The most highly-respected field of knowledge in my WIP’s world is history. The Alzenians value history because they know how powerfully one’s story can contribute to self-knowledge and self-esteem. They value history because it was robbed from them on Earth, leaving their youth lost and depressed, and they vowed never to let this happen again. The Alzenians have taken three steps to ensure that The Alzena Republic is always remembered.
The Historians are a respectable class of citizens who have devoted their lives to remembering what happened on Earth and recording what happens on Aathizar. They also have the responsibility of identifying eras and events that are ideal symbols for cultivating the nation’s self-perception, as well as negating events and eras that could be harmful to it. Lastly, The Historians advise King Namarian on policy-making and interplanetary affairs.
Children’s books dedicated to History
In the Alzena Republic, children’s books teach young people about Vultures. Vultures is code for cultural cannibals who: 1) oppress and take advantage of people who are different from them, and 2) steal from their cultures without acknowledging them. Vultures also refers to the human beings who are stranded in space after leaving earth shortly after the Alzenians left it. Because many of the vultures in space are descended from oppressors on earth, the Historians advise King Namarian not to allow them to land on Aathizar. Children are taught not to show weakness in front of the vultures, lest they be easily subdued.
If you ever meet a Vulture,
don’t let it see you tremble.
Just stand up for your Culture,
and all your fears dissemble.
The Week of Telling
Once a year, each citizen of the Alzena Republic (ages 5 and up) travels to the Museum of Reclamation and records his or her story from that year so that his or her descendants may always have access to their history (Fun Fact: The Museum of Reclamation is actually the ginormous ship that carried the Alzenians to freedom about 300 years before the story starts). The Week of Telling is a big deal, and a typical Alzenian’s whole year is organized around having something epic to report.
The Alzena Republic is a prosperous nation filled with healthy, self-possessed people. But no nation is without serious flaws. In recording their nation’s history, the Historians also added to and subtracted from it. Some years, they even dictate what their citizens are allowed to discuss in their recordings during the Week of Telling. Although the Alzenian’s brand of history is a better version than any would-be oppressors would create, it is still sometimes inaccurate and incomplete.
There are things my protagonist, Nani, does not know—and when she finally does encounter Vultures, she’s not quite sure what to believe.