|Photo Credit: NASA|
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Friday, May 12, 2017
Even though Oceania: The Underwater City is a fictitious story, several things in the novel relate to what’s going on in our world today or what may happen in the near future. In fact, some of my research came from scientific predictions on sea level rise and trends on climate change. I envisioned Oceania to be a self-sustaining city but also the above world that we live in to be one that had finally chosen an eco-friendly path. Unlike Oceania which was designed to be a green city, our world chose to be greener only after the fossil fuels ran out. Although the majority of the story takes place underwater, the changes to our world are evident throughout the entire storyline. In this blog post, I will be comparing the story to some of the events currently going on in our world and how they were addressed in the novel.
Climate change has been considered one of the biggest threats to the survival of humanity. Acceptance of climate change has become much more widespread in today’s world, evident by all the climate change marches around the world that thousands upon thousands of people have participated in. Humans have the capability to alter our planet in a way that no other species can. Just by looking at the nighttime satellite images of the man-made lights around the world can illustrate just how much we’ve changed our planet (if you’ve never seen one, click here to see an image of one or scroll to the bottom of the post). Seeing that, it’s not at all farfetched to believe that we can change our climate as well. Climate change is real and changing our planet in ways that we may never be able to reverse. In Oceania: The Underwater City, I wrote in hope for the future but also didn’t sugarcoat what some of the irreversible effects of climate change had done to our planet. The underwater city had a two-fold purpose: to safeguard the human race but also to be an experiment to see how people could live in harmony with the environment while still having the level of comfort we enjoy today. So in the story, both our world and the underwater city have found a way to live with the changes in the environment without drastically altering the changes in human behavior—only how we obtain our energy.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster and the Deepwater Horizon explosion, clean renewable sources of energy are becoming more popular and necessary. Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower have been used as clean alternative energy sources compared to oil, coal, and gas for a long while but the world is far from running on them alone. To create a cleaner earth without the hassle of nuclear waste, oil spills, and harmful fumes, something had to change. In the story, our world has reached a point where oil has run out and the only option left are renewable energy sources. Our world finds a way to thrive despite switching the way we obtain our sources of energy. The result of the switch helped to clean our polluted air and help the overall health of the planet while still allowing us the technological advancements we’ve dreamed of in the future.
The last relation to current events that I’ll cover is on the search for other places for humanity to live. Whether you consider it a science fiction fantasy or not, there are people that believe that the only hope for humanity is to colonize other planets. Even Stephan Hawking, one of the brightest minds in the world today, stated that humanity needs to colonize multiple planets to survive extinction (see the link below in sources if you want to read more). Barring the whole destruction of our planet, the ocean is another place that could be colonized. However, if we exploit the ocean in the same way we have land, we’ll only continue to doom ourselves. The same would be true if we moved to a different planet and exploited its riches until we killed that one as well. I envisioned the underwater city of Oceania to be a solution to both those problems. Living in harmony with the sea while at the same time allowing humans to colonize elsewhere in a sustaining manner made Oceania a unique place for humankind to thrive.
You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Next post I’ll be sharing with you a brief history of the underwater city of Oceania. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at email@example.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.
Photo of the Earth at Night
Sources and Further Reading
Image of Earth at Night:
Article on Stephen Hawking’s Statement about Earth’s Extinction:
Friday, April 28, 2017
Last blog post, I focused on several inventions I created for this storyline. This post, I’ll be highlighting the special inventions that made the book possible. Without these inventions, the storyline could not have existed like it is. There are four inventions that fall into this category, the SCUBAPS, seamobile, Sea-Vision, and OVRR.
Those of you who are knowledgeable about science have probably heard scientists say that we’ve explored more of space than we have of our own oceans. You’ve probably also heard that space is the “final frontier.” Well, all of this is because ocean exploration is far behind that of space science. And let’s just face the truth, people (and governments) seem much more willing to give vast amounts of money to space science than ocean science. Due to Oceania being not only a refuge for humanity but a center of cutting-edge research, I had to find a way to remedy this. There had to be some kind of specialized suit that could allow humans to explore the depths while minimizing risk to the human body. Enter the SCUBAPS, which stands for Self-Contained-Underwater-Breathing-and-Anti-Pressure-Suit.
