alternate englands: when?

Judith Ridge Judith.Ridge at
Mon Feb 7 18:36:42 EST 2005

Goodness me, you're away from work for a few days and then there's a whole
new brain-twisting conversation taking place! I for one always thought, like
Charlie, that Charmed Life was Edwardian and LoCC Victorian, if not in
chronological date then in "feel", which is nicely vague, don't you think?
It may have had something to do with the cover of the edition of Charmed
Life that I first read, with very Edwardian looking costumes--also the
descriptions of clothing in both books give a very strong indication of the

As for MoC, again, I may well have been influenced by the cover, but to me
that world had a very Renaissance feel. My edition depict Tonino and
Angelica in renaissance-looking gear, and the decorations were also
reminiscent of that period. I'm sure the city-state structure of that
world's Italy and the Romeo and Juliet inter-text added to that reading.

At School Magazine (the Day Job) we publish an extract of a book we review
in order to entice our young readers to read the whole book. Over the years
we have reviewed quite a few DWJs. The illustrator who did Magicians gave
the characters Renaissance-style garb, and the illustrator who did Charmed
Life gave them Edwardian clothing. Neither were briefed; they were given the
book and the layout for the extract, and came up with their own conclusions.
Interesting, I think.

I don't see that there's any need for direct parity of chronology between
the worlds and series anyway. What about Millie's world? It's some sort of
ancient civilisation that worships sacred cats. I mean, my cat is sacred and
I worship her, but that's not the same thing ;-) Anyway, my point is that I
see no problem at all in all these different times and places sitting side
by side (like I never understand people who can't hold the idea in their
head that evolution and God are not mutually exclusive concepts, but that's
probably just my very rational and sensible Methodist parents talking!).

The technological anomalies of these worlds never bothered me in the
slightest; I just assumed they were a product of the "split". Ditto the
analogues. I never found DWJ's worlds difficult to enter into
whole-heartedly, which I've always put down to her skill as a fashioner of
worlds, rather than laziness on my part! (Although perhaps I need to rethink

Oh, and I read _Conrad's Fate_ this weekend :-)


Judith Ridge
Editorial Staff
The School Magazine
PO Box 1928
Macquarie Centre
NSW 2113
+61 2 9889 0044 (ph)
+61 2 9889 0040 (fax)

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