Inferno News 1880

(with thanks to the London Times and various other worthy publications)

ITALY GETS THE HEALTH BUG   The Italian government has announced the
formation of a National Health Service, providing free healthcare for all,
new hospitals and clinics, and national registration of doctors and nurses,
including the nationalization of existing sanatoria and sanitaria. The
Times applauds this progressive measure, but winces to think of the tax
burden that it must be placing on the Italian citizenry.

BARON'S BASHFUL BRIDE   Everyone's favourite sawbones Baron Klaus Wolfgang
von Poelzig was in London again, this time with his blushing new Bavarian
bride - and what a beauty she is, with rich auburn hair the like of which
has not been seen in town since the glory days of Elizabeth Siddal,
although she kept her head modestly covered for the majority of occasions.
The couple attended SquidDance, as every visitor to London must, and also
visited with the Marquess of Salisbury on his Shropshire estates. It is
thought that later in the year they will be holidaying on the Italian
Riviera, with the rest of the bon ton. (from How Do You Do? magazine)

NEW DOCTOR IN TOWN   Englishman Dr James Dawson has set up in practice in
Krankheitstraße, after last year marrying a local girl. Let us hope that he
can bring some of the latest British medical techniques to Munich, to the
benefit of us all. (from the Suddeutsche Zeitung)

*** SOUTHVILLE GETS IT RIGHTS!   The controversial Bill of Rights sailed
through the Lords unopposed, despite widespread expectation that
reactionary elements would block it. Lord Southville had hastily sworn in
400 new peers to help his majority, and purely coincidental dock and
railway strikes had prevented many peers from making it in to the sitting,
then those who made it that far had to run the gauntlet of a peaceful
suffragette protest organized by Lady Catherine Trippinghurst, but even so
it seems amazing that there was not even one dissenting voice. So with the
Bill now having received Royal Assent, we wake up this morning in a new
Britain, one in which all men and women have a voice, one whose regions are
not neglected, one where our noble traditions and our zest for the future
are judiciously admixed. We can face the coming new century proud to be

BANGING OUT DRUGS   The Hamilton-Bang Corporation has turned to drug
production, taking over the patents of Sir William Bang's range of
medicines, and supplying them at minimal profit to hospitals up and down
the land. What a fine gentleman Sir William is, to be sure.

THEATRICAL REVIEW   Mr Sidney Weaver's new play, 'God and Anti-God', is a
deeply disturbing venture, on which history will no doubt pass its own
verdict. It is certainly a far more mature work than last year's jejune
'Ants and The Man'. Best described as occupying the territory between
'Faust' and 'Frankenstein', seeing this play will certainly change your
life - whether for better or for worse remains to be seen. Mr Henry
Irving's performance in the role of Dr Flauten is just the latest in a
series of tours de force from this rightly popular actor. (by our
Theatrical Correspondent)

TAMWORTH-SMITH PUTS IT ABOUT   New MP for Southampton Mr William
Tamworth-Smith has not left it long before gravitating towards the centre
of power on the Tory benches, the 'Munday Club' - that group of MPs led by
Sir Magnus Munday, who represent (if anything can be said to) the
conscience of the Conservative Party. Mr Tamworth-Smith has succeeded in
wooing a number of 'Traditional Conservative' rebels back into the party,
with his insistent 'only the guilty need fear' message, and seasoned
Westminster-watchers are frankly baffled that he has not been appointed as
Home Secretary - or, failing him, anyone at all, for Lord Southville seems
to believe that the police, court and immigration services will simply run
themselves, despite all evidence to the contrary.

MARTIAN BUGS   This winter saw everyone coughing and sneezing with what has
been dubbed 'the Martian flu', the result of the fact that we now share our
atmosphere with Mars. Fortunately it proved harmless, and it must be said
that something of a fresh, sandy flavour is now present in the air. The
planets seem to have stabilized in their new configuration, sharing their
three moons in a complex set of orbits.