Dr. Samuel Wilcox had the idea for a human suit that could withstand the pressure at ocean depths while in his youth. It took him decades, however, to realize this dream. Several different factors went into the designing of the suit. For one, it had to hold up against the pressure of the deep sea while at the same time being maneuverable enough to allow the wearer to swim at will. Breathing compressed air at such a depth would be fatal for a variety of reasons. Instead, Dr. Wilcox invented a new type of material that could fulfill all of his requirements and maintain oxygen permeability. He named the material ThermaFit. With its DuraFit technology, it form fits anyone who wears it. According to his design, it is necessary for the material to be close-fitting to work and keep the wearer both oxygenated and safe from the pressure. In addition, its thermal layer keeps the wearer comfortable, allowing body heat to be retained or emitted to adjust to the temperature of the sea so that the user’s body temperature never fluctuates more than two degrees in either direction. The material is soft and acts almost like an extra skin layer of the body. The detachable helmet can seamlessly merge with the suit to create a watertight seal.
The SCUBAPS is highly technological. The A.I. inside the suit can command the attachable jet propulsion unit as well as hold an intelligent conversation with the user. Located inside the helmet, the A.I. speaks through internals speaker located just next to the ears. Entirely voice controlled, the A.I can be turned on or off with a simple voice command. In addition to the A.I., there is a GPS inside the helmet that can appear on an internal screen directly to the bottom right-hand side of the visor. It can be controlled by the A.I. or user. On the other side of the internal screen in which the GPS appears is a specialized panel that houses the incredible filter called Sea-Vision (more on that later). Overall, the SCUBAPS is a marvel in marine engineering that opens up the underwater world for endless exploration.
|Image of the SCUBAPS complete with the helmet|
Illustration by Eliza Taye
Size: Fit to Form
Maximum Time of Use: 12 hours
Year of First Model: 2276
Out of all the special inventions in the novel, the seamobile is the most crucial one to the storyline. Without the seamobile, Dylan would have never met Allie. Without the seamobile, Allie would have never been able to visit the underwater city. So many plot points of this novel (and of the sequel) surround the seamobile.
Unlike all of the other special inventions on this list, the seamobile was engineered at the time of the underwater city’s inception. Specifically designed for Oceania, two hundred seamobiles were designed and manufactured to be loaded into the docking bay of the underwater city. Like many pieces of technology in Oceania, it was improved upon as the years went by and the brilliant marine engineers of the city became more inspired to adapt it. The seamobile started out as merely a deep-sea watercraft. It was meant to be something that could be used to go on short expeditions under the sea or to visit land for small durations if need-be. Over the years, Oceanians outfitted it with the latest technology and equipped it for marine study, adding features such as the ICD. Design modifications were made to allow for storage space and even more comfort for long trips. A translucent outer covering was designed for better viewing of the ocean environment and for stronger durability.
Each seamobile is a two-seater deep-water vehicle. On the outside, it resembles a Jet Ski from afar, except for one difference—it has high-back support. The seats are designed to give back support up to halfway up an average-size person’s spine. Like a Jet Ski, the person’s feet lay to either side of the seamobile, resting on a short lip jutting out from the side. At the edge of the lip, beyond the outer rim are the air vents in which oxygen is blown throughout the cabin. The front—or driver’s seat—sits in front of a console that is activated by a human handprint. The digitized console touchscreen holds all the meters and instruments of the seamobile; the altimeter, gyrocompass, systems readout, sonar controls, and more are all located there. Each command for every part of the seamobile can be found on the console including those for the protective outer casing of the seamobile that rises from the outer edge of the footholds to enclose the entire watercraft. Once it has been activated and it senses water surrounding it, it cannot be deactivated under any circumstances. It is a failsafe to keep the people inside from drowning. Just in front of the driver’s seat is a small storage compartment that is kept cool and insulated at all times. Food, drinks, medicine or any other small item can be stored inside for long trips.
Passenger Limit: 2
Maximum Time of Use: 36 hours
Special Equipment: interspecies communicator device (ICD)
Pressure Limit: 1,000atm
Year of First Model: 2120
To leave room in Oceania for all the city’s necessary functions (housing, businesses, and the like), several things that Land Dwellers are accustomed were left out. Large stadiums for professional sports, expansive fields of green grass, amusement parks, and water parks take up too much space in a place where every square inch is precious. To allow people some of the same luxuries of land under the sea, the OVRR was created. OVRR stands for Oceania Virtual Reality Room. Inside OVRR, one can play sports, explore an exotic jungle, go on theme park rides, visit the beach, and more. It allows one to be placed wherever their mind takes them, including into movies and video games. Once connected to the mind via the headsets (that the brain can be signaled to ignore the existence of) the OVRR transports them to the location of their choosing. Along with a set of preprogrammed locations and experiences, OVRR also gives the user the option of creating their own world. In OVRR, anything and everything one could dream up could be theirs to experience. In addition to its customizability, the OVRR experience can be shared with more than one person through the headset linking.
