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Mars
or, Mappa Mundi (the vague direction thereof).

The Central City-States.

Elysium and the surrounding environs.

The inhabitants of the city-state of Ammwel follow a bizarre cult-like set of strictures: the Ocqotong. They must keep detailed journals of their daily transactions, and diaries of their innermost thoughts; these writings are gathered together, encoded and read through some sort of double-blind system (so that no one currently living can be identified with their writings—well, not easily), annotated, collated, cross-referenced, and shelved among the collective memory of the entire city for the past couple of millennia in the great Perpus Takaan, a magnificent example of Later Hy’attit design. These are used to examine recurring patterns in history and to correlate and attempt to identify reincarnations of previous Ammweli; once someone dies, their writings are released to whatever priestly hierarchy runs the Takaan (the Ppappalepal, perhaps, who are dour, and wear silly codpieces), and an attempt is made to fix their past identity, their place in yon Great Scheme of Things. (Since ancestor worship is a big deal, having a relative who just died turn out to have been the reincarnation of someone important from eleven hundred years ago—based on the similar style with which they composed their grocery lists—well. This can be quite prestigious, if not lucrative.)

The Southron-States.

The Hellas Basin.

The Ampaiya League— Comprising the city-states of Tokkotoomwo Leeimw, Out, Batta, Diiyo, Paanak, Hagun Magur, Schuul Moghur, Leehoralowah and Leehor Mwouguug, the Ampaiya League is one of the richest and most cosmopolitan on Mars, vying with the Schoorhugullang in industry and agricultural output. Its network of canals is also arguably the best maintained, counting among its number the Offriina, the Liibw, the Uumhaidasch, the Werefat and Ayuufat, the Ffranogh and Afittikka, and the mighty Talimaat corridor. Ampaiya is a major source of liftwood, and, through trading along the Werefat and Ayuufat canals, is one of the only outlets for the narcotic attigha, grown in the cool, dry foothills of the Kaahtch. Though Lisounguunguuppwu is these days considered more a member of the Schooyeelagh, thanks to the Duul Mennesch caravan trade, close ties are nonetheless maintained with Ampaiya, and the water pumped from the Ppilwaaihet along the Lisounloomw canal is another important factor in Ampaiya’s vitality.

The Ochre Planet.

The planet Mars, with major canal systems indicated.

  1. scribblingwoman    Feb 19, 03:23 AM    #
    The Red Planet; the Apple IIc
    Two meditations on Mars from the wonderfully redesigned long story; short pier. William Gibson owes it all to Apple (link...

  2. Particles    Feb 20, 08:01 AM    #
    kip manley on mars
    Long Story, Short Pier, Red Planet....

  3. Stefan Jones    Feb 20, 10:46 AM    #
    I am unspeakably jealous.

  4. Stefan Jones    Feb 20, 10:47 AM    #
    Sir:

    I am unspeakably jealous.

    Good Day to you.

    Stefan

  5. Thomas S. Higgins    Feb 25, 08:36 PM    #
    Sir,
    A most impressive analysis. May I ask about your source material? Did you create this whole-cloth, or do the subject races and cultures appear somewhere else?
    I would very much like to acquire a copy of the source of this idea, if you did draw it from elsewhere. I have a use for such a complex culture based on a Victorian-era Mars.

    Thank you,

    Thomas S. Higgins

  6. --k.    Feb 26, 09:33 AM    #

    First things first: like anything else on the website, the materials in the Mars posts is covered under a Creative Commons license. It’s a basic non-commercial, share-alike license: you’re free to copy, distribute, or make derivative works from it, so long as you don’t do so for commercial reasons, and do so under similar terms. So copy away! (Just don’t link directly to the maps. Bandwidth, you know.)

    As for sources: first, as I’m sure everyone has guessed, the basic background was inspired largely by Space: 1889. (Hence the liftwood.) As for the rest: grab Borges and Lovecraft and everything in between, then season liberally with various Forgotten Futures and a dash of the Petal Throne. —The maps: the terrain comes from various photomosaics compiled by NASA (your tax dollars at work!), supplemented with false-color maps to puzzle out the basic areology, then tweaked in Photoshop to make a nice Victorian duotone. I overlaid a couple of Schiaparelli’s hand-drawn maps of canale, stretching and twisting and distorting them just enough to fit the landscape—always keeping in mind that the Martians were superhuman engineers; some of those canals are slender aqueducts on skyscraper-high pylons. Drop cities where you’d expect cities to be, and voila! Instant map of Mars, ca. 1891. (I still haven’t gotten around to marking the latitude and longitude. Ah, well.)

    As for the place names: I did what I usually do, which is check out dictionaries for obscure languages from the library. For Mars, I mostly leaned on Carolinian (a member of the Trukic subgroup of the Micronesian group of Oceanic languages), with some Papago (a member of the Utoaztecan language family [once] spoken throughout the central and western United States and northern Mexico) and Cornish (one of the ‘p’ Celtic languages, along with Welsh and Breton) and some stuff gleaned from a random Indonesian phrase book thrown in for good measure. —With dictionaries, I can throw out word-shapes and -textures I wouldn’t ordinarily have come up with (look! exoticism!), while remaining obscurely secure that they sound like a reasonably consistent language. Because, you know, they mostly are. (To the extent anything is.) Also, I can plug obscure in-jokes and coded references into place-names and common words.

    Anyway: while, again, you’re more than welcome to use these notes and maps as you see fit (within the bounds of the CC license), the basic process of making the maps is pretty simple, for anyone with an internet connection, a decent image-manipulating program, and lots of finicky patience. I’m tickled at the idea that there might be some other stories set (say) in the city-states of the Schooyéélágh, or the Gathered Clans, but stop and think: vague Polynesianisms might not fit your own idea of what Mars tastes like. Maybe one of the neo-Aramaics, for a desert-y feel? Or something in Arawakan, a bit further afield? Maybe the golden Canal Martians of the Heketi Naca’n paddle their slender-hulled piraga’ up the long, straight, placid ama’ toward the Naca, the last dead sea on Mars. —Instead of the Schooyéélágh, with their flat-bottomed pobwóór, and their long, straight, placid loomw that carry the last sluggish water from long-dead Ppilwaaihet.


  7. Paul    Feb 27, 04:30 AM    #
    That's delightful. I love this sort of stuff. What about a block of Martian stamps a la Donald Evans?

  8. --k.    Feb 27, 06:16 AM    #
    Those are so cool! Thanks, Paul (and Blowhards). Definite Deltiolography material.

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