Today, I want to talk about God's Hope, and other towns like it that populate the Supperverse.
|Welcome to God's Hope. Population: You're Screwed|
When I first envisioned a world where weeds and pollen had become something akin to viruses, I thought of the domed net system. A membranous material that could let the light in but somehow keep the pollen granules out, so new serpent weeds couldn't sprout in populated areas.
The Divine Rite has hundreds of such installations all over the world, and God's Hope is one of them. This is where John lived and where he has spent most of his life. As you can see above, the Divine Rite churches dominate the landscape as shining beacons. Most of the structures, however, are small, rudimentary, wooden, but everything is very orderly and neat under the net. There is just enough of everything to go around, to keep people content, which is why the Rite considers Justification is so vital, even if it is barbaric.
Of course, it isn't all a perfectly self-contained bubble. There are seeds of discontent sown in various places, people behaving in seditious ways. In a defunct military installation in the outskirts of Gods Hope lives an old man named James Turpin. He vividly remembers when the Rite took hold, and he was grandfathered in when the Justification program started, so he doesn't have to worry about taking a test or getting a Supper. This gives him room to dabble in verboten acts like reading banned literature and distilling alcohol.
Depending on who you were speaking to, Turpin was an “evil atheist” who performed abortions and put hexes on local missionaries. Others claimed he shot intruders with devilish pre-Blight weaponry hidden in an underground cache somewhere on his property. But the most popular anecdote, and the one that was actually true, was that he ran a “poison factory.” That was God’s Hope lingo for booze.
He might have been the town’s answer to the urbane wizard with the taboo apothecary, but Turpin’s medicine came from copper kettles and unmarked mason jars rather than bubbling cauldrons. I’d never before taken a drink of any alcohol apart from the thimble of sour grape juice at Sunday Mass, and I had no idea what intoxication actually felt like, but now something within me craved a glut of Turpin’s poison.
I guess it was just a part of the natural progression of things that led to me sitting here now.
But why does the Rite allow this man to do these things, which run so counter to the culture? John has a theory:
Drinking and drugs, of course, were not part of the regimen of anyone who planned on passing Justification, and it was difficult to get any in large quantities outside a Sin Bin, facilities where people surrendered their last year of life so they could live in complete debauchery. But liquor was easier to get than one might think. Like most “forbidden” things in God’s Hope, it wasn’t exactly illegal. It was just another tempting piece of fruit the Rite liked to have lying around for the weak of will, and the price for succumbing to such things was deadly.
You may be wondering about the fates of other places in this future world. What about major cities like New York, L.A., or Chicago? Are they covered in nets as well?
While all these places aren't addressed specifically in this book -- since it's told through the eyes of John and his own scope of the world is limited, details are murky -- other stories in this world will reveal the fates of the great metropolitan areas. But I can tell you most didn't survive, and it wasn't just about the weeds. They were torn apart from within by people fighting to stay alive during the worse of the Blight and the battles that followed over food and other resources, the final blow being dealt by the Divine Rite's regime when they steamrolled over those who rose against them. But all that happened a long time ago in the context of this story. What's left now are these these protected areas, humanity's last stand against a very frightening and increasingly alien landscape.
And what of that alien landscape? Well, that will be for another blog.
To be continued . . .