*** NEW KING FOR BAVARIA   In a brief but moving ceremony in Munich's
Frauenkirche cathedral, young Prince Paul, son of the late King Otto, was
crowned nineteenth king of Bavaria, with his second cousin Grand Duke
Magnus Eisengrim acting as Regent until he reaches the age of majority.
There was a slight disturbance during the ceremony, when the crucifix
suspended above the altar spontaneously burst into flames as the little
lad's brow was anointed with the holy chrism, the sky turned black,
lightning struck the steeple, and a chorus of groaning metallic voices
crying "No, no" echoed all around, but other than that the investiture went
perfectly. The young King immediately announced that he was seeking suitors
for the hand of his twin sister Princess Perdita, although as she is only
nine years old this might be thought a little premature. Prussia has now
withdrawn all of its troops from Bavaria.

RETURN OF MAGUIRE   Colonel Sir William Maguire, interplanetary pioneer,
has returned to Earth in after a two-year sojourn on the Red Planet. He at
once went to visit the Queen, ready with exciting tales of his exploits,
and was dubbed Lord Maguire by a grateful Sovereign.

FAREWELL TO MAGUIRE   "... and so we bid adieu to Sir William, our dear
friend these past two years, as he rejoins his fellow-humans. May his
thmeep never twardle." (from the Schiaparelli Spectator, the leading
Martian newspaper, insofar as it could be translated into English)

AN ADVERTISEMENT   (over a whole double-page spread of The Times, on
Midsummer's Day) "All in a dream... all in a dream... the loading has

D'AVENTINE SPREADS THE WORD   Italian Foreign and War Minister Giuliano
d'Aventine has been touring Europe this year, preaching the gospel of
Universal Equity, a banner behind which he hopes to unite all the
progressive movements of the continent. He has been deep in talks with Mr
Sidney Weaver, mainstay of our own British Equity Party, and with
revolutionary elements in France, but has been less well received in
Prussia and Bavaria, both of whom have complained to the Italian government
about his inflammatory speeches, calling for universal adoption of the sort
of rights now taken for granted in the more forward-looking nations.

RED DUST OVER BICESTER   The sleepy Oxfordshire market town woke up to find
itself covered with fine red dust, baffling locals who at first thought it
might be some sort of Martian efflux. However analysis revealed that dust
to be powdered dried seaweed, which must presumably have been swept up into
the sky by freak weather conditions, in the manner popularly associated
with frogs.

*** ONE CHURCH TO RULE THEM ALL   The Church of England, Roman Catholic
Church and Greek Orthodox Church have united as equals. In a joint
statement, Archbishop Smyth-Carruthers, Pope Leo XIII and Patriarch Photios
said that in the light of GOCs proving life on other planets, the claimed
arrival of the new messiah, planetary movements, the spread of vampires and
other apocalyptic happenings, the long-standing theological differences
between our various shades of Christianity had become increasingly
irrelevant and trivial. They now stood  as a united Christian front, three,
one, and all, as united equals. On theological grounds it could be equated
with the Holy Trinity, three in one and one in three, different but equal.
The Times applauds this gesture of tolerance and understanding: not since
the days of the early Church fathers have we all been singing from the same
hymnsheet to this degree. We can but hope that the united power of faith of
so many millions of worshippers around the world can cause wonderful things
to happen. (from our Religious Correspondent)

PEGASUS LAUNCHED   A gala reception, studded with Prussian notables
including Kaiser and Chancellor; a spectacular light show; an unveiling, a
demonstration. Then the following speech: "I am pleased to show my
invention to the world. Perhaps it will go some way to correct some of my
wrongs. I am not an evil man, I wish to invent something which will change
the face of the world. This machine will achieve that. The machine will be
available to all who want it, at a reasonable price. All profits from the
sales of the Pegasus will be put into helping the poor and needy of
Prussia, money will go into setting up a scholarship scheme to all those
who cannot afford to go to university, money will be used to set up soup
kitchens to provide free food for those most needy. In short Pegasus will
provide for us all." This was how Mr Henri von Giffard announced his
invention of the Pegasus, the world's first heavier-than air flying
machine, bird-shaped, steam-powered. Oh brave new world, that has such
people in it! (from our Science and Technology Correspondent)

PRIEST KILLED   Popular Catholic priest Father Marcus Galloway, of St
Jude's Church in Highgate, has been found hacked to death in his
confessional box, with the words "Despair, oh God that I have loved, God
that has mocked me!" written in his blood on the cobbles.

