Worldbuilding June Day 5: Bensala
Bensala is a corruption of Bensalem – the fictional Utopia described in Francis Bacon’s novel ‘New Atlantis’.
In the early nineteenth century, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, a cult appeared in France led by a woman who claimed to be a descendant of Kleito – the wife of Poseidon whose sons had been rulers of the original Atlantis. She attracted followers from all over the world, but as the Napoleonic era drew to an end, the cult and it’s members acquired a small fleet and set sail into the Atlantic Ocean never to be heard from again by the rest of the world. In fact, they had set out to actually build their New Atlantis.
The city is located deep in the Arctic surrounded by ice bergs. There one, if they’re very lucky, might find a glass dome protruding from the ocean about 200 meters across supported by a lattice of steel. However, that is just the surface – most of the city is located under water within a vast cavern.
The architecture is hodge-podge of ancient civilisations – Greco-Roman pillars, Pyramids, Chinese gardens. While a class of engineers has to constantly maintain the integrity and functioning of the city, much of the remainder of the population is devoted to art and science and so paintings, murals and sculptures are found in every space. All of this uses a variety of materials, from steel, stone, and concrete to ice and pykrete.
All of this of course has to be lit artificially and so there are deeper levels where the geo-thermal power generators as well as sewage and manufacturing facilities, and all the machinery required to keep the Utopia above running. This is also where the engineers and technicians live, and there is now growing tension between them the other inhabitants.