The other night, I was visiting downtown Vegas for the first time in a while, and decided to stop at the locations in my book Blood Trade.
The top picture is not the location of Xochitl’s office on First and Harding (because there is no Harding in Vegas) but it is close to the area where the story takes place and is the kind of block described in the book. There used to be lots of such blocks downtown, but they have mostly been torn down now.
The second picture is Third and Carson, where Xoxhitl disposes of vampire bodies by dropping them in the sewer manhole. I labeled the manhole location for you. It was also a full moon that evening (this was taken at sundown), so I labeled that too.
I didn’t get a picture of the Catholic Church in front of which Xochitl fights a werewolf, though I did look at it as I drove by. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the beautiful garden full of wolfsbane in real life.
Part of the setting for Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike is Rachel Carson High School. It actually went through several different name changes. I wanted a female scientist and I didn’t want to go with the obvious Marie Curie. She should also be an American. I think Rachel Carson is the most important woman (maybe person) that most people don’t know.
Being a teacher, one of the things I enjoyed was playing with the school environment. All of the meals at Rachel Carson are gourmet meals. Every child is dedicated to learning. The students stay after to maintain the school and keep it clean. Every student is on a specific program– designed to lead them in a different direction in life. What are the programs? That will be revealed in a future book.
My novel The Voyage of the Minotaur and the subsequent books in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series are set in an alternate world based very loosely on our own Victorian/Edwardian age. I wrote a bit before about how I came up with the map. Let me now tell you a bit about how I came up with the concept. Originally I was thinking of creating a role-playing game setting. I had seen a few Steampunk campaigns, but none of them really fell in line with what I would have wanted to create. I want my campaigns to be unique. I invisioned a world that was so large that the age of exploration would have taken longer, and it would only be in the nineteenth century when people from Sumir (my Europe equivalent) would venture forth to discover the world. In the distant lands would be primitive tribes and savage civilizations. They would not be human, but other forms of intelligent life. The lower forms of life would match as well. There would be a continent with reptilian people and dinosaurs. There would be a continent with insectoid intelligences and giant monster insects. When the story came to me, and the world became the setting for the story rather than for a role-playing game, I kept the reptilians and dinosaurs and pushed everything else to the back burner.
Although there are a couple of trips in the story, to Vegas and across the country, the main setting for His Robot Girlfriend is southern California. Mike lives at 11 North Willow street Springdale, California 82803. Springdale is a fictional town. I thought it sounded as though it could be in California. I looked in the Zip code book to find an unused zip code number which would fall in California and used it.
Mike’s daugher Harriet live in Greendale, a nearby town. It too is fictional. I was imagining the drive to my mother’s house. She lives in the area of our city known as Green Valley. Or at least she lives near it.
In the story, Mike and Patience go shopping at the mall in Pico Mundo, another nearby town. This was an homage to Dean Koontz and his very excellent book Odd Thomas. Odd Thomas lives in the California town of Pico Mundo, and the mall there plays an important part in that story. If you haven’t read the book, you should.
Several people have commented on the economics of His Robot Girlfriend. What I did was to take the current prices of items and multiply increase them by 4 percent per year to get a price in 2032. Of course I was a bit surprised at what some women pay for shoes and clothes, but that’s how I got the prices. The exception was the price of robots, which I figured would have dropped.
I got this idea from a price list from 1959 that listed a loaf of bread at 20 cents, a new Cadillac at $5,000, a new house at $13,000, but a black and white 19″ TV at $500.
One element of the setting for His Robot Girlfriend was the effect of global warming. It’s hot in 2032– really hot. I think it will be too. Even if we can get our stuff together and stop emitting green house gasses, and let’s face it, that’s not going to happen; it’s already been heating up for several hundred years. It’s not going to suddenly stop.
The earth has been on a cycle of a hundred thousand years of cold and ten thousand years of warm and then then a hundred thousand years of cold again for several million years. Ten thousand years ago the Ice Age ended. It got warmer and warmer and warmer, until about a thousand years ago, then it started getting colder again. Then all of a sudden it got warm. It’s no surprise that sudden uncharacteristic warming began just at the same time as the industrial revolution.
I’m not saying the world is going to end and I’m not saying that the industrial revolution shouldn’t have happened. I am saying that you should buy sunscreen.
His Robot Girlfriend takes place in the year 2032. I don’t think I mention the year in the story text, but I tried to make sure that everything matched. The days of the week and month correspond correctly. I got a 2032 calendar using a tool on the internet. That year will also be both a presidential election year and an olympic year, so there are both going on in the background of the story. Of course I thought some changes might be appropriate, so there are quite a few more states in the US for the election and there are three major political parties– Democrats, Republicans, and Greens. By the way, I plotted out the correct number of electoral votes for the election too.