alternate englands: when?
klj at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Mon Feb 7 10:27:25 EST 2005
On Mon, 7 Feb 2005, deborah wrote:
> I was interpreting it as being an alternate universe that was Edwardian
> in feel but took place in the 1980s or so, just because Janet and the
> Witch Week kids are contemporary, and because Chrestomanci in Witch
> Week implies that major events (eg Guy Fawkes) took place in the history
> of the WW world also took place in his.
I don't know if it's all that _much_ help, but although I am now at work
and don't have _The Magicians of Caprona_ on me, I was able to check the
Author's Note that I vaguely remembered on Amazon. The first paragraph
reads as follows:
"The world of Chrestomanci is not the same as this one. It is a world
parallel to ours, where magic is as normal as mathematics, and things are
generally more old-fashioned. In Chrestomanci's world, Italy is still
divided into numbers of small States, each with its Duke and capital city.
In our world, Italy became one united country long ago."
I feel like the implication of this passage is that the world is at the
same time point as our own - it doesn't say "it's a little earlier on in
time than ours" but simply "things are generally more old-fashioned."
That sounds like it's comparing the material functions of existence, not
time itself. And I feel like the comparison of the state of Italy in each
world also sort of implies that we're talking about two worlds at the same
point in time, although this is less clear, because, even if
Chrestomanci's world is taking place in the early part of the 1900s, it
would still be accurate to distinguish the state of Italy from that of our
own world at the same time.
The line that things are generally more old-fashioned actually comes
originally from _Charmed Life_ (have I mentioned yet that Amazon's
Search-Inside-the-Book feature is neato!?). Janet asks if there are cars.
Cat says that there are, but only rich people have them. Janet then
points out that there is electric light, "but everything else is
old-fashioned compared to my world." She goes on to provide her own
explanation for this (which I probably read when I was young enough that
it tends to be my default explanation for this kind of thing in fantasy
stories in general) - "I suppose people can get what they want by
"Give me the city. Give me the sea. Give to me everything I need."
---Jarvis Cocker (Pulp), "Love Is Blind"
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