Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Would Jane Austen Do?

I did some research today on my upcoming novel. Surprisingly, the research was on Regency England. Yes, I’m writing a science fiction novel, but I’m also writing about an oppressive, colonial society with very a strict social order—but a lot of privilege, luxury, jostling for influence and standing. Well, privilege for the ruling class. The higher your rank and title, the more of the good stuff you get. It’s not so much fun for the grunts.

I got some good ideas about how high society worked in Regency England. Salons and spa holidays and gambling. Economy and fashion—because Napoleon Bonaparte linked the two… who knew? He made the men wear white britches to court, and made the women wear new gowns every time they came. So they had to buy more clothes all the time. And gowns with trains came into fashion, so people had to buy more fabric. And he banned the import of foreign textiles. Also, women who had big fortunes could afford to wear white dresses all the time because they are high maintenance to keep clean and pristine. All good details for my book.

I don’t know if I can quite use everything, but I think it’s some interesting stuff.

For instance bonnets and gloves were important in England, but they wouldn’t be on a interstellar space ship. Not much chance for a tan. But what happens when they arrive on a planet that they need to build into a flourishing society from scratch????? What would be the most prestigious? A tan or pale skin?

Just some details to consider, which might add life and body.

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