The OVRR is a 10x10 foot (or 3x3 meter) room with holographic walls, ceiling, and floor made of projection grids so highly advanced that they can make whatever is projected on them seem real. OVRR works by injecting tiny probes into the brain to connect both the audio and visual cortex, as well as the olfactory, gustatory and somatosensory cortexes so that all a human’s senses can be synced with the program to allow one to feel like they’re really there. By effectively “syncing” with the brain, it makes one think and feel that one is where they wish to be, even though they may be standing still or sitting in the middle of the OVRR. Originally designed as a spare warehouse/storage area of the Entertainment District, the OVRR was created by a group of computer programming geniuses aided by neurologists around half a century after the founding of Oceania. By then, many people were starting to miss some of the entertainment opportunities land had to offer that were unavailable to them in Oceania. To placate people, the OVRR was created.
User Limit: Unlimited (as long as they can all fit inside the room)
Maximum Time of Use: Unless otherwise specified, each OVRR has a limit of 4 hours
Year of First Model: 2183
The Sea-Vision is a hybrid of programmable and physical parts. Sea-Vision works by converting the visor of the SCUBAPS helmet into a highly complex eye similar to something a giant squid might have, but it also combines some elements of the technology behind night vision. Through the darkness, it is able to pick up the movements of the surrounding water and turn it into an image. Using any minuscule amount of light in the water, it creates a full-color image. It’s almost like a digital echolocator, but instead of using sound, it focuses on movement and the displacement of water molecules. It can then transfer that image into one visible to the human eye. The only side effect is a slight green tinge to the image. Still, deep sea organisms that would be otherwise invisible in the dark come to light. It allows humans to study and observe the behavior of deep-sea species without the interference of harsh floodlights that illuminate a single swatch of area, in which they have no idea if animals are hiding from the light or not. With Sea-Vision, the creatures of the deep can remain as they are, unconcerned about new oddities in their environment.
Sea-Vision was developed to allow for non-participant scientific observation. In other words, the presence of the humans wouldn’t alter the behavior of the organisms they were studying. Before the invention of the SCUBAPS machine, Sea-Vision was used solely in small portions of deep sea submersibles. Made of a material a mere fraction of an inch, the Sea-Vision was easily integrated with other systems. A digital program version of Sea-Vision in which it can be used as a digital projection in any reflective surface was still in beta testing at the time of Allie’s visit to Oceania.
You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Next month will have a whole different focus for the blog posts. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I love hearing from my readers.
Friday, April 14, 2017
For Oceania to be a fully functioning city, I had to come up with several futuristic inventions. The inventions in the novel may be possible in the future or entirely improbable. Some of them aren’t very different from what other sci-fi authors have dreamed up such as holograms and other holographic things. Yet others I specifically dreamed up for Oceania. In this blog post, I will be highlighting some of the general inventions I came up with for the story along with a quote from where it appears in the book.
As far as the city itself is concerned, two inventions I came up with were crucial for its existence. The two inventions are the SPLRS and the protective dome of the city.
“Those are called SPLRS, which stands for Solar Panel Light Reflecting Sheets.”
-Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City
The SPLRS were designed to allow Oceania to be a self-sustaining city, meaning that it would be able to grow its own food. Since sunlight is one of the key ingredients for plant growth, some type of invention would have to allow sunlight to reach the depths of the sea. Housed in a protective pipe from sea level to Oceania, they plunge into the depths for over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet). The SPLRS—or Solar Panel Light Reflecting Sheets—were built with rising sea levels and turbulent ocean waves in mind. They tower several feet beyond sea level with an outer covering that shields their existence from both aerial and ocean view. An outer barrier also protects it from being driven into by any watercraft. SPLRS bounce light off their panels without reducing any power of the sunlight. Centered directly in the middle of the city, the light it reflects is bounced down from the surface of the ocean to the second sublevel of the city known as the greenhouse sublevel. From there, the sunlight is then distributed throughout the entire level to facilitate the photosynthesis of the plants growing in the sublevel. Unlike the arboretum where all the trees are in the city, the greenhouse level holds the fruits, vegetables, and grains produced in the city as well as some livestock. All of this needed the SPLRS in order to exist.
“The light emanated from a gigantic dome that sat upon what looked like a rocky seafloor.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City
Oceania’s Protective Dome
The outer dome protecting the underwater city had to be an invention of its own. (If you’ve read my blog post on the research I conducted for Oceania, you’ll know why. If not, you can read the first part here.) Made of a man-made material, it is durable enough to withstand centuries worth of the immense pressure of the deep sea. Although translucent, it is made up of three hulls. The outermost one is thick and durable to keep up against the pressure outside. The middle layer holds extra protection and the projection screens that can mimic the sky on land. The innermost one sustains the artificial atmosphere of the city, which is maintained by internal systems. The dome has a cloaking layer to keep the lights of the city from disturbing ocean life and can be dimmed or eliminated altogether by automatic or manual override. It is programmed to allow light to emit whenever one of Oceania’s seacraft is approaching or leaving the docking bay. After a time, the lights dim to the blackness of the surrounding sea to maintain a suitable environment for the abyss.
