World building on a post-apocalyptic blank slate

“The possibility of paradise hovers on the cusp of coming into being, so much so that it takes powerful forces to keep such a paradise at bay. If paradise now arises in hell, it's because in the suspension of the usual order and the failure of most systems, we are free to live and act another way.” ― Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell

When the ideas that eventually became Golem & Odd were first germinating  — I believe the first coherent pitch was "Casablanca set in a post-apocalyptic underground city" — Chaim and I had an epiphany about why we like the post-apocalypse sub-genre so much: it’s a blank slate for building a fictional world, not just for us creators, but for the characters too. The familiar has been destroyed, and all of us are challenged to build something new together.

Good post-apocalyptic stories don’t rubberneck at the end of the world, they imagine radical transformation. The status-quo is replaced with the uncanny, and the characters have to cope or perish. In the case of Golem & Odd, the uncanny world is deep underground — and if our heroes are to survive, they’ll have to make up new ways of being human as they go along. So goodbye patriarchy, hierarchy, capitalism… that shit just doesn’t work underground!

What could a new society underground look like? Will it be a nightmare or a utopia? We’ll have to find out together.