STATE EXPLODES   Manufacture of the new EXPLODE missiles has been taken
over by the new Prussian State Munitions Company, and the missiles
themselves are being manned by specially-trained troops in silos at
locations of extreme secrecy.

HOLY SISTER ON EARTH?   An Irish peasant girl, Miss Moira O'Hara, is
claiming to be the incarnation of Jesus's sister Rachel, a knowledge
vouchsafed to her in a series of visions. Visions seem to characterize the
affair, as this correspondent has also received images of the girl,
baffling in nature but clear as to their message. According to 'Rachel's'
family, noted socialite Mr Sunil Laing has been instrumental in ensuring
her recognition. It takes more to prove divine origin than hugging a few
lambs, though, and as far as The Times is concerned the jury is still very
much out. (from our Religious Affairs Correspondent)

SKULK OFF, D'AVENTINE!   "... back to your swampy lagoon city, and away
with your foreign notions of 'democracy' and the like. Our Bavarian ways,
our monarchy and our Parliament of the Burgesses, have served us well for
centuries, and we have no need of foreign radicals preaching to us on how
to run our constitution!" (from the Münchener Tagesblatt)

LIFE ON MARS   "...on Mars men and women are treated with exact equality,
with no discrimination between them either legally or socially. We think it
very odd that this should not be the case on Earth. It may have something
to with the fact that Green women do not bear children in the same way as
humans, and do not have to feed them as infants: instead we lay eggs, which
are tended by both parents. Marriage is not as fixed on Mars either,
typically lasting long enough to bring any children of the union through
infancy, then each partner moving on to a new spouse, although still
looking to the biological parent for providing for / advising the children.
Green women can keep on laying eggs throughout their lives, which are
rather longer than humans'. (from the new column by female Green journalist
Rrrthk, in the Minerva Times)

SHARK SMASHES STEAMPUNK MAFIA   The notorious crime organization has been
dealt a heavy blow by London vigilante The Shark, who caught over a hundred
members in a disused warehouse planning their next wave of crime and
terror, and torched the building, killing all within. "While we cannot
condone The Shark's actions, outside the law as they were, we have little
sympathy for the deceased either," said a spokesman for the Charlies. He
might have added, particularly when there has been no Home Secretary for
the past two years. (from our Home Affairs Correspondent)

TEMPLARS EXPOSED   The Knights Templar stronghold at Llandovmyvarthers, on
the Welsh border, has been raided by Shropshire yeomanry, liberating three
young local women who were being held against their will by the noxious
Baphomet-worshippers. A great deal of material on the heretic order was
seized, and it is hoped that charges will soon be brought against its

A LETTER TO THE LITERARY REVIEW   "Dear Sir, I see the unpleasant duty
falls to me once more to stand up for this island's cultural values. I
refer, of course, to the giddy abomination that is 'SquidDance' - a tawdry
cheapening of all that is great and good about our cephalopod neighbours. I
say nothing of the music, that is not my affair. But as Laureate I can and
must speak up for the English language, which we have in trust for our
descendants. The libretto, penned by that feminine poetaster Miss
Fulbright, is nothing but banal doggerel of the worst kind, and I fear
deeply that exposure to it will thoroughly coarsen the sensibilities of the
British audience, rendering them unable to appreciate the beauties of verse
of true quality. Yours faithfully, Alfred, Lord Tennyson."

FOOTBALL NEWS   "... the newest outfit to join the league, the Savage
School XI, performed remarkably well for a team of youngsters. Their
goalkeeper is possessed of remarkable acrobatic skills, captain Billy Smith
seems to have a near-telepathic understanding of his players, winger Reggie
Goulding is always popping up where the opposition least expect him - often
without apparently having moved through the spaces inbetween - and star
centre-forward Archie Leach has positively uncanny ball-control skills,
being able to bend and swerve the ball through the tightest of spaces,
without necessarily having actually touched it. It is thought that
big-spenders Wimbledon are after some of these star names of the future, to
parade before their already capacity crowds at Plough Lane, but Mrs Savage
has done a good job of encouraging loyalty as well as high standards in her
misfit children, many of whom would be shunned at ordinary schools because
of their disfiguring eye, fingernail, forehead or tail-bone conditions. A
number of prominent public figures have joined the school's Board of
Governors in support of her work." (from our Sports Correspondent)

PEGASUS FOUNDATION   With the profits from the mighty Pegasus flying
machine, Mr von Giffard has established a charitable foundation, providing
free scholarships, soup kitchens and hostels, and a chain of charitable
shops, across Prussia. Has the supreme dealer of death really turned over a
new leaf? It certainly looks like it.