For communication devices, I figured that in the future they would be similar to the ones we have today except with more capabilities and more effective security measures. The Network, HoloNet, Omniphones, and C-coms are similar to things we have today with a few upgrades.
“We just call it the Network now. It’s much more than the World Wide Web ever was.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City
The “Network” is like the Internet but with an even higher capacity than the one in our world today. The Network is strictly divided between the education, informational, and every other section. It is easier to find reliable sources of information without limiting people’s sharing of their opinions, beliefs, and random musings. Still free, the Network connects everyone across the globe with higher security and network adaptability, meaning that it's able to sync with a variety of devices. Also, it’s purged of SPAM to create a safe online environment for everyone.
“I don’t know you and thus don’t want you looking me up on the HoloNet.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City
The HoloNet is the holographic extension of the Network that allows people to interact face-to-face with each other in cyberspace Unlike the Network, the HoloNet is purely social. In the digitalized world of the future, everyone has a secure private profile on the Network that allows them to connect with each other in a virtual world type setting. The HoloNet is a database and virtual social gathering center in one. The most basic form of the HoloNet is a profile sharing network of information about people like old style phone or address books and such would hold. To connect with other individuals one-on-one in a virtual setting, users have to give the person they wish to speak with a passcode. Like the Network, it’s also highly secured.
“Don’t you have the technology on land for marine interspecies communication?”
-Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City
Interspecies Communication Device (ICD)
The Interspecies Communication Device (ICD) is a device that can be used in seamobiles or any other seacraft in Oceania. Like any translator app, it has a list of languages that can be interpreted. The ICD is integrated within the seamobiles allowing the riders to communicate with a variety of species just through typing a sentence which then gets translated into the animal’s language. The device can then emit sounds that mimic the same pitch and frequency used in the specific animal’s communication system. The ICD specializes in mammalian communication allowing the user to translate between cetacean, pinniped, and other marine mammal languages. The ICD that Dylan uses in the seamobile is an invention I came up with that has a very loose basis to something in real life. A marine scientist named Dr. Denise Herzing is currently working on dolphin-human interspecies communication in the Caribbean. Perhaps one day her research could be the basis of something similar to Oceania’s ICD.
“Standing up, I took out my omniphone and swept my fingertips across it to unlock the screen using my fingerprints.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City
Omniphones are a merger between a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Their name actually means “all phone,” which is fitting because it can essentially do everything. It is comprised of half-physical and half-holographic parts and can fold out to create a larger screen and keyboard using holographic parts where the physical ones are absent. It can be a laptop or tablet in seconds and revert back to the size of a smartphone in the same amount of time. Omniphones can be used to connect to the Network and HoloNet as well as make non-visual phone calls and texts. Fully customizable, it comes in a variety of shades and two different sizes: one for adults and one for children. Due to insane inflation rates from today’s money to 2276, Allie’s omniphone cost $20,000, which would be comparable to someone spending $1,500 in today’s money. The size of an adult-size omniphone is 13.97 centimeters (5 ½ inches) long, 7.62 centimeters (3inches) wide, and 2.54 centimeters (1 inch) thick.
“…Dylan pressed a button on his shirt and a pocket appeared. Pulling out his communicator, he handed it over to me. ‘And we call ours c-coms.’”
-Allie and Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City
C-coms are Oceania’s counterpart of an omniphone. C-coms are housed inside of a black orb with only one button on it. Everything from the c-com is projected in a holographic display from holocalls to information. They are lightweight, durable, waterproof, and hold petabytes worth of information. They come in a variety of colors, but the most popular color is black. They can seamlessly interface with anything digital in Oceania. Due to the fact that c-coms are perfect spheres, they have a universal diameter of 11.43 centimeters (4 ½) inches.
Images of a C-com device
(not to scale)
|Illustration by Eliza Taye|
Although Oceania was a city designed to focus more on the pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of humanity, it had to have some type of professional sport. To create a one of a kind sport, I invented the aquadome.
“…the lights above the stands dimmed to black and the lights refocused on the interior of the aquadome.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City
In Oceania, most of the sports we enjoy today have receded into the virtual world. They are played through holographic projections or in the OVRR. The only physical sport they play is Aquaball. The aquadome was specially made for this sport and houses the four teams in the city. Formed by a dome, it is essentially the opposite of the protective dome that surrounds the city. The center of the arena is a dome filled with water in which the players compete. Outside the arena are the stands like any other stadium on land. To combat the annoying seats no one ever wants to sit in inside a stadium, each seat is equipped with a personal screen where the viewer can see the action up close if they don’t have a seat close enough to see the action. Otherwise, the aquadome is very much like a mixture of a hockey, soccer, and baseball stadium combined.
