sebenikela: (Default)
From tumblr again, more ramblings thanks to @honouraryweasley:

ALSO @powerfulkittyfacepanties and I were talking about Panem’s economy, and how people in the districts are paid and how the Capitol functions economically and I think the general consensus was “badly” but do you have any more specific thoughts?

Do I have more specific thoughts? hoboy. This is gonna get long.

nerdsniped )
sebenikela: (Default)
map of panem

I've written about Panem geography and logistics before (geography in general, D9, D6), but now I need to think about things like where the rail lines are and which ones are good sabotage targets and the MS Paint sketch maps were no longer cutting it.

The cool thing about North America is that there's a ton of geographic data available for free online. Which meant that the best thing to do (as someone who is not very artistic) was to go from MS Paint to QGIS. Which is to say, COMPLETE OVERKILL. You could actually use this map for navigation, if the things on it existed.

What's here that's new:

The blue lines are the coastline after a 50m sea level rise. The number's fairly arbitrary, this just gave me something interestingly different, while a 100m rise got into unrecognizable territory. (Climate change is kinda scary, folks).

The red lines are railroad lines. I started with a map of current rail lines, followed them where possible especially in mountainous areas, and tried to make sure sensible things were connected. The rail system is also constructed in typical Panem fashion for Capitol control first and efficiency second. So for example, there is no direct connection between D8 and D9 or D3 and D4, even though there logically would be, because it's easier to control travel when it goes through fewer junction points.

Cities are based loosely on current cities: D9's capital city is modern-day St. Louis, D8 is Minneapolis-St. Paul. D13 is in Ontario, near a graphite mine there. D5 is based on oil and gas locations in the Dakotas, Alberta, and Montana, plus opportunities for hydropower and geothermal (we know there's hydro from the amazing dam scene in the MJ1 movie--I take or leave movie canon in general but damn, that scene stays). Other than that, I've talked about why 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11 are where they are already (in the links above).

Obviously this is overthinking everything. But whatever, I enjoy it.
sebenikela: (Default)
District Six is the place I’ve written most about, but I haven’t sat down and written up all my worldbuilding headcanons in one place, because it’s gotten build up fairly organically, as I wrote bits and pieces of Rokia’s story. So I figure I may as well get it collected in one place.

So, the first question is what, exactly, D6 does. “Transportation” is a bit vague, and movie-verse and book-verse differ (e.g. in the first book, Katniss says D3 makes cars, but the movies suggest that happens in 6). I borrowed from deathmallow the idea that D6 mines iron and refines steel—and I would add that they probably mine and refine other metals as well. Then it only makes sense for them to do things like casting (I-beams, pipes, rebar, etc), as well as making automotive, train, and hovercraft parts. Also, things like earth-moving equipment, farm machinery—basically most things large and metal are made in factories in Six. Major repairs are done here too, in shops like the one Rokia’s Uncle Salif runs. Those shops have contracts with the Capitol, which can be revoked at any time, and are only given to proven loyalists. The contracts can be passed along or inherited, pending Capitol approval.

Six is also the railroad hub. There’s an extensive network of intra-district trains which are all for cargo, as well as inter-district cargo and passenger trains. In order to work inter-district trains, you have to have completed school up through your final Reaping, after which you go through several months of intensive training, loyalty testing, and propaganda. Most people start on the “shit trains”— lines between 9, 10, and 11 which do carry actual shit. Or manure if you want to be fancy. You can work your way up into better routes and eventually passenger trains from there. Contact between cargo crews and citizens of other districts is very limited—crews are not allowed to leave specified loading zones, or to fraternize with cargo loaders in the districts. Trains are spot-checked periodically and weighed to prevent smuggling. Despite this, there’s quite a few crews by 75 who are secretly collecting information and planning sabotage operations for the rebellion (fic in progress).

Like in 12, there’s hierarchies within the district: The top of the ladder are people who work directly for the Capitol—the Mayor, logistics managers, people working for the Peacekeepers (Sara’s parents). Then come passenger train crews, along with people like Salif who have shops or businesses. Then cargo crews, factory workers, casters and smelters, and at the bottom, miners. Other workers can also get sent to the mines for minor crimes.

Geographically, I’ve put D6 in an area from what’s now Chicago, to Toledo and up through Michigan. It’s split into several different cities, on the basis that the Capitol wants to avoid having too many people in one place—it’s easier to control people if they’re split up, because you’re less likely to get a critical mass of rebels in one place.

The district’s placement is partly historical—obviously, Chicago has been a big railroad town since the railroad existed, and if anywhere represents “Transportation” it’s Detroit and environs. It’s also partly resource-based. There are iron mines (and a couple copper mines) in a band from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through to northern Minnesota, what I refer to in fic as “North Country.” In Panem, there is also a fair bit of “mining” from old landfills and the crumbling half-submerged ruins of Detroit.

Coal for smelting and casting comes in on trains from 12, and smelting happens around Toledo. There’s other towns that specialize in casting, automotive parts, and so forth. And the main manufacturing and railroad hub, which I call Three Rivers, where Rokia lives when she’s Reaped, and where the Victors’ Village is located, is near current-day Chicago. Transportation between cities is strictly regulated. The cargo trains often have a passenger car, but in order to travel you have to have a pass signed by the Peacekeepers. You can only get a pass if you’re traveling for work. So, for example, Rokia and her mom can go from the North Country down to the city because Salif has offered her mom a job.

