Hopeofdawn had said that she wasn't drawn to my stories because of the historical aspect, and I joked back: "*Makes note to set next Eternal Dungeon story in a 21st-century police station.*"
Whereupon Hopeofdawn said: "You know, I thought about this concept--and I have to stand by what I said. If you were to place the story and the characters of the Eternal Dungeon in, say--a 20th century gulag or some similar context, I’d still like the story. I’d miss some of the details, obviously--the logistical details of living/working within a cave, the bats, the crematorium, the idea of a Queendom--but for me, at least, the story that I love is about [the other major character in the series] and Layle and the other denizens of the Dungeon, and their conflicts and their joys in the midst of what could otherwise be a very grim existence. I do enjoy the rest of your worldbuilding, don’t get me wrong, but you could change any number of details to make the story less historically authentic, and I don’t think I would ever notice. I think that’s a tribute to your writing, though, that the essential emotions and thoughts behind your stories shine through, regardless of their settings. :)"
(I blipped the character name above so that there wouldn't be any spoilers before the cut, but those of you who have read the series know who she's talking about.)
Now, my reaction to this reply was a joyful cry of, "Eternal Dungeon AU!" But then I got to thinking about what would have to be changed, aside from superficialities, if Layle was transported to the present.
I don't know much about gulags, so let's put Layle in a modern jail - a place where men and women who have been arrested are questioned to see whether they committed crimes. And let's assume that certain unfortunate trends in the American military have been domesticated, so that torture is a routine method of questioning suspected criminals. This particular group of jailers is idealistic and uses torture as a means for prisoner reform.
(At this point I will whistle in the air, while the rest of you who are familiar with practices in the U.S. prison system exchange grim glances.)
So the question is: What would need to be changed if Layle and the other Seekers worked in a twenty-first-century jail?( My speculations, with major spoilers for 'The Breaking' and minor spoilers for all the other Eternal Dungeon stories )