To celebrate the release of Tales of the Shadowmen: Grand Guignol, which includes my story “Caesar’s Children: A Tale of Pluritopia,” I’m posting the chronology I worked out for the historical framework of the pluritopian world that makes up the setting for my story. This past year I made a survey of nineteenth-century utopian and dystopian literature, and while I was doing this the meta part of my brain kicked in when I realized that many of these stories seem to exist in a sort of shared creative milieu (probably as a consequence of arising out of common social and economic conditions). I began to wonder how such a world might function if the disparate elements of the stories were brought together. The result is my story “Caesar’s Children,” conceived as a prelude to a novel, or even possibly a series of novels, as the scope is wide open. Where possible in the chronology below, I’ve included links to the online texts from where the references derive; otherwise I’ve included links to where the works referenced can be obtained. I should note that the pluritopian world and the chronology below exist in a universe parallel to the usual Tales of the Shadowmen continuity. Tales of the Shadowmen: Grand Guignol is available from Black Coat Press and Amazon.
c. 9,600 B.C. A great cataclysm sinks the continent of Atlantis. [Plato, Timaeus and Critias]
1507 A.D. Having been left by Amerigo Vespucci in Cabo Frio, Brazil, Raphael Hythloday again sets out on his travels and discovers the island of Utopia. [Sir Thomas More, Utopia]
1703 Lemuel Gulliver discovers Brobdingnag (historically called Brobdingrag by the locals). [Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World]
1871–1876 In Oregon, the French doctor Sarrasin founds the city of France-Ville, and the German engineer Schultze, founds the city of Stahlstadt (Steel Town). Hostilities between the two communities result in Stahlstadt’s destruction. [Jules Verne, The Begum’s Millions]
1878 A man known only as Graham falls asleep in the kitchen of a Mr. Isbister in Boscastle, England. Graham will not awaken for another 203 years. A Council of Trustees, later to become known as the White Council, is founded in Great Britain to oversee Graham’s investments. [H. G. Wells, The Sleeper Awakes]
1890 Ephraim Benezet of Kansas is visited by a mysterious being claiming to be from another dimension; the being gives him a revelation of an alternate future for the earth. Upon awakening from his vision, Benezet founds the Golden Bottle movement to free the common people from the shackles placed upon them by the Oligarchy. [Ignatius Donnelly, The Golden Bottle]
1892 Ephraim Benezet is sworn in as President of the United States. Within the first year of his term, he socializes the banking system and begins raising a great army to overthrow the Oligarchy.
1894 Sophie Hetherington Benezet, wife of Ephraim Benezet and founder and president of the Golden Bottle Women’s Suffragist Union, reads Vera Zarovitch’s account of a feminist utopia in the far north and leads an expedition to the arctic in search of it. [Mary E. Bradley Lane, Mizora: A Prophecy]
1896 A single letter, accompanied by a declaration of marital divorce, is delivered to Ephraim Benezet’s Kansas home. The letter is postmarked “Mizora” and signed “Sophie Hetherington, formerly ‘Mrs. Benezet.’” Ephraim Benezet leads his great army into Europe to rid it of the Oligarchy. Benezet dies on a battlefield in France. The conflict will later be known as the First Revolt.
1898 A brief invasion by beings from Mars is repelled. [H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds]
1910 The 1910 Great Wars are waged, leaving many live mines floating off the Pacific coast Central America that will menace seafaring ships more than fifty years later. [Albert Robida, The Twentieth Century]
1917 Commencement of Tunnel Project to reach the underground city of Hesperus by the citizens of Soir, France-Ville (Evening, Oregon). [David Herter, Evening’s Empire]
1932 The Second Revolt is led by Ernest Everhard, who dies in the great struggle. [Jack London, The Iron Heel]
1945 Unsuccessful American invasion of France. Civil war breaks out in the Danubian Empire, lasting three months. First reported case of Molinas Fever. [Albert Robida, The War of the Twentieth Century]
1960 Inauguration commemorating the completion of the sixth continent, Helenia, in the Pacific Ocean. [Albert Robida, The Twentieth Century; Paul Di Filippo, “Return to the 20th Century”]
1988 Gabriel Weltstein, a sheep herder from a Swiss colony in Uganda, arrives in New York City and witnesses the outset of the Third Revolt against the Oligarchy, led by Caesar Lomellini and his Brotherhood of Destruction. Edmund Boisgilbert, M.D. edits correspondence between Weltstein and his brother Heinrich dating to this period; Boisgilbert’s book becomes an international bestseller. [Ignatius Donnelly, Caesar’s Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century]
1989 Following Caesar Lomellini’s revolution, a socialist government rises to power in America. This is the state recounted by Julian West in Bellamy’s Looking Backward. The government ruthlessly rewrites history and represses the truth that it is in reality a Big Brother state, in league with the White Council in Europe. The Council of Trustees overseeing the Sleeper’s estate is now immensely wealthy; using their financial might, the trustees aggregate power in Europe and found the White Council Protectorate, uniting the region under its banner. [Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward 2000–1887; H. G. Wells, The Sleeper Awakes]
2002 The events of “Caesar’s Children.” [Short story in Tales of the Shadowmen: Grand Guignol]
2081 Graham, “The Sleeper,” awakes from his coma that began in 1878.
Copyright © 2009 by Christopher Paul Carey. All rights reserved.