The different areas in the district do have some cultural particularities. The district as a whole tends to be ethnically mixed—as the area is now, but with a few hundred more years of inter-marrying. Race tends to be viewed as along a spectrum rather than a categorical—which is not to say there’s no racism. Lighter skin is “more attractive” and darker skinned people tend to be poorer. People who live in the North Country tend to be darker-skinned, and there’s a lot of Muslim and West African influences. Partly because Michigan (granted, near Detroit) has a high Muslim population now, but mainly because I live in Mali and wanted to borrow some cultural influences. So Rokia’s family’s names are Arabic-origin Malian names, her grandmother still follows some permutation of daily prayers and tells Rokia stories about the djinn. And when Rokia and Sara get married Rokia’s grandma paints their hands with henna. North Country names like Rokia’s are considered “provincial” or old-fashioned, especially in Three Rivers. So Salif’s wife Magda, who’s from the city, names their kid “Jack,” but Salif only agrees because that’s short for “Diakaridia” even though nobody is allowed to call him that.

The city is also where most of D6’s drug problems are—although they leach out all over, as Rokia’s mom will attest. The “morphling district” thing is actually more fanon than canon—canon only says that the Victors from 6 in the Quarter Quell are morphling addicts. I see the problem as somewhere on the level of 90s-era Baltimore, or Detroit—it’s a major problem, it drives crime, but obviously you can’t have everyone in the district addicted to an opioid and have the place still function. As far as how it gets there—well, safety is a low priority, and it’s easier to give industrial workers painkillers than to prevent accidents or give them proper physical therapy. Other drugs can get smuggled off of trains transporting them or home-brewed from industrial chemicals which are all over. And since morphling addicts are passive, and keeping the place dangerous is to the Capitol’s advantage, the Peacekeepers mostly turn a blind eye. Or take a cut. Patriotic citizens, like Rokia’s uncle, will use the drug problem as an example of why the Capitol is necessary: see what happens when people are left to their own devices? See why we need the Peacekeepers to take a hard line? We need their protection.
sebenikela: (Default)
So, remember the post I made, way back when, about Panem geography and such?
(over here)

And remember how I said I was going to write a fic about D9 for the Mary Sue Big Bang (you guys should write OC fic with me it'll be fun)?

Yeah. So today I COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY nerd-sniped myself when I realized the USDA provides free data downloads of crop harvested area on a by-county basis, and that I could therefore not only plan more precisely where I should put District Nine, but also where the wheat-growing crew my protagonist belongs to would be at what times.

So now my "Hunger Games Fic References" folder now includes R code and QGIS files. Don't ask me man, I don't know either.

Maps and more maps )
sebenikela: (Default)
First of all, this massive and ridiculous post is all [livejournal.com profile] penfold_x's fault. She got me started on Panem geography and logistics and it is EATING MY BRAIN so I spent the morning writing this instead of entering data. Priorities, whatever.

Click for more than you ever wanted to know )
sebenikela: (Default)
So today I was harvesting maize (corn) by hand in 95-degree (35-sensible-degree) heat. For my job this counts as a good day, but only because I don't have to do it every day.

Harvesting maize does not require my full attention, so I started thinking about Hunger Games things,like you do when you're avoiding thinking about stressful things (oh, is that just me?). And because of harvesting maize, I was thinking about District 9.

I don't think many people actually think about District 9, just like not that many people think about, say, Nebraska, or South Dakota, or Manitoba on any given day, but I think it could actually be fascinating.

No really, hear me out.

Agriculture in the Great Plains is already super mechanized, there are tractors and combines that are the size of small houses and harvest thousands of acres in a day. Panem has a problem with low population, so I'm pretty sure they've got very good at producing a lot of food with a few people and some very sophisticated machines (this is where, earlier today, I wondered if Panem has sattellites generally and GPS in particular, which is relevant but not critical to this agro-tech ramble).

Which means that District 9 probably has a few scattered crop-production centers with something like 10 people responsible for growing hundreds of square miles/kilometers of row crops, probably with zones for various (rotations of) cereals/legume field crops and some seed-production and research areas (with visiting scientists/geneticists from 3). If those have North-South gradients (which is likely), the settlements might actually move as planting/harvest season shifts from south to north (this is a thing that happens now with custom combine crews). Maybe in the winter they all come to a central town to work. Central town probably looks more like Six than Eleven (where they produce horticultural crops that require a lot more manual labor). No really: equipment maintenance, grain mills, ethanol plants, lots of trains bringing grain from all the far flung outposts. There's probably fertilizer storage (hey, Rebellion, want some ammonium nitrate?). Nine is probably a huge consumer of (expensive, relatively scarce) diesel fuel, unless someone has invented a solar-powered combine (I doubt it).

What I'm saying is that this is actually a much more interesting district than "Grain" seems to indicate and someday I will maybe actually write something about it. But in the meantime, maybe someone else wants to think about a lonely combine driver in the wilds of Manitoba just waiting for harvest to be over so she can go hang out in the booming metropolis in Des Moines (or wherever) for the winter working in a tesserae packing plant or an ethanol refinery and talking to more than like 6 other people. Or not, and I'll just keep this here as a brain-dump for later.

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