Locations–Settings

Waknuk

David’s home town, also the name of his father’s farm. It is a small agricultural community, part of the larger theocracy of Labrador. The neighbouring town is Kentak. On a present-day map, Waknuk can be identified with Wabush in south-western Labrador, adjacent to Labrador City.

Labrador

A Christian fundamentalist civilisation which arose in North America centuries after a nuclear holocaust (dimly remembered as “Tribulation,” and attributed to the wrath of God). In the time of the novel, Labrador society is at a technological level roughly comparable 18th-Century America – possessing sailing ships and firearms, but no heavy industry. The capital of Labrador, on the coast down river from Waknuk, is Rigo (Rigolet, in the real world). The island of Newf (Newfoundland) is also civilised, but knowledge of the rest of the world is vague and colored by religious dogma. The inhabitants of Labrador and Newf appear to be normal humans who have retained the pre-Tribulation phenotype; they believe it is their sacred mission to preserve this form, and all other species decreed by God, against the rampant mutations which have continued since the fall of Tribulation.

Wild Country

Frontier lands, lying south and south-west of Waknuk, where the chance of breeding true is still less than 50%. Some Offences among crops and animals have to be tolerated here.

Fringes

The enigmatic land beyond Wild Country. Apparently suffered heavier radioactive contamination than the rest of Labrador, being closer to the original nuclear bombings. It is essentially a lawless land and subject to uncontrolled mutation. This is also where the unfortunate human mutants from civilised Labrador communities are exiled. Examples include Gordon (the spider-man), and Sophie. The monstrous inhabitants of the Fringes are semi-mythical among Labrador people, subjects of folk tales and cautionary children’s stories.

Badlands

Outside of the Fringes. These lands are still dangerously radioactive, and it is believed that anyone who sets foot there will die. Sailors who navigate along the Badlands coast south of Newf report seeing a jungle of fantastic mutations. David’s uncle Axel describes tree-sized grasses, succulents like houses with 10-foot spines, cable-like climbing plants which grow directly into the sea, unnameable beasts and birds. Conventional Labrador teaching is that most of the world consists of Badlands, although explorers have discovered other populated regions further south.

Black Coasts

The sites of past nuclear detonations, at the center of the Badlands: a series of blasted, barren regions where the ground is fused into black glass, where nothing can grow, and even the waters offshore are sterile. Any close approach by ship leads to sickness and usually death; observers who survived told of city ruins which glow faintly in the dark.

“Sealand”

New Zealand, which was isolated enough to largely escape the holocaust. Advanced industrial civilisation has arisen here again, and telepathy has become universal among the populace. Zealanders were unaware of the distant Labrador civilisation, until one of their strongest telepaths picked up Petra Strorm’s prodidgious thought transmissions. (The letter Z has been forgotten in Zealand, causing David and Rosalind to mispronounce the name Zealand).

 

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