*** FRENCH HORRORS   The year started well for the Revolutionaries, with
more mass desertions from the Imperial armies, and an assassination
campaign against Napoleonic commanders. The Spanish government sent troops
to help the Empire, but they were recalled to deal with a plague of rioting
that broke out across Spain itself. Italian mercenaries came to help the
rebels, and the Pope spoke in their favour - whether this had anything to
do with the French Antipope Clement XIV resigning in his favour, who can
say. But it seems the Imperials had just been biding their time before
unveiling the most diabolic weapons of destruction, the likes of which have
been seen previously only on a one-use scale. Nice and Geneva have suffered
from the infamous 'rain of fiery death' weapon, but this year the whole
central tract of France was ravaged by monstrous lakes of boiling fire
which opened up and engulfed entire rebel towns and armies. Spiralling
pillars of fire, seeming almost to have a horrid intelligence about them,
erupted inside rebel headquarters and consumed every group of
revolutionaries they could find. Napoleon has driven the rebels back into a
mere rump of a state, but at what cost? - the conquered ground is a blasted
ruin, inhabited only by crazed peasants who persistently mutter of a third
army that is coming to wipe both Imperials and Revolutionaries from the
face of France, a cleansing sword of an army, brilliant in its efficiency.

HERMANN WAS A GERMAN   This year saw the foundation of the Arminius League,
named after the Latin name of the chieftain who destroyed the Roman army of
Varus in the Teutoburger Wald back in 9 AD. Organized by 'Grand Master' Mr
Karl Fischer, the Arminius League is a patriotic fellowship organization
for all German peoples, holding festivities on national holidays, picnics
for members and their families, and beer festivals at which everyone wears
short leather trousers and sings patriotic songs. Although the League is a
rather reactionary organization, supporting the divine right of the Kaiser
and abhorring democracy, it seems to have none of the unpleasantly bigoted
and violent tendencies which characterize the Aryanist Movement, and it is
to be hoped that it will replace that rather loathsome body in the
affections of patriotic Germans.

GREEN AMBASSADORS   The Greens have now set up embassies with all major
nations, and are welcoming Earthly embassies on Mars, as soon as someone
works out how to get there safely.

TALPIUM ON SALE   The latest wonder-metal, invented by Mr Zappatore Talpa
the extremely obscure Italian engineer, Talpium is capable of resisting
extraordinary levels of temperature. It has been snapped up in quantities
by furnace-makers and the like.

BANDIT HIDEOUT RAIDED   The lawless fortress of Rennes-le-Chateau, near
Albi, was raided by government officials, and a number of miscreants held
for questioning, including three Britishers. (from Vive la Revolution!, the
main organ of the rebel French state)

*** IT'S THE TORIES AGAIN   As widely predicted, Lord Southville called a
snap General Election after the passage of the Bill of Rights, and as also
predicted he has won a comfortable majority. The new House of Commons is
55% Conservative, 20% Liberal, 15% NWO, 10% Equity - the only surprise here
being the performance of the NWO at the expense of Equity. If the
government lasts a full term, the Conservatives will have achieved the
longest spell in power of any party since our Parliamentary system began,
thanks mostly to the tremendous volte-face they have executed on
constitutional policy.