You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post in which I will be highlighting special inventions that were crucial to the storyline in Oceania: The Underwater City. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at email@example.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.
Friday, March 31, 2017
If you have not read the novel yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below may spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.
Name: Dr. Samuel Wilcox
Hair Color: Gray
Eye Color: Gray
Favorite Color: Colors are too trivial to have a preference
Favorite Place: His workshop
Biggest Pet Peeve: People that value social adeptness over intellect
Dr. Samuel Wilcox is a brilliant scientist, inventor, and all-around recluse. Preferring to be by himself rather than in a group, living alone in a remote area of the Engineering District suits him well. Although his brilliance allows him to come up with incredible inventions, he sometimes struggles with the simplest things in life like organizational skills and taking care of himself. He has little patience for individuals who refuse to better themselves through education and knowledge but will talk with anyone interested in his work. Socially awkward, he fails to notice social cues and when his statements may be insulting or demeaning to others. Nonetheless, he can be caring and compassionate to those he cares about such as Dylan and Allie.
If Dr. Wilcox could be summed up in four words, they would be Intellectual Genius, Socially Awkward. He has the INTP or Logician Personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/intp-personality
***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Question 1: How did you become friends with Dylan Baker?
Answer: During Dylan’s middle school days and before I became the Chief Engineer of the city, I was a professor of engineering at Oceania University. Members of the engineering department were encouraged each year to attend science fairs across the city to either help judge the students’ projects or to be on the lookout for new talented students. One year I finally decided to go to one that happened to be held at Dylan’s school. Back then Dylan had been going through a phase where he wanted to be a marine engineer like his mother and he had created this astonishing nanobot specifically designed for measuring various quantities of the marine environment. I was so taken aback by his invention that I offered to help him improve upon his design. [Laugh] If only you could have seen his face light up at the prospect of further improving his invention. Since I don’t like to be around other people very much, I invited him and his mother to visit my workshop and showed him around. From then on, he visited me every weekend to work on his invention and even after he started becoming more interested in marine biology and left behind his pursuit of marine engineering, he continued to visit me. Often Dylan gave me hints and tips on what he saw that was lacking in my designs. I admired his innovation and persistence and we became friends.
Question 2: What were your first thoughts when Dylan introduced you to Allie?
Answer: Well, at first I didn’t even notice that Allie was in the room when Dylan arrived at my workshop. When I did, I was curious as to who she might be. Dylan had never brought any of his friends to meet me after several of them voiced their opinions that they thought it was weird that he spent so much time with me outside of his studies. So, I was surprised to see anyone with him. My first thoughts of her were that she seemed a little odd and out of place. Perhaps a bit nervous to be in my presence. I am the Chief Engineer of Oceania after all. I surmised that she had come to seek some advice from me, but I never guessed that she was a Land Dweller.
Question 3: Why did you continue to help Dylan and Allie when the mayor had incarcerated you along with them and after you’d successfully escaped?
Answer: Well, that’s an absurd question! Why wouldn’t anyone help them? I’m not a people person myself, but I wouldn’t leave the children to fend for themselves. That’s nonsense! Besides, Dylan is the only friend I had until Allie came along. It’d be a shame to lose them both.
Question 4: What is your opinion of merging the Above World with Oceania?
Answer: My opinion on the matter is quite irrelevant. The event has already occurred. However, I do believe it can be both beneficial and detrimental to both worlds. Oceania, as well as the Oceanians, are accustomed to being isolated from the Above World. Surely not everyone will be willing to share our hard work and ideas with the residents of land. My hypothesis is that if both worlds can coexist and respect the other, then we should be able to have a peaceful merging. Unfortunately, that so rarely occurs in the real world. I fear that the merging could cost Oceania some of its independence that it has thrived under. There’s no telling how the politics of the Above World could hamper or influence the city of Oceania. Not to mention if we are to share our inventions, ideas, and solutions in a free open environment like we have here, the Above World may not be receptive to it and may even perhaps steal some of our technologies. Regardless, I admire Dylan and Allie for doing what they did and I wholeheartedly support them.
Random Question: Can you really find anything in your workshop?
Answer: Certainly! Given time, I always find exactly what I need. I know where I placed my tools, scrap metal, and other inventions. I know them like the back of my hand.
Friday, March 17, 2017
If you have not read the novel yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below may spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.
