To conclude my travel research for my second novel, Astra, I visited Iceland for a week. Astra is set in Mesopotamia in a new nation called Is-Land, a small state formed in the aftermath of a global environmental and economic collapse (we all know it’s coming, don’t we?).  In Icelandic, Iceland is called Ísland, but the country’s relevance to my novel reaches much further than superficial nomenclature.  Politically, Iceland is a interesting model for my own vision of an emerging small settler-state; its active volcanos suggest how Mesopotamia could appear during a period of geological turbulence; and its famous Sagas provide a rich seam of national myth-building for my storytelling instincts to mine.  In a short period I explored all three areas of interest enough to inspire new developments in Astra, and to dream of returning to a chalet in the Southern valleys to finish…

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