“Do you have a phone on you that I can use?” asked Wander. “Or maybe wifi?”
“Phones have cords and wires and are in buildings,” said Awen, “and I’m nobody’s wife.”
“Not wife. Wifi. Wireless. It’s for the internet.”
“Enter what net? Are you supposed to be fishing?”
“No… look, it’s 2018,” said Wander. “How could you not have seen a phone? I mean, yeah, mine is pretty antiquated, but it’s still a cell phone.”
“Two thousand eighteen?” said Awen. “That’s not the year. It’s AB 100.”
“One hundred? What the hell is A-B?”
– An excerpt from Wander
Part of the evolution of a story world is that you figure out a few things in advance, but mostly you learn as you go. Over the years as the world of the Rucksack Universe has expanded in my mind, I’ve figured out more of the past and the world’s status as we see it in the stories and off-screen.
A lot of the stories happen in what we would consider the past… but much of it isn’t our past. Wander is set in Ireland, but it’s not the Ireland we know. The Blast changed the course of the world. The Blast also happened in 1834. The other books you may have encountered so far take place in what for us would be the 1900s.
But here’s the thing. I knew that if I kept to the years we use, that would also bring in the history we know. If I set a book in, say, the 1930s, readers would likely automatically expect something about the Great Depression or World War II. The 1950s or 60s? Mad Men.
Different world. Different history. Different stories.
So different years.
Just as we have different year counts for different eras (such as BC’s “Before Christ” or CE’s “Christian Era”), the world of the Rucksack Universe has AB—“After Blast.” 1835 in our world is year 0 AB in the world of my stories.
My hope in my stories is that we find new ways to look at the world and at each other. Tweaking time and place can help us get a new perspective. And in Wander, I’m doing that in ways beyond what I’ve done in any other Rucksack Universe story so far.