alternate englands: when?

Paul Andinach pandinac at
Mon Feb 7 21:04:43 EST 2005

On Mon, 7 Feb 2005 minnow at wrote:

> Dorian explained:

> > So I'm pretty certain that World 12B is us.

> I have a feeling that Chrestomanci's world is 12A, but whether
> that's the-author-told-me information or whether it's in one of the
> texts I cannot recall.

It's in 'The Lives of Christopher Chant', several times.

Some more useful notes from LoCC[1]:

The worlds are all the same age, and time passes at the same rate in
them. This is because there was only one world to begin with, and the
other worlds split off from it at the big turning-points in history.
(Someone, I think, has mentioned Narnia as an example of a world where
time runs differently from ours - but Narnia, you'll recall, was a
separate creation, not an alternate history.)

The turning-point at which our world (12B) split off from
Chrestomanci's (12A) was during the Fourteenth Century, when we went
down the path of materialist science and technology and 12A stuck with
magic. Since then, 12A tends to use magic for things we do the hard
way - gardeners use spells instead of chemicals to keep bugs away and
promote plant growth, doctors use spells instead of chemicals to
sterilize work surfaces and anaesthetise patients, etc. (Although
there are still things - like tooth-braces - that are easier to do the
hard way, if you see what I mean.) So it's not necessarily that
they're technologically behind us, just that the technology has a
different basis and is not always immediately recognisable to our

I think it's also worth remembering that 12A and 12B are the only
worlds in Chrestomanci's multiverse we really know anything about;
we've only caught glimpses of the others, sometimes barely enough to
make guesses about the technology levels and never enough to safely
draw conclusions about the social structures. (And even worlds that we
think we know can catch us out if we draw our conclusions too quickly
- remember that the world of 'Howl', which has been mentioned as
another magic-and-low-tech world, has submarines.)

[1] Which I've just finished re-reading - as you'll be able to see
from the wiki in a day or two.  :)

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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