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Friday, May 26, 2017

A Brief History of Oceania as a City

At the time of the story, the summer of 2276, Oceania as already been an underwater city for 146 years. Although Allie is told some of the city’s history, there’s a lot of information not included in the novel. So, I thought you’d like to read a little more about the history of Oceania as a city. The following is only a brief history and will not spoil the contents of the novel.
*Note that the following is fictional and all references of Oceania refer to the fictional underwater city, not the real-world location of Oceania, the region comprised of a group of Pacific Islands.

Oceania was founded in 2130 by the Top 20 Nations (T2N), a coalition of the richest world governments on earth at the time. Residents of the city comprised of people from every country across the globe. One million people populated the city at its inception with all individuals being experts in a variety of fields, professions, and abilities. The residents got along well from the start, creating an engaging environment for research of all kinds and a welcoming environment for all. After settling into jobs, homes, and family life, the residents found the underwater city to be an easy transition.

At first, the connection between Oceania and land was constant, but it was soon determined that Oceania could function quite well on its own without assistance from land. Instead, the connection between the sole underwater city and the surface world became a sharing of ideas and technology more than support.

A few years after the city’s founding, the citizens began to feel a void in the land to sea transition. Missing some comforts of the land world that was lacking in Oceania, the city’s residents started developing their own technology to compensate for it. A focus on finding ways to replicate the land world under the sea drove the city to establish the Entertainment District.

An extensive survey of the ocean floor surrounding the city is conducted. The sediments on the ocean floor are checked for organisms, microbes, and other forms of life to study their potential uses. A large edible species of deep-sea fish is discovered, leading the Oceanian scientists conducting the survey to consider depending on the ocean more for food.

As an underwater city, Oceania had strong ties to the sea from the start. Ocean exploration was a big part of the city’s research focus and within ten years, marine scientists nearly doubled the prior amount of information known about the ocean. Other scientific fields flourished under the special conditions of the sea. Psychologists and sociologists had a unique opportunity to study the effects of artificial sunlight, diurnal simulations, and multi-cultural interactions. The compartmentalized nature of the city helped others to thrive like artists, business people, doctors, educators, and other professionals by having a network of like-minded individuals nearby.

The complete survey of the ocean floor surrounding Oceania for miles in every direction is completed. The discoveries of the survey immensely change the Oceanian way of life. The discovery of a variety of edible deep-sea fish species changes the entire cuisine of the city to more ocean-based and less old world (aka land-dweller) food.

A mechanical error in the robotic bees used to pollinate the plants in the greenhouse sublevel causes a produce shortage for the year, leading the entire city to go on ration and find more uses for the ocean fish they’d been eating.

An undersea earthquake causes the entire city of Oceania to quake for a full twenty seconds. It was the city’s first natural disaster. No major damage occurred outside of plates and other breakables falling inside people’s homes. The survival of the city attested to the greatness of the city’s engineers and architects, making the residents of the city feel invincible against natural disasters.

Contact between Oceania and the land-dwelling world is lost.

A leak in one of the maintenance tunnels to the ocean nearly causes a disastrous flooding of one of the maintenance sectors leading to the rest of the city but was contained at the last moment by the marine engineering team. The only damage was to the maintenance tunnel, which was promptly fixed by the team.

The first OVRR was developed to simulate entertainment experiences unique to land at the time like theme parks, surface water sports, and field sports. It was the final piece in filling the void left from the move underwater.

A fungus-born illness created a small epidemic in the city, leading to an explosion of medical research for the prevention of all sorts of diseases.

Oceania’s diet consists of food sustainably taken from the sea by nearly 80%.

In 2226, Oceania discovered the cure for the common cold, leading to sick days across the city becoming almost nil. Due to the success of the city and the low rate of illness, the population had exploded. In the same year, the Oceanian government implemented a one-child per family policy to slow the rapid growth of the city to a sustainable manner. The policy is set to expire at the start of the year 2336, a 110 years after the initial policy setting.

Oceania celebrates its one-hundredth anniversary with an undersea voyage to the Marianas Trench for the winners of a city-wide raffle.  

To promote marine exploration, a new line of deep-sea exploration vessels are released for scientific research, opening up the ocean for further exploration.

Nearly all research has been reduced to the deep sea and twilight zone. Very little research is done in the photic and intertidal zones.

The year in which the story takes place.

That’s the end of the brief history of Oceania. If you want to learn more about Oceania, you can read the book (if you haven’t already) or wait for the sequel, which will be coming out later this year.

In a couple weeks, I have a blog post coming up that I want suggestions for. If you have any suggestions of anything about the book you want to know more about, or just want to read about, send me an email at elizataye@gmail.com. I may just choose yours to feature!

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. 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 elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How Oceania: The Underwater City Relates to Current Events

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 elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

Photo of the Earth at Night
Photo Credit: NASA

Sources and Further Reading

Image of Earth at Night:

Article on Stephen Hawking’s Statement about Earth’s Extinction: