I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The local refineries, rail yards, and blues dives all serve as a bit of the inspiration for the mythical Capital City on Beta Prime. Drive to the southeast on I-10 and you’ll be in one of the oldest cities in the United States and North America, New Orleans.
Baton Rouge may be the state capital of Louisiana, but New Orleans certainly sets the tone for the rest of the state when it comes to the state motto: Let The Good Times Roll!
Both cities are filled with historic buildings, New Orleans in particular. The food is great, the people are friendly, and if you love blues or jazz, then you’ve come to the right cities
While different culturally, the people of both towns like to work hard. Both are oil cities and have extensive refining complexes and shipping facilities
Inspiration for Capital City is also drawn from the film Blade Runner. Instead of rain and total darkness as found in Ridley Scott’s version of the future, Capital City is cold, windblown, and at times covered in snow and ice
The weather can be pleasant, well, at least sunny, in Capital City, but the dangerous blue fog is never far away
In terms of architecture the city ranges from modern, clean designs that are pleasing to the eye and are the domain of the wealthy and elite of Beta Prime. The working class live in neighborhoods built via prefab construction materials. The oldest neighborhoods, such as the one Sully and company live and work were often built using shipping containers, a practice used for construction in current times.
It’s not pretty, but it’s fast and apparently fairly easy. In my vision of the future, the initial containers used to ship supplies and equipment to Beta Prime were at the end of their useful lifespan as shipping containers.
Rather than cut the containers up for scrap, they were used to serve as the basis for living quarters and retail areas. With a facade applied, nobody knows what the building materials were until upon closer examination from the inside of the building.
Not all buildings were built from containers. The large open eating area in Joe’s, which doubles for the night club seating at night, was built in a more traditional method, using different prefab construction methods.
I currently reside in Texas, in a suburb of Houston, another energy city with a wide variety of people, transportation facilities, architecture, and industry. My wife Lisa calls Houston a concrete nightmare. I don’t have to travel far for inspiration for my version of Capital City.
The city itself in most hardboiled noir stories can be viewed as a character. I hope as the series continues that readers who follow Sully and his adventures began to recognize Capital City as such, a unique character in its own right. One that plays an important role in the development of the story.