SHARK CHANGES TACK   London vigilante The Shark has announced that he will
be seeking new targets from now on. "No more the petty villains, now I feed
on their corrupt paymasters, the bloated pustules on whom this country is
battened," said a note found pinned to the body of Judge Anthony Grimslade.
Criminal psychologists opine that this indicates that the life of danger
The Shark has led has cracked his mind, driving him over the edge into
criminal activity himself, becoming the thing he loathes. It may even be
that he is suffering from what is popularly known as 'a split personality'
and during the day leads a perfectly normal life, unaware of his night-time

EXCEEDINGLY GOOD POETRY   Mr Rudyard Kipling, whom some will remember from
his poetic forays at the height of the 'omnibus' scheme, has returned to
the pen, with a new volume of poetry published from India. His move to the
subcontinent - a trip he undertook after some secret disappointment in his
personal life - has transformed his verse from that of the callow youth of
a few years ago. His latest collection speaks with true maturity and
wisdom, straight to the heart of the meanest of readers.

STRONG RESERVATIONS   The US Government has agreed to hand back in
perpetuity large tracts of valuable land to the Indians it has hitherto
been systematically dispossessing. Quite what has brought this change of
heart about is unclear, but it may have something to do with the recent
visit of Mr Sunil Laing to Washington: after his meeting at the Bureau for
Indian Affairs, to which he presented a large ornamental totem-pole and a
symbolic calumet full of some strange smoking-herb, Bureau officials
appeared notably dazed and confused.

SQUIDS IN ON BROADWAY   The SquidDance show has wowed New York audiences
just as thoroughly as it did (and is still doing) those in London, with
additional new material penned by local songwriter Mr Stephen Foster - 'I
Dream of Greenie with the Light Brown Tentacles' is particularly fine.
Meanwhile, back at home, the show has staged a Royal Command performance,
at which Their Majesties and the two princesses were vastly entertained,
and word is that author Miss Julianne Fulbright is to wed in the New Year,
to Foreign Office mandarin Sir Kit Breca.

NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR CHELMSFORD   Lord Chelmsford has been like a man
transformed this year, full of energy, having lost a good deal of weight,
and with a big smile never far from his face. He has thrown himself
wholeheartedly into Green affairs, serving as the Houses of Parliament's
main liaison with them, and serves on the boards of numerous Green-related
charities. Can this be related to rumours we hear that his wife, the lovely
Athena, maybe expecting a happy event? Let us pray so! (from How Do You Do?

A LETTER TO THE LITERARY REVIEW   "Dear Sirs, Once again my esteemed
colleague Lord Tennyson has seen fit to deride our efforts to bring poetry
to those who would otherwise have no poetry in their lives, claiming that
it should be the exclusive preserve of the privileged few. For shame, sir!
Should the pleasure of the rhyme and metre of this language be confined
only to those born to the purple, or at the very least into the leisured
classes? Should the housewives and workers of this land not be allowed to
hear the measured words tripping off a poet's tongue, or to have their mind
expanded while on an otherwise tedious journey on public transport?
'SquidDance' has educated and entertained thousands on thousands of people,
from the lower and upper classes alike; it has brought our Martian friends
closer to the public, many of whom would otherwise doubtless have been
scared of the unknown. If you, personally, have not enjoyed it then that is
a shame; but, so far as I am aware, the Laureateship does not carry with it
the crown of arbiter of taste for our nation. I have, this year, invited
Their Majesties to a special performance of SquidDance. Perhaps we should
let them decide whether the show appeals or not? Yours faithfully, Julianne

WATCH OUT, VAMPIRES   The Prime Minister has declared war on the vampires
of south-east Asia, and has travelled out there himself at the head of a
stake-wielding army to deal with the problem. The idea is to demonstrate
that, despite the greater autonomy allowed to the colonies under the Bill
of Rights, Britain will continue its benevolent paternalistic attitude
towards them. Far be it from The Times to criticize Lord Southville (now
that he is so popular - ed.), but it does seem something of an
over-reaction to become so personally involved in quelling the
superstitious fears of the primitive peoples of the region. Apparently Mr
Tamworth-Smith and Sir William Bang are also involved in the project.

TOWN PLANNING   The cities of Newcastle, Glasgow and Birmingham are the
latest to benefit from the social approach to civic development pioneered
in Liverpool and Manchester. "One day everyone will live like this," said a
pleased Lord Hamilton as he watched the latest tower blocks being erected.