Name: Dylan Baker
Hair Color: Dirty-blond
Eye Color: Green
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Place: Intertidal Zone
Biggest Pet Peeve: Being Waterlogged
Dylan Baker is an exceptional scientist and well-adept for his age. He takes his passion for marine science very seriously, although he has a general passion for all knowledge. His pursuit of knowledge often supersedes all else, even his own safety. Around his friends, Dylan is a completely different person. Outgoing, friendly, competitive, and rambunctious, he could be easily mistaken as any other teenage boy. Fiercely loyal, he’ll do anything to help a friend. Growing up with workaholic parents, Dylan absorbed himself with science and friends to fill the void of parental care. The Above World is fascinating to him and he takes pride in being one of the few people allowed to visit it. Intent on becoming a one-of-a-kind scientist like his friend Dr. Wilcox, he’s furious when he thinks Allie may be encroaching upon his research when he first meets her. Once he realizes she’s a Land Dweller, his curiosity is piqued and his thirst for knowledge kicks in.
Dylan has the ENTJ or Commander personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/entj-personality
***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Question 1: What did you think when you first saw Allie, your first Land Dweller?
Answer: My first thought about Allie was “How dare she?” I thought that she’d tampered with my study location and interfered with my data collection. Having no idea that Land Dwellers still existed, I assumed she was from Oceania, which was why I questioned her. At first sight, I really didn’t like her. I never would have guessed that we’d become such good friends.
Question 2: What initially motivated you to take Allie to Oceania?
Answer: Once I found out that Allie was a Land Dweller, I had to show her my city. I wanted to see her reaction to it. But above all, I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to talk to her and get to know more about the Above World. I’d been going to that same beach for a few years and I’d never encountered any other human before. For all I knew, Allie was the only one I’d ever meet. I couldn’t lose the opportunity to gain knowledge of the Above World that no one else in Oceania had. After I returned to Oceania, I couldn’t stop thinking about Allie and so I made up my mind to devise a plan to sneak her into the city. It took me a while, but when I returned to the surface, I was ready to take her back with me.
Question 3: What was it like growing up in an underwater city?
Answer: What was it like growing up in an underwater city? Well, that’s kind of hard to answer for me because it’s all I know. I’ve seen from Allie what living in the Above World is like, but to me, growing up in Oceania is normal. But, I guess, for you Land Dwellers, you want to know the exotic things about growing up under the sea. Well, from birth we’re taught to learn all that we can and to be inquisitive about everything. School takes up most of our time and we don’t aspire to do much else until after we graduate. If you’re wondering whether or not we get to go swimming outside the city all we want—that’d be a no. In fact, most people in Oceania never leave the city. The only exception are those in the various fields of marine science or in city maintenance. You have to be justified in checking out a seamobile or other watercraft. If it weren’t for the docking bay and the dome that projects images of undersea animals, we probably wouldn’t even know we were underwater. I’m sorry if I didn’t answer your question, but that’s just the way it is.
Question 4: What are your hopes as Liaison to the Above World?
Answer: My hopes as the Liaison to the Above World is to bring our two worlds together in a harmonious way. I want to share Oceania with the Above World and the Above World with Oceania. My city has been hidden for too long. Both Allie’s world and mine have so much to benefit from one another that together we can improve each world. I want to show the Land Dwellers how Oceania runs as an entirely green, self-sustaining city where we live in harmony with one another instead of at war with each other. I want to prove to the Above World that we can all live in peace and improve the world by working together.
Random Question: Whatever happened to the motorcycle you stole from the barn?
Answer: [Dylan laughs] I really wanted to keep that bike, but the Sunnyville police confiscated it after they realized that I didn’t have a license to drive it and that I had stolen it from an abandoned barn. I explained that it was a life or death situation, but they said that my driving without a license was a bigger issue than me stealing it. Apparently, licenses are needed for manual vehicles, but I didn’t know. I’ve asked for it back many times since then, but so far, they haven’t given in. Maybe one day I’ll get it back.
*There is a Character Profile and Interview for Allie as well, if you missed it, you can view it here.
Friday, March 3, 2017
If you have not read the novel yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below will spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Place: Beneath the waves
Biggest Pet Peeve: Adults disregarding teens just because of their age.
Allie is a nature lover, stuck in a world that’s lost its contact with the natural world. With an adventurous spirit that drives her to take risks and explore the unknown, Allie can’t stand being cooped up in a city and would rather be out in nature. Feeling a comradery with the natural world, she struggles to make friends in the Above World where most people her age are into the latest in technology. Even though Allie doesn’t consider herself a science geek or nerd, she does love increasing her knowledge in various subjects. An underlying cautiousness hints to her internal self-doubts, although on the outside she puts up a shell to mask it. Though she refuses to admit it, the death of her father made a huge impact on her life and she still struggles to cope with it. The strained relationship she has with her mother causes her to revel in rebelling against authority, leading her to the Restricted Beach where she meets Dylan. Unlike the other teens she knows, Dylan’s passion for nature intrigues her, leading her to trust him in taking her on the adventure of a lifetime.
