thanks to the London Times and various other worthy publications)
(Not including news on the British political situation, which can be found
TO THE EDITOR "... there is absolutely no fundamental difference
whatsoever between 'living' beings and automata. Our heads clearly contain
something more complicated than punched cards, but the principle, I am
sure, is the same; if it were understood, it would be possible to change a
human from a vicious killing machine into a lover of flower-arranging - and
vice versa! To 'transplant' behaviours (and personality??) from one person
to another. To create new modes of thought, and even of belief. What
awesome, terrible, God-like power!! Yours faithfully, Mr Charles Darwin."
WITH A BANG Renowned inventor Dr Sir William S Bang has turned
explosive talents to the aquatic field, with a new rocket-powered boat.
Early tests, on Coniston Water, proved remarkably unsafe, but the
Hamilton-Bang Corporation are confident they have hammered out the bulk of
the stability problems. Sir William has also adopted a young lad, Master
Arthur Sixpence, a twelve-year-old Leeds schoolboy, to be the heir to his
sizeable fortune, setting a fine example to childless plutocrats the nation
HONOURS HEROES Regent von Essen has been granting high honours
those who took part in the anti-TickTockMan campaign of 1881, including
Prussia's highest decoration, the Iron Cross, to plucky Briton Lord
Jonathon Hazelmere, 'for his intelligence work and heroic deeds', and the
second-highest Knight's Cross (together with the title of Landgraf) to
Byzantine Magister Militum Niels Graaf and to Prussian commanding officer
RED DUST PUZZLES LONDON Another rain of mysterious red dust
year, covering the West End and Mayfair. Scientists confess themselves
SQUISHED Among the casualties of the sporadic struggle between
the Army and forces loyal to the Southville government have been the
Knights Templar, whose historic castle at Llandovmyvarthers was utterly
destroyed and all within it killed. Another target, surely accidental, was
noted philanthropist Dame Elizabeth DuQuesne-Black, who has been fortunate
to survive four separate assaults on her London house by rag-tag mercenary
DELIGHT [been waiting to use that for 17 years! - ed.] Renowned
international playboy Mr Sunil 'Sonny' Laing has made a full recovery from
the debilitating sickness that last year confined him to a wheelchair,
thanks apparently to the help of Native American tribal medicine-men, and
of course that saint in human form Baron von Poelzig.
TO WED Princess Arabella of Liechtenstein, voted 'Most
Fairy-tale Princess in Europe (Not Counting Princesses Mary, Alice or
Kathy)' by readers of How Do You Do? magazine, has announced that she is to
marry the enigmatic Frenchman-turned-Italian Senator Comte Henri 'Napol'
Bertrand, renowned inventor and recluse.
OF DARWIN Renowned and controversial scientist Mr Charles
Darwin has been courting further opprobrium with his new thesis that humans
are nothing more than complicated machines. A series of increasingly outré
lectures have been marred by ugly scenes, in which scandalized listeners
protest that Mr Darwin seems to be ignoring the existence of the soul,
which surely means humans are far more than mere minds and thus cannot be
explained purely mechanistically. (from our Science and Religion
IN FRANCE? Europe breathed a sigh of relief to learn that the
warring French forces are finally negotiating, with a political settlement
looking increasingly likely now that both sides have worn themselves into
the ground. Perhaps the appointment of the infant Napoleon V, nephew of the
current Emperor, signals a thawing in relations, but the sight of Imperial
and Revolutionary Frenchmen sitting down to talk together, with only the
minimum of shouting and hand-waving, was a heartening one.
CONDEMNS COUP The Italian government has condemned the military
coup in Britain, while expressing admiration for the bloodless manner in
which it was accomplished, and has called for the reinstatement of
STILL MISSING The search continues for Kaiser Wilhelm, and in
his absence the regency of Prussia has been assumed by his cousin
Chancellor von Essen, in accordance with the Kaiser's own wishes - this has
rather piqued his son, also Wilhelm, whose supporters at the Berlin Court
had been angling for him to assume the supreme power. Given that Count von
Essen has now spent a year and a half trying to find the Kaiser, without
any form of success, unkind tongues are starting to suggest that he knows
his cousin to be dead, and has only failed to declare it so because that
would mean relinquishing the throne to young Kronprinz Wilhelm.
