorch, sentient chimeric plant-animals, to produce a reliable land barrier to depredations by the Unity on the prostrate RSA during the first seventy plus years of their uneasy adolescence. Canada finally accomplishes that which the Hudson's Bay Company had advocated prior to the War of 1812, the capture of the entire drainage of the Great Lakes. America is reduced to what is left: the drainage of the Mississippi, Missouri, Tombigbee, all of Georgia, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, much of Arizona and the Gadsden Purchase (we paid for it, remember). The Upper midwest flies the bloody Maple Leaf and the east coast north of the Savannah River and south of Bangor, Maine is The Democratic Unity.
Despite the imprecations of some irony-challenged people I have spoken with, Democratic Unity is a wholly snarky but ginned up name, having nothing to do with current politics. It says something of America at the moment that they could not see the joke. Think of all the countries which choose to call themselves Democratic: N. Korea, East Germany, Congo, Ethiopia, Laos, Bhutan, Algeria. Moreover, the Unity is but a portion. Jesse Johnstone points out "secede from the country but call the result a Unity. Black be white and white, black. Evil is good and good, evil. All to the tune of the masters’ pipes. Amen and amen.”
In another sense, however, Mr. Schlicter has the tougher job, trying to see what an identifiably American bi-coastal, neo-fascist progressive country looks like. Yesterday's newly discovered social injustice must bow to tomorrow's newly discovered eternal right. As always, the pursuit of more and more arcane “social justice” leads only to more injustice. The opportunities for diverting power and money through badly run colleges, banks, hedge funds, and land deals has been well explored and utilized in earnest by America’s humble leaders. We mere citizens do not stand a chance. How does the self-indulgent but eternally self-consuming Left ever keep itself together long enough for a book series?
I have taken a coward's way out. My short-lived People's Republic is around only long enough for the revolution before it disappears in a coup, leading (as Herodotus predicted) to an oligarchy, the Unity. This I can readily beieve can survive until it produces, in its good time, that paragon of vegetable virtue, the Messenger.