There are several story ideas floating through my head right now, which means that the ideas and themes that I’m researching can vary widely. There was the BBQ sauce search I did, buy that’s a little dryer than I’d like (yes, I mean that dry rub pub). So, this time we’re going to talk about eels!
Specifically, eels— and how eels can help your world building. So, Australia has had some eels that seem to appear mysteriously in places that they couldn’t naturally be. The University of Melbourne (winter, 2018) found something stirring in the reedy section of their courtyard pond, and their was picture proof. An eel had appeared, and in an area that was isolated from any watercourse.
Mr. Gillingham started looking into how this could have happened and found information from old topographical maps and Aboriginal knowledge. Melbourne University was in the same place where billabongs and freshwater streams used to exist… and, intriguingly, still do. The streams were moved underground and fitted with storm water drains, but they’re still there! They’ve been a huge part of Australia’s history, and the university is moving to make sure they continue being a part of the country’s history by creating an eel pond on campus.
The eels are continuing to swim through the storm water pipes of the University, and will sometimes poke their heads up out of the ponds and grates throughout the Melbourne University campus. The long-finned eel usually takes a cross-country trip, using ponds, man-made storm water channels, and will leave the water to slide and wriggle about on land so they can hop to another place of water and continue the journey.
But this opens up a grain of thought for writers. What else have cities, and in this case universities, built on top of?
Seattle, Washington has an underground city. The city we know today was built on top of the previous one because that one burnt down in 1889. Athens and Rome are also built over other ruins, and a great example in the book War World Z, the catacombs in France played a large part in France’s battle against the undead. To add a bit of worldbuilding to your place, don’t just think about where people are walking, but think about what they could be walking on.