This is the planet Venus in an universe with a working ether theory which leads to working etherdrive spaceships. Under the 'evercloud' of Venus exist large continents and island, thriving with strange flora and fauna - and an intelligent native species with an early 19th century tech standard. When the humans begin to colonize the cool polar regions (still with average day temperatures of 35° Celsius) this lead to war as the Venusians are rather unhappy about this development.
The ! in the city names is a click consonant like in some African languages.