Got a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas and I've been loving it. The latest issue inspired several things in my mind. Here's one that fits this board:
The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) being built in Europe (a 17-mile particle accelerator and bit smasher) was one of the features. Of course, NatGeo has a map to go with each of its articles because that's what makes geography fun...maps! Anyway, there was this huge ring showing where the completed LHC will be built with sites for all the instruments and widgets that particle physicists love to manipulate. And there was only one note-worthy town/village/city directly over the LHC. All the others were a mile or more away. This one was right over it. Right. Over. It.
So here's the idea: what would happen to a person (or heck, the whole population!) who lived in said village? I'm thinking superpowers or cancer-resistant blood types or sterility or nothing at all except life on top of smashed atoms, all kinds of fears plaguing an otherwise mundane French village.
Yeah, it should definitely become the site of all kinds of strange events, miracles, mysteries, sightings, signs, and wonders. Fear would make some of these manifest--and would likely draw those spiritual entities that are drawn to human fear. It could become the French version of the Bermuda Triangle.
The village in question is Crozet, France. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found the following chart (I added the last entry as a speculation about what might happen after the LHC is completed and fired up for the first time):
Did the fertility rate in Crozet go up or did it suddenly become the world's best place to work and play? How would a small, isolated, ski resort village and commune deal with such an overnight explosion of people? How would the world react? Who are the three note-worthy people that push the figure from a rounded estimate to an exact number?
For some reason, the geographer in me is wanting to write about this. We'll see where it goes.
I can't speak to all your questions, myrthman, but I've got a little experience living in what had traditionally been a small town that then suddenly got large.
For five years I lived in a little town called Sisters, Oregon. It's in Central Oregon, well east of the coast (read: no rain), nestled in the ponderosa and aspen forests of the Cascades mountain range. The small downtown area is built according to a 19th century motif and the town is host to many "quaint" events, like an international quilt show. During these, they basically shut the town down to anything but foot traffic.
For a century the town has been small. A rare find for people--people who then kept quiet about it, secretly planning to move there when they could. In the 1990s people began to "discover" Sisters en masse. Mostly it was California retirees looking for a nice home in the mountains/forest, a home that didn't cost as much as it did in CA.
When we moved there in 1999 the change was in full flow. The real estate people there had discovered that they could charge near-California rates for land and housing and the new folks would gladly pay it--because these were lower than CA prices. When we got there, it was rare to find someone living there who had lived there almost all his or her life. Just about everyone else had moved there from somewhere else. That was bizarre. Indeed, people who had been born there couldn't afford to live there anymore!
Even so, there was a great antagonism between the "old timers" (even if they'd been there only 8 years) and the new people. The new people wanted a movie theater and a McDonald's and cable Internet and such. The old people wanted 1) a return to the slower and simpler and cheaper days and 2) for all these new people to leave.
Every town hall meeting would erupt in the argument between these two factions. But despite lots of complaining, the city always sided with the faction that would result in more positive development for the city. Now they have their McDonald's and movie theater and cable Internet.
There's construction happening all the time. Office buildings, commercial development, new neighborhoods, "affordable" housing (quadplexes, etc.), and the like. You can't turn around without spotting the dug-up earth and skeletons of new structures going up. With the influx of new money the schools have been refurbished, City Hall has been rebuilt, and they've built a new library.
It's true that it's losing its quaint, small town, look-at-this-secret-place-I've-discovered aura and feeling more like a big city (or like Aspen or Santa Fe, maybe). But there doesn't appear to be any stopping it. For better or worse, Sisters is transitioning from one thing to another.
I hate it when that happens. The little town where I went to High School, where my parents have lived since 1975 and still live there in the same old house has been overrun by Austin. When we moved there, there was one blinking yellow light on the highway and the population was about 1000. There was nothing but empty highway and a few remote homes back in the hills for the 20 miles or so between Dripping Springs and Austin. Now you can't see past all the development; there are at least 4 traffice lights on the highway and the the town is no longer that small town. The prices have matched Austin, yuck, and it has basically become a bedroom community for Austin. My folks would like to sell the house because it's right near the highway, but they could not replace it anywhere else in the area for the same amount of money. And they don't want to leave the area, they just want to move a little further away.
Progress has its place; but it's gotten a bit out of hand. I like small towns. REAL small towns. Yeah, that's why I live in the Metroplex!
Funny you should mention Dripping Springs. As I was reading Jeff's post, I was thinking of two central Texas towns: Wimberley and Buda. I've only heard that Wimberley has had a growth explosion recently but I have personal experience with Buda.
I played a little league soccer game there when I was 10 or 11. At the time there was a small residential area with a small sports complex, a grain elevator, and a truck stop/Burger King on the highway. Now, it's practically merged with south Austin, there's a Cabella's store, and who knows how many residential areas. But they still do their annual wiener-dog races in the old downtown.
And then there's Martindale. A modern ghost town. A blink-and-you-miss-it speed trap on a state highway with only two traffic lights that both blink yellow. The downtown area is a bunch of empty store fronts, still advertising 5 cent coffee and a 10 cent haircut. Our most recent development? A private investor has purchased downtown Martindale and issued bumper stickers that read "Believe in Martindale." I have no idea what his plans for our little burg are but maybe, just maybe, there will be something to draw people and grow this little town.
Post by Spokane Flyboy on Mar 7, 2008 2:13:04 GMT -5
Martindale sounds a bit like Luckenbach; that's just a cul-de-sac with a broken down cotton gin, broken parking meter, a broken pay phone and a flock of chickens that live in a tree. I've been there!
AHHHHH!!!!! The song's stuck in my head now!
John Morgan[br][br]"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - [i]The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story[/i] by Richard Bach
The December 2008 issue of National Geographic would be worth it to any Christian spec fic author to buy or borrow a copy. There's an article by novelist, etc. John Updike about Mars that includes a brief reference to C.S. Lewis' space trilogy. The cover article details Herod the Great, the ancient world's architect. Good reading! Good ideas!