Friday, March 16, 2012

What Would the World Be Like If...?

A few years ago a friend suggested I read 1632. It's an alternative-history novel by Eric Flint in which a small town in modern-day West Virginia is transported back in time to -- drum roll, please -- 1632, and set down in Germany, smack in the middle of the Thirty Years' War raging across Europe.

I was utterly fascinated by the details, as the small band of West Virginia coal miners and their families set out to change the new world they must now live in. It's not the big things that cause trouble for the West Virginians. For instance, they have a generating plant and a coal mine to fire it, so they have plenty of electricity. But what happens when the light bulbs burn out? -- once the stock is gone from the supermarket, that's it. (As for toilet paper -- well, let's not even go there.)

Much as I enjoyed 1632, there's another alternative history I want to read. In 1817, Princess Charlotte of Wales, the daughter of the Prince Regent (later King George IV), died in childbirth along with her son. Because her death left no next-generation heir, the Regent's brothers rushed into legitimate matrimony in the hope of siring a future king or queen -- and that's the only reason Victoria was born at all (in 1819).

So here's the challenge. What would England -- and for that matter, the world -- be like if there had been no Queen Victoria? If there had been a Queen Charlotte instead?

Won't someone please write this book, so I can read it? Please?


  1. I love playing What if... games.

    I'm not volunteering to write it though. I can barely write present-day!

  2. Gosh, no Victoria and Albert Museum...