Sunday, 14 September 2014
"Ardaig was sizeable, must hold two or three million souls. This quarter was ancient, with buildings of gray stone fantastically turreted and battlemented."
- Poul Anderson, "Day of Burning" IN Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), pp. 208-272 AT p. 223.
Ardaig is a city on the planet Merseia. Anderson must make it different from a Terrestrial city but not very different because Merseia is terrestroid and Merseians are oxygen-breathing bipeds. When Merseia is unified, Ardaig becomes the planetary capital. Later, it is joined in this role by modern antipodal Tridaig, where most of the government's business is conducted, although Ardaig remains the cultural and artistic center, the location both of the Roidhun's primary residence and of his Grand Council's annual meetings, and also becomes the location of the new Space Navy offices.
Ardaig and Tridaig embody tradition and technology, respectively. Ardaig differs from a Terrestrial city because:
it is neither bright nor busy at night;
ground vehicles are confined to tubeways or a few avenues;
streets are for pedestrians or gwydh riders;
recreation is at home or in ancient theaters and sports fields;
shops are small and have been run by the same family in the same house for generations - although there are also mercantile centers with communicator and delivery systems;
pavements are luminous;
street signs are not words but colorful heraldic emblems.
Those last details in particular are different and imaginative.