There has always been something that has fascinated me about a pre-flood (antediluvian) civilisation. If we can assume that there actually was a genuine deluge at some point, and there have been a number of studies into creation myths from disparate cultures that seem to suggest there was one — the Babylonian flood story is believed to be the basis for Noah and the ark.
The idea that there was a civilisation that pre-dated the human race, that died out millions of years before us and all its landmarks and monuments were erased from the face of the earth by the elements and thousands of gallons of water, was quite appealing as a theme for the book. I didn’t want to go down some kind of Atlantis narrative, nor a Lovecraftian Cthulu reboot. Even the flood element wasn’t really right for what I am thinking of.
An Ice Age has the same kind of effect as the flood, they cleanse the world; albeit at a far slower pace than the 40 days and nights, but still I liked their scale. 650 million years of snow and ice gives you a suitably big enough barrier for any time traveller to call a wilderness. Especially when relics and artefacts from pre-ice age are either non-existent or buried under tonnes of rock.
The end of the last ice age became the zero point in the Oblivion Order’s Holocene calendar, effectively 10,000 BC. Which is why all the dates in the book are written as 12,017 (2017) as they take on the longer timeline of the past. No one except the Draconians are allowed to go back beyond zero, the chances of returning from pre-history reduce dramatically as signs of civilisation diminish.
But there is part of me (and therefore Josh) that wants to explore the before. To conjure up an Antediluvian civilisation that existed somewhere back in the cold, dark times of the Cryogenian, when the earth was a giant snowball and multicellular life was only just beginning to stir in the south oceans.