I guess the uplift virus resulted in a bit of an apocalypse? >>
Yes, a bit. From FAITHFUL:
"Within five years of uplift human civilization convulsed and fell, descending into worldwide anarchy. After seventy years of small and large wars, the bears and rabbits came to rule the interior of North America. Humans and their former pets ruled the coasts in well-defended city-states. All the other species just tried to fit in.
“But not the apes. The apes had taken all of Africa, India, and Malaysia, while committing horrific genocide. They had killed a billion humans in India alone and they would have taken the rest of Asia were it not for the tigers.”
I try not to include too much backstory, though I’ve thought about it in detail. Better to hint around things sometimes than to say them explicitly.
I’m going for a 1930s, American big city feel, with changes. It’s like the 1930s but it’s not the 1930s.
I’ll give you an example. S.M. Stirling in his great Emberverse series has a sequence where his heroes have to attack a castle. In the Emberverse, some mysterious force has stopped all explosives, electricity, and steam power from working, forcing people to function with 12th century technology. Most of the time that means knights on horseback, bows and arrows, swords, trebuchets, etc. But they are 21st century people, not 12th century people – they have the western mindset. So how do they attack the castle? With hang gliders.
That’s what I’m going for with my universe (which I haven’t named. I can’t call it the ‘Uplift’ universe…). I want the tone and some of the tropes of 1930s noir fiction, but at the same time I want the uplifted animals and the humans to be post-modern sentient creatures. They have a very laissez-faire attitude about sex, and they believe strongly in cooperation and in their community, because that’s how their grandparents survived the Fall. They are wary of recreating or using pre-Uplift technology because, to many of them, that’s what caused the Fall in the first place.
Eventually I’d like to take it beyond noir, and deal with the burgeoning geopoltical situation for the Seattle City-State, and to use inter-species relations in the stories as metaphors for things in our own society.