I spent most of my day at the Seattle Public Library — trying to navigate the peculiar (but interesting) architecture, and rifling through 120-year old maps. The “Seattle Room” is on the tenth floor; and there, I found a local history collection where I was assisted by a very competent librarian to whom I did not even need to explain “steampunk.” Indeed, we did verily converse about Bioshock and China Mieville, so score one for the library system and its damn fine hiring practices.
The point of this excursion was to acquire a close-view map of 19th century downtown Seattle — preferably one that was drawn before the fire in 1889. This map would then be totally deconstructed and given some of the place name highlights from Boneshaker; so I didn’t necessarily need to find absolute perfection or anything — just something from which to work.
A convoluted series of events followed, culminating in the aforementioned super-cool librarian emailing me some hard-to-reach PDFs … and finally, I had what I needed in an 1884 municipal survey. And there was great rejoicing! I’ll noodle around with it tomorrow and see if I can’t make the events of Boneshaker fit some kind of reasonable visual pattern.
God, I hope this works.*
* And you never know — it might not. Anything can happen. But I’m really loving the idea of a cool little map in the start of the book.