RISES ANEW The new Messiah, slain last year by forces
mysterious, has risen from the grave, this time taking rather longer about
it than he / she did in his / her incarnation as Jesus. Initially seen
disguised as a gardener, later wandering the roads about Emmaus, the risen
Christ was swiftly acknowledged by the local churches and, as though to
prove that the Old Testament does not have all the best stories, parted the
Red Sea, causing considerable disruption to shipping.
PRINCESS DISAPPEARS Princess Arabella of Liechtenstein, soon
be married to Comte Bertrand, has been snatched from her palace by a
ribbon-bedecked army of steam men, scant days before the wedding. However,
from the lack of alarm evinced in her circles, it seems clear that this is
a wheeze on the part of her publicity-shy fiancé, who no doubt intends the
wedding to take place at one of his secret bases - which news will greatly
disappoint the bon ton of Europe, who had hoped to make it the social event
of the decade.
TOPPLE The Russian government has fallen to a
military-backed revolution, led by the new Monarchist Party. Increasing
turmoil in the collectivist utopia established so many years ago by
visionary John Lenin had made the process of governance nigh-on impossible,
with distribution, infrastructure and civil service utterly snarled.
Eventually a collection of high-ranking military officials decided enough
was enough, and after only a brief period of house-to-house fighting
replaced the Communist government. The Monarchist Party have brought back
Grand Duke Andrej Romanov, cousin of the late Tsar, and plan to have him
crowned as soon as order has been re-established throughout this vast
country. As for the average Russian peasant, he is probably happier being
told what to do, rather than taking responsibility for his own decisions.
CAUGHT Mr Tamworth-Smith, Home Secretary under the old government
and still with some control over the police force, announced that the
escaped lunatic Miss Sarah Savage had been caught and returned to custody.
He praised the efforts of two private individuals, Mrs Aramintha Savage (no
relation) and Mr Sidney Weaver, the noted radical MP, in removing this
dangerous individual from the streets.
TO MARS This summer saw a sizeable mission to our neighbour
planet, led by the Italian government in a fleet of new MA-II class ships
constructed by Lord Maguire. Byzantine troops and Prussian observers were
also present. What response was gained from our tentacular chums has not
been announced, but the deputation certainly turned around and came home
DEFENCE IN ITALY The Italian government has instigated a
comprehensive programme of precautions against war, including stockpiles of
food, blankets and the like. The Ministero della Verita was at pains to
point out that these were merely sensible precautions, not panic measures.
PHILANTHROPIST DIES The President of the British Red Cross,
Elizabeth DuQuesne-Black, has died at her London home, in an accidental
fire which consumed the dwelling utterly. This remarkable lady, friend to
wounded soldiers and to thought-untreatable madmen alike, will be greatly
missed by the many whose lives she brightened. 'We will not see her like
again,' said international Red Cross leader Mr Carl Coltrane, wiping away a
BERLIN PACT The new Monarchist government in Russia has
wasted no time in securing alliance with its mighty neighbour, the Prussian
Empire. Prussian advisers are helping with the restoration and updating of
the Russian economy and army, and a military pact has been agreed. In
return, Russia has transferred sovereignty of its German-speaking areas,
including the enclave of Königsberg, to Prussia. International observers
are opining that this new friendship between these two giants can only be
seen as a threat to their smaller (but still of course very large)
neighbours, the Ottoman and the Byzantine Empires.
REPLANTS FRANCE The renowned circus impresario has scattered
grass- and flower seed over the devastated hills and valleys of France, in
a gesture of amity designed to help that troubled land back towards
FOR SPAIN This year saw the birth of young Prince Alfonso,
the Infanta Maria and Mr Peter Darkenford. The child is second heir to the
throne, after Crown Prince Ferdinand. The simple Spanish folk greeted his
birth with much delight, and are no doubt pleased to see Mr Darkenford
deploying some of his many talents on their behalf, this year rising high
in the councils of government: as his other son is heir to the French
throne, it might be thought that his attentions would be diverted from
sleepy little Spain.
