When we last left off in this newsletter, I was starting to read the notes from many thoughtful readers who dove into an early draft of my novel, Surrender. One of the repeated suggestions was to provide a Glossary of Terms, since the place and time in the book doesn’t yet exist, and maybe nobody would know what in the world I was talking about? Good point. It turned out to be fun to write the glossary, and it clarified my thinking. I’ve reproduced some of it below for your amusement. (If it looks like too much to read in an email, you can skip to the later items, including my manifesto for 2022, a blog post about what I’ve learned about teaching online for USC, and why no writing is ever wasted.)
Glossary of Terms
Protective curtains, often programmed to move into place automatically, that shield living and work spaces from the powerful morning heat of the sun and its damaging UV radiation.
Originally called communications devices, or simply “phones,” comms have come to signify both a suite of devices and a concept. Citizens are assigned a number-letter string identifier at birth (or rebirth) and this unique identifier is embedded into all of their handheld, personal, and residential devices. Comms are used for communication, research, accessing the Feed (see Feed, The), image and audio capture, tracking, and data storage.
A nation-state. Casually abbreviated as “dom.”
Since the planetary collapse of all entertainment, news, and political networks, efficiency has dictated that all information be delivered to citizens via the Feed. The Feed is updated continually and delivered to all comms devices. (See Comms.) The Feed is administered by each Domain (see Domain) under the supervision (but not control) of the Planetary Administrator. (See Planetary Administrator.)
A traditional home outfitted on pontoons so it may float on the rising coastal waters. Floating homes were first adopted in the 21st century in the countries formerly known as Thailand and the Netherlands, and later adapted for use worldwide.