alternate englands - belated questions

Paul Andinach pandinac at
Sun Feb 13 07:06:07 EST 2005

On Sun, 13 Feb 2005, Charles Butler wrote:

> Paul:
> > 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.
> Even so, this assumes that time travels at the same rate in all
> worlds, and I don't see how we can know this, since other
> apparently-fundamental things (like the presence or absence of magic
> - but see below) vary.

Well, presumably there are ways of telling using magic.

I should point out, by the way, that the stated difference is not the
presence or absence of magic itself, but the presence or absence of
people who know how to make use of it. Note that in "Warlock at the
Wheel", for instance, all the 12A natives who visit 12B can use magic.

A split as fundamental as an actual absence of magic would at the
least have put the world in a different Series from Chrestomanci's.

> > 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.
> Something about this bothers me, and I've been wondering for the
> last few days what it is. I still don't think I quite have it, but
> it's something to do with what kind of event causes worlds to split.

> At one point in Witch Week, IIRC, Chrestomanci gives as an example
> the outcome of a battle like Waterloo. Or, again, the success or
> failure of Guy Fawkes. These are both recognized turning points in
> history (at any rate if you're British!).
-snip again-

> Am I making a fuss about nothing? Have I missed something very
> simple? Please spell it out, but be gentle.

The examples in 'Witch Week' are only hypothetical.
The examples in 'The Lives of Christopher Chant' are real.
In case of contradiction, go with LoCC.

The actual examples given in LoCC are all broad-sweep-of-history
things, rather than the-result-of-a-single-event things.

(One can only guess why Chrestomanci gave dodgy examples in WW -
perhaps he felt that it was only important that they get the idea
quickly than that they get all the details straight. In real life, of
course, it is probably significant that the DWJ who wrote WW had had
less time to think it through than the DWJ who wrote LoCC.)

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list