FEMALE JOURNO FOR TIMES   "... so the Thunderer has finally moved with the
spirit of the age, and taken on its first female reporter, Miss Leigh
de'Rarticle, formerly employed by the Minerva Times. About time too! (from
The Observer)

PIGEONS BACK CULT?   London's pigeons, usually thought of as cynical and
greedy birds, seem to have got religion of late. Visitors to Trafalgar
Square were surprised to find that, during the night, what must have been
millions of the industrious avians had voided their bowels in such a manner
that the excreta spelt out the message "JOIN 'THE APPROACH TO GOD', IT'S
REALLY... INTERESTING" in six-foot high letters. It is rumoured that
Scotland Yard is already looking into this mysterious organization.

LEVITICAN ARMY DISBANDED   The scourge of witchcraft up and down the
continent has fallen apart through lack of interest this year, with leader
Karl von Stück speaking for all when he said that he no longer had any
strong feelings about the matter.

TRAGIC DEATH OF LAUREATE   Alfred, Lord Tennyson was found dead at his
breakfast table, having suffered an apoplectic seizure. A copy of the
morning's Literary Review, open at the letters page, was clutched in his
hand, in a grip which could not be broken. Doctors hypothesise that Lord
Tennyson, who was known to have a weak heart, may have read something in
the magazine which shocked or startled him. Now we are bereft of the
colossus who has bestridden English poetry for so many years, whither next?
Who will be the new Laureate? The post is in the Queen's gift, of course,
although she will no doubt be advised by her Prime Minister. Had this
tragic event occurred a year, ago, this correspondent would unhesitatingly
have backed Miss Julianne Fulbright to succeed to the laurel wreath, but
this year's rising star is clearly Mr Rudyard Kipling. (from our Literary

MUNDAY MOURNING   Respected Conservative backbencher Sir Magnus Munday has
been savagely killed at his London home, it is presumed by the crazed
vigilante Th
e Shark. A note attached to the body said simply "The sins of the
fathers...". Mrs Gloria Derothshire, Sir Magnus's daughter, who shares his
dwelling since her separation from the disgraced (alleged) former Home
Secretary, was fortunately absent at the time of the attack. The 'Munday
Club', the influential group of MPs Sir Magnus headed, has already
regrouped, and favourite to lead it is its newest member, Mr William
Tamworth-Smith, the Member for Southampton.

ACCRA A WORLD POWER   The West African state of Accra, shepherded by the
guiding hand of Professor Moriarty, has developed in leaps and bounds,
industrializing rapidly on the back of some skilfully-acquired patents,
without losing the social welfare, equability and natural charm of its
surroundings. It can now truly be said to stand on the world stage, and
seeks to exchange ambassadors with other nations. Pundits estimate that its
economy is on a par with that of Bavaria or Spain.

CHOCOLATE FACTORY   Mr Ferdinand Lancelot Gaboon has announced the
foundation of a new factory for the production of his successful range of
comestibles, although its location is a closely-guarded secret. This kindly
gentlemen, who loves children more dearly than virtually anyone, has also
established a string of orphanages with his profits, training the children
in practical skills as well as circus arts, and as much chocolate as they
can eat (plus free dental care).

STONE WAVE HEALTH TERROR   Hamilton Industries, the British Stone Wave
agent, has announced the results of medical studies showing that prolonged
exposure to the mysterious waves is highly injurious to health. Squads of
engineers have toured the country, deactivating Stone boxes and closing
down all broadcasters. This ha led to furious protests and yet more cases
of the unfortunate Mr Stone being burned in effigy. He is now thought to
face legal action, with millions of blighted listeners, watchers and phone
users demanding compensation for their destroyed healths. Lord Hamilton
cannot escape censure, too. Elsewhere in Europe, the news quickly spread,
leading to riots up and down Italy in particular as Stone cinemas were
smashed to bits. This booming industry has been effectively destroyed by
Lord Hamilton's announcement, with none now daring to go near a Stone box
for fear of their lives. Thousands of workers in the film and broadcast
industries have been laid off, share prices have plummeted, hapless
investors have flung themselves out of windows in numbers. The only people
looking smug through all this woe are the Prussians, who had the good sense
to ban StoneVision before it was even launched in their country, and people
who invested in the until-recently-thought-dead technology of Colonel
Maguire's Cinema-to-Graph, which may be rather tame in comparison with
StoneVision but has the great merit of not actually killing you while you
watch it.