Recently, my husband was startled to witness our phone announcing “call from City of Urrrr”. A co-worker was attempting to reach me, thus the voice phonetically pronounced “City of RR”.
We agreed that City of Urr would be a great science fiction novel title. I’m not a frequent sci-fi reader–I know, my loss–but since I’m hoping to gear up and enter National Novel Writing Month this year, suddenly every concept is potentially My Novel.
I wonder, though. Could a tale inspired by our town offer enough world-building concepts? Sure, we have high school football, Dell Diamond, The Rock, exponential growth, Ikea, and Round Rock Donuts, but could those attributes translate into an alternative view of society?
Perhaps the story would open this way:
Cadres of adolescent humanoids portraying fire-breathing mythological beasts battle in contention with fierce adversaries. Vociferous crowds of citizenry expressing their support from the perimeter of the arena would lend drama. The object whose possession is sought, a leathery ovoid object, might symbolize the synergy between man and nature.
Elsewhere in this city, thousands more residents happily render the required tribute to acquire a small rectangle entitling them to enter a grandiose and revered public venue modeled after an immense brilliant gem.
The scene now shifts to identify an ancient boulder with a distinctive shape resembling both an anvil and a promontory. Mysteriously, the name and reputation of this city are tied to this monument. Legend has it that this stone marker was once consulted by citizens of an earlier era requiring prognostication on the advisability of travel.
Not long before, the city signified only as a rural hamlet, yet within an inconsequential span of time, it has magically evolved into a mushrooming expanse of settled territory now encroaching upon a municipality renowned for strange cattle bearing antler-like defensive apparatus (also Weirdness).
Across the cityscape looms a colossal structure so labyrinthine that visitors require treasure maps and are offered free nutritional rations in order to sustain sufficient energy to complete their transactions and depart. Inhabitants of other settlements, undeterred by accounts of the vastness of the territory, are lured by their predecessors’ epic accounts of Scandinavian ingenuity and value.
Here’s another facet unique to this setting: ring-shaped comestibles so pleasing to the senses that they inspired the production of magnified versions of themselves. These delicacies are not only highly esteemed by the locals and explorers from other regions; they are even glorified on a communication channel dedicated to studying the consumption of edible substances.
Hmmm, are we really dealing with sci-fi here–or is this fantasy?