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Chapter 1 - An Introduction to Speculative Cartography

In which the author attempts to convince the reader that there is more to this enterprise than sophistry and guesswork.

First, a word about attributions:

When I quote from one of Steve's books, it will look like this:

Above the doorway was a particularly detailed sign in which an Athyra was flying over a map of the Empire. (Iorich, Chapter 5)

I have refrained from using page numbers, and have instead opted for chapters. This is due primarily to the fact that I've gone through multiple editions of some of Steve's books, and the page numbers proved unreliable.

When I quote a person (usually Steven Brust himself, as in this example), the speaker should be made clear in the text around the quote, which will look like this:

Vlad is a lousy geographer.


I started this project after contacting Steven Brust and asking him if he had a map he was willing to share.

His response was,

I'm sorry, the only little mapoid things I have are for my own reference, and I don't let them out of the house; there's no telling what mischief they'd get into.

I constructed the first version of this map using only the published novels, but along the way, I discovered some passages that seemed to contradict one another.

After I published the first version of this map, I contacted him again and told him about these places where the text seemed to contradict itself, to which he replied:

The text almost certainly contradicts itself. Most likely by accident, though it's possible one or two were deliberate.

He went on to agree to discuss a few questions I had about the geography of Dragaera, a conversation that ended just this side of a formal interrogation.

Even with his help, there were a number of contradictions I could not resolve. In those situations, I have tried to find the simplest change I could make to the text that allowed me to resolve the contradiction.

I will illustrate the decisions I make by using images that are probably best referred to as diagrams and not as maps proper. They will build on the previous work (so you can watch the coastline of Dragaera evolve, so to speak), and will be very generalized (for instance, I will use straight lines to connect known points along the coast, rivers, mountains and roads).

The final map I drew was based on the work contained in this document, but the subtle nuances of coastlines, rivers, roads, and the underlying terrain are purely guesswork on my part, and reflect my sense of aesthetic more than any deductive powers I might possess.


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Questions? Comments? Please contact me at dragaera [at] bryann.net.

Copyright © 2011 Bryan Newell, unless otherwise noted.