San Francisco through New Eyes

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A couple of years ago, Julie, my youngest daughter, and I spent the day in San Francisco, but we didn’t visit the tourist attractions. My task was to research Daystealer–to see a DIFFERENT Frisco

I had no plans of where to start my research except to find a coffee shop on a beach. A Google search found Java Beach Cafe off Ocean Beach. We arrived at this little beachfront cafe that looked like a converted bar. After we talked to employees and locals, we discovered the owners were descendants of Scottish immigrants. In Daystealer, Trinidad’s human friend lives with her father in the second-story living quarters that still exist , but I converted the small-town cafe into the Westside Shelter where Cleans with blue bubble masks form a never-ending line to receive food with government vouchers.

The beach cottages near Ocean Beach have living quarters above garages, the perfect place for Rick Larsen’s childhood. Cleans live in his neighborhood and work in fisheries off the coast (which don’t actually exist). He can cross the Great Highway one street over and climb over sand dunes to Ocean Beach. In Daystealer, the dunes and marsh grass partially bury a crashed plane covered with graffiti. A partially-collapsed pier (that also doesn’t exist) extends into the Pacific Ocean. In my mind’s eye, it’s the Seal Beach pier I frequented south of Long Beach near where I used to live.

The street from Java Beach leads north to Golden Gate Park, which in Daystealer I call Ghetto Gate Park, a tent city of Carriers. This over 1,000-acre lushly wooded park could easily quarantine thousands of humans with the Virus. In the future, though, it’s sparse, muddy, and surrounded with a 20-foot barbed wire fence.

Past the park, another neighborhood of steep hills leads to a wooded lookout point near Presido where Julie and I happened on Inspiration Point. And it was. It’s an important part of my story where Trinidad surveys the Frisco Dome and damaged Golden Gate Bridge. Within the surrounding woods, she stalks a family and discovers her home.

The day we spent in San Francisco inspired me to write the first setting of my book. Walking the streets, talking to the locals, and seeing the sights tourists don’t usually visit proved fruitful. I hope the residents recognize their city as their own–but in a dystopian future.

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