Homeward Bounders (was Re: Bujold Bibliography in Haiku)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Sep 14 11:23:24 EDT 2005

Charlie wrote:

>FWIW, in DWJ's 2001 interview with me (collected in Exciting and Exacting
>Wisdom) she identifies the city that inspired HB as Bristol:
>"I do know that Bristol inspired The Homeward Bounders (1981), which was
>one of the first books I wrote when we got here. I think it’Äôs because
>there are an enormous number of triangular towers and curious places in
>Bristol, and you seem to go from the ancient to the modern in two easy
>steps: you seem to be in two different worlds, almost instantly."

Further to this: I asked DWJ today about this, and she explained:

"Strange triangular or perhaps wedge-of-pie gaps in town are certainly a
feature of Bristol, and there is a triangular building near the Cumberland
Basin, just across the water from here, that I'm sure must be full of
people wargaming because I can't think what on earth else it is for and I
can't think why they need a *huge* roll-up garage door in the side wall at
the end that's too narrow for even a Mini to fit across, but the town in
the book is one of those Lancashire mill towns where the canals and the
railway sort of weave, and there are aqueducts, which Bristol doesn't have.
Somewhere a bit like Oldham but not really any one of them in particular.
It being Lancashire explains how he came not to know about cricket --
Lancashire was very late getting into the game, and they were a minor
county for a long while as a result."

So it's a made-up town with bits from all over, really, which I don't find
entirely surprising.

Apparently when they were house-hunting, she and John looked at several of
the strange houses in the middles of blocks, including one that was a
free-standing triangle-ish (is that a trapezoid? one end almost coming to a
point, the other end much longer, two walls the same length joining them,
anyhow[1]), but didn't buy them because mostly they didn't seem to be on
any mains services, or had only two bedrooms but two utility rooms and four
bathrooms and a *huge* kitchen in the cellar, or had other minor drawbacks.
:-)  Personally, I'm amazed she ended up in a house as normal as the one
they have.  Apart from having two ground floors, one above the other, it's
positively ordinary!

[1]     ______
       /      \
      /        \
     /          \
    /            \
   /______________\   is what I mean.


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