The physicality and specificity of the campus of the Poseidon Colonial Military Academy—one of the colonies’ two main officer-candidate schools and the eponymous locus dramatis of part one of the Chronicle—has been a good example of the dialogue between the background materials and the book itself.
In creating a map, I drew on the imagery in Poseidon’s first few drafts. It seemed natural to start with the academy’s IRL counterpart (the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD) and augment it with additional complexes. Blenheim Palace became a stand-in for the Manorhouse, for example. I scaled everything to the same size and dropped it onto a fondly-remembered geography from the west coast of Wales, whence a handful of geographic names are taken, most prominently (Saint) Bride’s Bay northwest of the campus.
Mapping the campus is about more than creating a neato graphic. It’s important to track where the characters are, and how long it takes them to get from place to place. It also becomes a feedback loop. When the map was made, I more-or-less arbitrarily designated adjacent buildings as the infirmary and chapel. (USNA friends tell me that PCMA’s Frand Infirmary is actually Ward Hall.) A scene in which Abigail visits the infirmary existed from the earliest drafts, but only after creating the map did I realize that, having hinted that she is more religious than we might expect, I have placed her right next to the chapel—so let’s go into the chapel, and that became the starting-point for a scene in act three.
Because almost none of the buildings’ names are mentioned in the text, when it came to denominating them on the map (which lives in Appendix 2), I felt pretty free to make this the place for some serious hat-tipping.
- Several of the wizards who made BSG get buildings named after them: Moore & Eick Halls are obvious, but there’s also the Hudolin Barracks (production designer Richard Hudolin), the Seklir Athletics Complex (editor Andy Seklir, IRL USNA cognates Michelson & Chauvenet Halls and Ingram Field), the McNutt Building (D.P. Steve McNutt), the aforementioned Frand Infirmary (the late Harvey Frand), and, I thought fittingly, the (Glen) Larson Chapel.
- Two in-universe characters, Margaret Cavendish and Bethany Page (respectively, the Pican first President of the Colonies and the Canceran Admiral who takes the helm of the newly-created Colonial Fleet, who first appeared in Atalanta) get buildings named for them.
- The Maplethorpe Building… Well, I’ll let you figure that one.
- Last but never least, Haran Hall (USNA cognate Nimitz, which is admittedly neither mighty nor black, but is at least somewhat stumpy) is named for Doctor Brady Haran. I think he might be tickled that, of all the buildings his name might adorn, it’s on one that is, both in-universe and IRL… A library.
(For more on the Crest, see this post.)