We’re going through a building boom here in Melbourne, Australia. Particularly in our little corner of suburbia, where the building regulations were recently changed, only months after a council heritage listing was overturned.
Now, instead of being a post-World War 2 streetscape of single-story houses on quarter acre blocks, we can build up to three houses on the block, and in our particular street we can build up to three storeys high. On streets nearby that goes up to six storeys.
As you can imagine, there are cranes popping up everywhere. Every time you walk around the neighbourhood it seems another yellow planning permit notice has gone up.
In the City of Melbourne itself—especially around the docklands—high-rise office buildings and apartment housing are going up at the same rate. Or being pulled down. [No parks or open spaces, sadly. 🙁 ]
In a recession, building stops almost altogether for a while. But there’s usually some building going on. Or demolition.
Which begs the question. Why aren’t science fiction and fantasy worlds full of building sites?
When a world is wealthy, it builds. When a world is undergoing expansion, it builds.
In space, we have some massive cities, but no-one’s building them. They’re always there, fully formed.
The rich live in modern, state-of-the-art multi-storey towers. The poor live in buildings that are condemned. But there’s not a building site in sight, and rarely a mention of one.
Thus, in the interests of adding reality, we added building construction to the world we created in Alliance (book two of Linesman).
Haladea III—formerly an agrarian world—has become the capital of the newly-formed New Alliance of governments. Seventy governments and their support staff have set up there, along with a combined military fleet.
They’re building. Boy are they building. The infrastructure is stretched. The richest woman on world is Trenery “We dispose of your disposals” King, who’s raking in the credits managing waste. New buildings are going up daily, old ones being torn down. The planet is one massive building site.
So we wrote it all in, even integrating some of the construction into the story.
When we’d finished we sent it off to our agent, to get her feedback.
She came back with:
“Too many mentions of all the construction on New Haladea. Cut by 50% or more.”
So we cut, and you’ll find she was right, because there’s still a lot of construction in the novel.