This story is a mix of three very disparate influences.
The first one is a specific level from The Last of Us Part II. For those who've played it, it's the high-rise level, where you're atop ruined skyscrapers, walking on rickety, hacked together bridges between them, with grey masses of clouds all around you. That influence should be pretty obvious. That is the visual reference, from the very beginning, I wanted to write a story in a world that felt like that. It was one of the coolest levels in that game and I wrote this story shortly after finishing the game.
That's also where the post-apocalyptic vibe comes from, the ruined, abandoned buildings, the thunderous water below, the small camps. The charting run they go on is also very similar to a scavenging run, which is exactly what I wanted, as I knew this story was going to end with them going back to camp, without ever actually seeing the camp itself.
However, contrary to that inspiration, I wanted to move away from a key component of most post-apocalyptic storytelling: resource-scarcity. This might sound counter to the very idea of post-apocalypse, but I just wasn't interested in a story where the problems are rooted in basic needs. That's where the second inspiration comes in: The Danish Thy-camp.
A little setup: The Thy-camp was an old camp set up in the 70s, straight in the height of the hippie movement. The idea was to create a loving utopia, a place with no rules, where love guided everything.
It didn't last long.
I'm not a great Thy-historian but from what I read, the first major breakdown of the camp wasn't too dissimilar from what I describe in this story, and was the direct inspiration for it: Someone got super drugged out and stole from the stash, and the "leader" (who wasn't technically the leader but someone has to make those decisions) banished them. If I'm wrong, sorry, this ain't a history piece! Although the leader was named "Prins" (the Danish word for Prince) so yeah, the inspiration is not subtle.
But the core idea was that conflict arises also outside of resource-scarce situations; conflicts of ideology, of direction, of personalities. That even in a situation where we need nothing, some form of governance, policing, and control is unavoidable. Generational shifts will always cause divides as previous experiences and trauma are not inherited.
Anyways, that tension was what I wanted to portray, because that fascinated me about that story after I read about it in a newspaper around the same time, and those two ideas just coalesced together.
The final inspiration is the technology, which is kind of a slower, more unwieldy form of the movement tech from Attack on Titan: Mechanical ropepulls and swinging around, is all there, but it's just less... anime, than in AoT :P
It's not fully functional from a science perspective, but that was never really my goal: It was just to give the world a method of navigation that was cumbersome, yet possible, and cool textually: I love the texture of the mechanical pulls and ropes.
Anyways, I really enjoy this story. I like the characters, and I kind of have to resist my urge to write more stories in this world, because I don't think it'll actually support it. But it's fun to think about.