A few personal words about Brinala
Brinala, the location of “The Courtship Gift,” has grown out of a world that a friend of mine has created. Her name was Sabrina, and she simply called her world SL, short for Sabrinaland — from which I took the name Brinala.
My friend has died in the spring of 2017. While I had the privilege of being shown many glimpses of this world, and often being taken on guided tours across some of its manifold regions, most of its complexity and richness, its vast expanse, its history, its details, its pleasures, its potentials, is now, of course, forever lost.
The major difference between Brinala and SL is that SL was created explicitly for the purpose of being its Creatrix’s (her word) happy place, to serve as a retreat for her where she could escape the exertions, frustrations and pains of what is called “real life,” of which she had to suffer many. Logic, consistency, or the upholding of our laws of nature had not been requirements — to the contrary, they would only have imposed unwelcome restrictions to all the ideas and fantasies that kept springing from their authoress’s mind. Also, SL was not on Earth, nor on another planet, nor in a parallel universe — this world existed on a different plane of reality, a fantasy place made for fantasies. Travel to and from SL was swift, but required passing through a fantasy medium, the Nexus. (Doors to the Nexus were easy enough to find. Passing through the Nexus created a duplicate of the traveler, so that, wherever happened to you there — basically, you either got enslaved, sacrificed, or eaten by cannibals — had no consequence for you in the “real world.”)
Brinala, on the other hand, even if only fictitiously, is positioned on Earth, in space (in the South Sea) as well as in time (in the late 19th century it has already existed for centuries). Travel to and fro requires nothing more fantastic than a ship, and a bit of luck (or bad luck). As a storytelling background it is meant to provide a reasonable level of logic and consistency. The only hint of Brinala’s other-worldly origins is the mildness of its sun, which causes neither heat strokes, sunburn, wrinkles, nor, of course, cancer.
Most of what “Lady A’s Essay” tells about Brinala/SL is canonical, even though it is simplified, streamlined, covers only a small fraction of that fantastic world, and doesn’t even come close to conveying its true spirit. Some things that are mentioned in the essay — for instance the concept of the “protected tribes,” the distinction between being “nude” or “naked” — play no role in the following story, but are essential elements of SL. The remarks about the dietary habits of Cannibals are apocryphal (that is, mine). The Brinali opera is entirely my own invention. Its location on Earth apart, nothing I have said about Brinala violates the spirit of SL, even if it cannot always do it justice. I have, of course, written about Brinala with the approval of SL’s Creatrix.
When I wrote “The Courtship Gift” and, for the purpose of telling that story, created Brinala, I thought it might serve as the location for further stories — maybe about Lady A’s further adventures (I think she might, through whatever unforeseen events, have been kept from returning to England), or maybe other tales involving the archipelago and its inhabitants. It hasn’t happened — the stories that I have since written have brought their own fantasy worlds with them, far beyond the reach of our ships or our postal service.
Should you find Brinala interesting as a background for your own stories, you are welcome to use it. Of course I’d like to hear about it, and I’d also be happy to discuss this world with you, or help to explore it or to develop it further.