11- How many different governments does the story interact with? How are they different or similar, or why is the one isolated?
Nimbus really doesn’t interact with any of the Sky Island Governments, but as mentioned before, there are four of them. Her parents belong to the academic group and live on one of those Islands (although I may need to check that).
The Sky Islands are intermingled only with each other, of course, and do not touch the land below. Many of the differences and similarities were mentioned above in “Who Lives in your World?”; notably, while msot of the people on the Sky Islands share a single broad set of values, each government represents a subsection of those values.
Down below, the story has already interacted with the Aulerons and will interact with the Hechinger. These governments are on a talking basis, but since both are a bit secretive about certain things, they remain separate and connect almost entirely through trade. Both think the other is up to something and prefer to deal with the Candlemar (who are the most likely to actually be up to something…)
19- How do the transportation and communication networks - or lack thereof - affect dealing with, and knowledge of, other societies?
*Rubs hands together in glee*
The Sky Islands know quite a bit about each other. That is, because they are the only places one can go, they are very well-studied, they are very well-documented, and even someone from the furthermost oceanward island probably knows a great deal about the furthest mountainward island, if for no other reason than what they are taught in school and what they pick up from neighbors who have traveled.
On the other hand, the only things they can know about the Down-Belowers are scraps of history that were mostly expunged or redacted and what they can observe from the edges of their islands.
This had led to a certain assumption of superiority on the behalf of the Sky-Islanders over the Down Belowers, and a lack of understanding of the complexities of their nations.
In return, what the Down-Belowers know about the Sky-Islanders isn’t even based on observation at all, or at least not any contemporary observation (except one man and now one girl, who have probably colored the impressions the Down-Belowers they meet have of the Up-Islanders in both positive and negative ways).
The three tribes have varying degrees of “every-day knowledge” about the Sky Islanders. They know that the islanders used to be down here and are stuck up there now, which leads to questions like “what do they hunt?” and “but how do they fish?”
Some know that the islands were lifted magically up a long time ago. Others know that the islands were lifted that way because of a war.
The Hechinger have the best impressions of the people that came before them, because they are, more than the other tribes, the people that came before. They, in turn, deal with the other two tribes in civil but constrained ways - although Cartwright moves between the three tribes of the area, this is not common. They trade amongst themselves, but as we have seen, their ranges are far-flung, and transportation on the ground is limited to foot traffic. They know only scraps and whispers about the other tribes.
As for the people across the river: nobody can cross that river, and nobody knows anything about them. And that, we can guess, is how they like it.