Allie has an INFP or Mediator personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/infp-personality
***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Question 1: What’s the first thing you did after you realized you had helped to expose Oceania to the outside world?
Answer: Since Dylan and I were surrounded by Oceania’s security personnel and cops, the first thing I had to do was explain myself. Because Dylan and I created such a commotion on the way to Gran’s house, the Sunnyville cops had followed and we wound up having to explain to both them and Mayor Aldridge’s guards. It turned out that even though Dylan and I thought we would be untouchable after posting the information about Oceania’s founding on the Network, we were wrong. The Sunnyville police questioned us, but since we were minors, Gran was allowed to stay with us, which made it impossible for Mayor Aldridge’s guys to arrest us. After all of that was cleared up, the first thing I did was explain everything to Gran and my mom who’d called about million times when she thought I was missing.
Question 2: How did your mom and Gran react when they’d realized what you’d done?
Answer: It took a lot of explaining before either of them believed me. Luckily, Dylan was there too and showed them the same information we’d sent over the Network. I had taken some pictures of Oceania on my omniphone while I was there, so we shared that with them as well. Mom was pretty mad at me about everything, but Gran was fascinated. After ending the holocall with my mom, Gran asked so many questions about Oceania that Dylan and I spent hours answering them. Gran was stunned that I’d done the things I had and couldn’t believe I’d swam all the way to the surface from 12,000 feet!
Question 3: How hard was it to return to Chicago after the summer you had?
Answer: It was both easy and hard. Easy because I didn’t have to worry about any more of Mayor Aldridge’s people or deal with questioning from Sunnyville’s cops. Back in Chicago, there was only the buzz of what I’d posted. No one knew that it was me. Life could go back to normal for me there and I didn’t have to worry about being interrogated. It was hard because I missed Oceania and the ocean a lot. I’d grown used to the fact that I could visit the beach every day and see dolphins, sharks, anglerfish and the like. It was difficult to return to the middle of the country with only Lake Michigan to look at. My knowledge of the underwater city and the undersea realm constantly took over my mind and sometimes it was hard to concentrate in school. My only solace was that I knew I would be returning to Sunnyville the next summer and I’d be able to return to the underwater city.
Question 4: How were you able to keep it a secret that you and Dylan had been the ones to expose the city?
Answer: Well, we’d covered our tracks when we posted the information on the Network. We set our post as “anonymous” and Dylan bounced our location throughout a variety of servers to mask our real location. Not that our location would have really mattered. It only made sense that someone in Sunnyville would have discovered it. From then on, neither of us talked about it to anyone else on land. Dylan’s people knew that it was him, but he conveniently left Dr. Wilcox and me out of it. Since he was thought to be the only person to have done it, Oceania’s newly founded Tourism department appointed him as Liaison to the Land Dwellers. Oceania didn’t tell my world that Dylan was the one who’d exposed them because they were trying to keep the whole psycho Mayor Aldridge thing under control. Most of the people in Sunnyville were too confused and more concerned with what would happen to their small town if people started flocking there for tourism than finding out who’d exposed the city.
Random Question: What is your favorite thing about Oceania?
Answer: Hmm, my favorite thing about Oceania? That’s kind of a hard question to answer. I love so much about the city. It’s an incredible place with tech more amazing than what I could dream up in my wildest dreams. I guess I could say that’s my favorite thing—the technology of the city. There I can dream up anything in the OVRR or explore the depths with the SCUBAPS or seamobiles. The entire city is unique and it’s so gigantic that I still have much to discover about it. It’s so different from my world that I can’t help but be drawn to it.
Friday, February 17, 2017
*In my last blog post, I highlighted some of my research for Oceania: The Underwater City. It covered bathymetry, underwater submersibles and structures, ROVs, and the deep sea. If you missed it, you can read it here.
As I stated in my last post, NASA gave me some of the best information needed to make my novel as realistic as possible. In addition to the research I obtained from NASA’s website, I also looked into hydraulics, future predictions of global climate change, sea ice melt, how solar panels work, and even firsthand accounts of expeditions to the ocean floor. In this second research installment, I’ll be covering a bit of each, starting with how waste and water are treated.
Waste and Water Treatment
The best information I read about how to re-use water, air, and treat waste was from my research on the ISS. Any liquid added to the air from breathing, perspiration, or anything else is condensed and returned to the general water supply. And yes, it does include urine. On the ISS, urine, water from oral hygiene, hand washing, and humidity in the air are all used. Due to the fact that distilling seawater takes a lot of energy and doing so for millions of people could become a problem, I treated Oceania as a space station in the way that water should be recycled and never taken for granted. Just like on the ISS, the atmosphere of Oceania has to be regulated at a certain pressure, temperature, and humidity.
