June 2nd, 2008

Pre-Industrial Revolution Victorian-style fantasy

A mixed bag of questions relating to my original novel (see title for setting), which I though I might as well post here.
The characters involved -
Character S: male, early to mid-thirties, slightly accelerated healing ability and unnaturally good health [due to vampire ancestry], smokes cigarettes and opium, drinks gin and ale - low social class, criminal [card-sharp/thief/assassin]
Character A: male, vampire [247 years old], high social class

The questions:

1.  S has been cursed. The symptoms he has exhibited are as follows and appear over a ten to fourteen day peroid: pale skin (difficult to see, as he has red-brown skin), increased heart rate, coughing up and vomiting blood, and seizures, followed by a descent into a coma-like state. My question is this - what would a good (i.e. expensive) doctor diagnose him as suffering from [assuming he (the doctor) does not believe in magic]?

2. S and A are both 'confirmed bachelors' and in a tentative sexual and emotional relationship.  Assuming this were to be discovered, what would be regarded as more shocking - their sexuality or their respective social classes? (cross-species relationships are not regarded as particularly unusual in this continuum)


 

EDIT: This book is set in a fantasy world, so the 'Victorian' part relates only to dress and attitudes (this world is pre-Industrial Revolution. It is also a world in which vampires and werewolves co-exist (almost) peacably with humans. *edited because I am a forgetful idiot*

1920s-1930s United States

1st Query

Setting:
1920s, a small town in Illinois, within a few hours drive from Chicago. I'd like to develop a town that's big enough enough and close enough to Chicago to pick up on contemporary popular culture and technology, but small enough for there to be a close-knit, small town community feel. The character is a boy, born and growing up in said town, his father is a green grocer.

Any suggestions for real towns I should look up?

Research:
Googled 1920s + Illinois
Read stuff from this website on 1920s life in general.

I've also read this book on 1920s popular culture in general (American Popular Culture through History), but I'm sure that things are going to be different depending on region

Question:
Does anyone know of good resources, anything, that would provide me with day to day life in a small town in Illinois? Oral histories, historical fiction, anything.


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2nd Query

Setting:
1930s East Hollywood and surrounding area.
My character has moved from Illinois to California to work for an animation studio.

Research: I've read the 1930s book for American Pop Cult. Thro. History, and also picked up tidbits about the city and area from reading about the lives of animators living there (Shamus Culhane, Mice and Other Talking Animals, Walt Disney's Nine Old Men by John Canemaker).

Question: But again! If anyone knows any good resources with which I could familiarize myself with the city of Los Angeles, Hollywood area in the 1930s, as far as oral histories, historical fiction, etc--just to get a feel for the environment during the Depression years.

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Thanks in advance! =D