Hey there, everyone! Usagi here. We’re quite excited to be apart of the blog tour for “Horde”, the final (and quite frankly, most awesome) book in the “Razorland” trilogy. Today, Aguirre has been kind enough to write a guest post on her research process for this final book, as well as other stuff too.
So, without further ado, Ann Aguirre on her research!
I’m here to talk about the research I did for Horde, and I’ll try to make it interesting, though I’m unsure if a list of the nonfiction I read before I started writing would be very compelling. Plus, the books I recommend are already in the author’s note. So let’s come at this from another angle.
Like many kids, I studied the Civil War in school. We touched on it at briefly in elementary school, took a longer look in junior high, and then in high school we delved deeper. At the time, interest in the Civil War was on the rise between a bad miniseries (The Blue & the Gray) and a good movie (Glory). I remember being shocked by what I learned… and that’s saying something because I was majorly obsessed with World War II when I was twelve. I read all sorts of terrifying things, but to my mind, the Nazis were scarcely even human. I know now that’s not true, and it makes the atrocities even more horrifying.
The events of the Civil War took place on our own soil, brother versus brother. It was a bloody modern war in some respects, like casualties, while in terms of medicine and treatment for soldiers, it was wretchedly primitive. For a long time, the death toll held at approximately 620.000, which is staggering. But in 2012, new research came to light, not long before I started writing Horde. According to Professor Hacker, the new total should be close to 750,000 (and in my opinion, his research is credible and compelling). More interesting, neither the north, nor the south are disputing his findings.
But that got me thinking. In Outpost, I had established the technology available in my dystopian world, and I knew there would be war in Horde. The new info regarding the American Civil War reminded me of what I’d learned in high school and reminded me that it would be the perfect type of ground war. Since Salvation had rifles (and they were the most technophobic of the towns), all of the human settlements would have at least that much advancement in weapons. However, without munitions and factories, they were all pretty squarely limited to early 19th century type of guns. With the exception of Soldier’s Pond, who had a storehouse of old modern weapons and ammo, the other towns had to make ammunition by hand. Replacement parts, likewise, had to be cast. But in the Razorland world, there are few humans left in comparison to the Civil War. The North had around 22 million while the South had 12.5 million, including the 3.5 million who were enslaved.
By contrast, the number of humans scattered throughout the US and Canada is fractional. But they did have guns. And walls. The Freaks had numbers, but they were primitive and had barely sorted out using fire. It would make for a compelling fight, I thought. So I dug in and read the books I list in the author’s note, trying to see how I could adapt what I knew about the Civil War to a future conflict. I hope I succeeded.
Readers, do you know any interesting historical trivia? If so, share it with me!
And thank you so much for having me on the blog.