As far as waste treatment goes, the 2004 article I read on the NASA site I found stated that all the human waste was returned to Earth. Well, for Oceania that wouldn’t be possible and I had already come up with a bacteria that could not only eat the waste, but also give off energy in the process. However, I was excited to find out from the NASA article that a real such bacterium does exist, which I explained all about in my blog post on the 20th of January. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here.
If you’re interested in reading more about waste and water treatment on the ISS, check out these links:
Not knowing much about hydraulics, but knowing that the city would have need of them, I looked into hydraulic systems. I found out that water is rarely used as hydraulic fluid because of corrosion and turbulence. Petroleum oil is used to power today’s hydraulic systems, which would not be possible for a green city in a world post-oil. Water would be a renewable source for the city and is more energy efficient than oil, so I wanted it to be used. I discovered an article about a lawn mower that students at Purdue University made. In order to work, the systems would have to be perfectly engineered for water. Although it seems unlikely to happen in the near future, I went with it.
If you’re interested in reading about the lawn mower or about hydraulics, you can check out the following two links:
Sea Ice Melting and the Above World in 2276
After determining how the city of Oceania would work and run, I wanted to get a feel for the world that Allie would be coming from. I read various articles on the predictions of the effects of climate change in the next 200 plus years. I took anything and everything into account to build the world of the Land Dwellers. Of course, not every prediction was the same, so I paid attention to where they overlapped and even did some math to find the average change in temperature or sea level rises.
As for the new level of the oceans, I’d learned about the potential catastrophic rise in sea levels through a class I’d taken on Environmental Science and by reading National Geographic. I used their handy map in their September 2013 issue to find out where Allie could be from that would be near the ocean. For San Francisco, I found a map that showed what San Francisco would look like if all the ice caps melted. In the end, I decided to exaggerate the projections of ice melt by the year 2276. It’s highly unlikely that the sea levels will rise 100 feet in the next 260 years, but who knows what the future will hold.
If you’d like to see the world map if all the ice melted from National Geographic, you can click here:
Since I’ve never been one of the lucky few to go in a submersible to the bottom of the ocean floor, I wanted to read someone’s firsthand account. I’d seen the documentary Deepsea Challenge, and even though it was helpful, it still wasn’t good enough for my novel’s purpose. Although, if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Anyway, I found some articles in National Geographic from two people who’d traveled to the ocean floor in the 1950s. The two men were Jacques Cousteau and Georges S. Houot. The only problem was that both didn’t go as deep as the city. However, between the Deepsea Challenge documentary and the firsthand accounts from the ‘50s, I got an idea of what Allie might be feeling as she’s alone surrounded by blackness in the bathypelagic zone.
If you’re interested in reading the articles from the 1950s, you’d have to get access to National Geographic’s digital archives or have The Complete National Geographic on your computer. The one with Jacques Cousteau is in the July 1954 issue, pages 66-79. There were two from Georges S. Houot that I read and they were in the same issue as the Jacques Cousteau one (pages 80-86) and in the May 1958 issue, pages 714-731.
Solar Panels and Additional Research
Another topic that I researched included how solar panels work. In the end, it wound up being a lot of information useless for my purposes, but now I know a lot about solar panels that I didn’t know before! The same goes for how materials are recycled. I looked into what could and couldn’t be recycled as well as what it takes to recycle materials. Most of it didn’t make it into the novel, but I’m more knowledgeable for it. At the least, they helped me to describe a few of the scenes with Dylan and Allie in the city.
In addition to all of the above, I even researched small things that I’m sure most of you never even considered such as the time of the attack on Fort Sumter and the phase of the moon in the sky that early morning, the exact pressure at both 10,500ft (the depth of the apex of Oceania’s dome) and 12,000ft (the base of the city). I used paintings of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to describe the scene and images of the real Declaration of Independence itself to describe how the title was written. There are more topics I researched, but it would take longer than it took you to read the book to describe them.
During my research, I considered the issues that currently impede ocean colonization and realistically tried to reason what could be invented by 2276. To make Oceania as believable as possible, I came up with inventions to fill the holes in our current knowledge. Some of them may exist someday, others may not. In the end, I came up with several of my own inventions to compensate for the gaps in technology. All in all, I spent weeks’ worth of research and I loved every moment of it. There are so many amazing things to discover and learn about in our world. So, if you have the time and the desire, look up some of the research links mentioned above. Every bit of it is fascinating (at least to me anyway).
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.