alternate englands: when?

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Feb 7 12:26:39 EST 2005


>Kyra:
>
>>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
>>witchcraft."

Hallie:

>I think this is the default explanation too, but it just doesn't work
>that well for me.  If people *could* get what they wanted by
>'witchcraft', why would the world not be as developed as the
>contemporary one - possibly not entirely evenly so, but as a sort of
>average?  And why does 'old-fashioned' social structure seem to
>follow naturally as well?  I could see this in a world like that in
>Stroud's Bartimeus books, where it's all too clear that magicians
>have used their power unfairly to keep 'commoners' down-trodden, but
>not in the Chrestomanci one.

If witchcraft includes anyone with the gift of foreseeing, maybe they took
a look at where technology might lead and decided they'd rather not *have*
quite a lot of it?  Much of the tech we have is proving to be rather bad
for the continuation of life on this planet, or at anyrate, Jim, life as we
know it.  Not to mention that tech and its "advantages" aren't exactly
evenly-distributed, even here-and-now.

Minnow


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