TAKES IT EASY Mr Charles Darwin, every devout Christian's current
favourite hate figure, is currently spending some time in the Priory
rest-home, in a darkened room with soothing music playing. Staff described
him as 'having a nice lie-down'.
CAPTURED While travelling on business in France, plucky Britons
Captain Percy Blakely and Mr Caspar Augustus Fielding, a former police
detective, were captured by a band of ruffians and held to ransom. Captain
Blakely was able to make his escape, but Mr Fielding was not released until
the end of the year. The Times can only hope that the new rapprochement in
France will see an end to such unbridled lawlessness.
IN AFRICA? Troops of the Byzantine Empire, under the personal
command of the Magister Militum, have been reported in central Africa, in
the vicinity of the ancient ruined city of G'harne. The Times can only hope
that this does not signify imperialist adventurism in a region which,
although not hitherto colonized, is clearly within Britain's zone of
FOR LOWLANDERS Lady Alicia Douglas-Maxwell, celebrated
Scots philanthropist, has announced the funding of the Teviotdale Bursary,
a prize for Hawick boys and girls who excel at school but cannot afford
further education. The fund will cover tuition fees and a maintenance grant
at any university in the United Kingdom. While applauding Lady Alicia's
worthy motives, The Times cannot but wonder if it is wise to upset the
natural order in such a fashion. How well will the child of a Border
shepherd fit in at Oxford or Cambridge, alongside the blue-blooded future
leaders of Empire? Or, if the experience should change this child, how will
it grow to view its parents? Surely all reasonable people accept that each
of us is born to a particular station in life, and that to attempt to go
beyond its bounds can only lead to misery.
AND GRACES Mr Henri von Giffard, the dynamic Prussian, has
a heavier-than-air passenger and freight service, using his Phoenix
'aeroplanes'. Flights are to be offered all across Europe, with ticket
prices expected to be rather high until demand grows. But can it compete
with the romance of sea travel? This remains to be seen, although the
presence of minor European royals and other celebrities at the service's
Berlin launch suggests that Mr von Giffard hopes so.
WEAPONRY Lord Maguire has developed another new wonder, a sword
made entirely out of light - at the touch of a button on the hilt, a
four-foot long beam of light blue energy shoots out, accompanied by an
intense buzzing, and a vicious sizzling as it cuts through the air.
Apparently it is partly based upon Martian heat-ray technology. His
Lordship stressed that the weapon was t be used only in self-defence.
SLAIN Mr Lance Carruthers, noted melancholic poet, has died
London home, torn apart as though by some wild beast. The manuscript of his
latest work, an epic entitled 'All Things Weighed in the Balance', on the
subject of natural justice, was found beside his body.
A BEAKER FULL OF THE WARM SOUTH This year saw a big campaign
promote Italian food across Northern Europe, with the new Italian Export
Marketing Board ensuring that a sun-dried tomato smothered in balsamic
vinegar and grated Parmesan was on every plate, under the rather catchy
slogan 'Bring a little Mediterranean sunshine into your life!' Verdicts
have been mixed, with Mrs Britain proclaiming loudly that a riot of
delicate and subtle flavours may be all very well, but it scarcely compares
with the traditional virtues of the English diet of boiled stodge and flab
- and, besides, Italian food is soooo greasy.
SALTIRE RAISES EYEBROWS The appearance in the Firth of Forth,
after dawn on St Andrew's Day, of a gigantic diagonal cross rising out of
the water, has stirred the hearts of many a Scot - the phenomenon, depicted
in many ancient sources, is thought to be a natural one related to current
and tide effects.
AWAY The London house of the former Home Secretary, Mr James
Derothshire, has been devastated by a freak rain of molten chocolate,
thought by puzzled meteorologists to have been swept up by a tornado
passing over a chocolate factory, or some such. Fortunately Mr Derothshire
was away at the time, and Mrs Derothshire managed to eat her way out.
GO BANG Dr Sir William S Bang was disconsolate after a tragic
accident at a firework display led to the deaths of twenty people. 'We have
the strictest safety precautions against such incidents,' protested a
company spokesman, after it was revealed that the accidental explosion was
caused by a red-hot coal being carelessly tossed into an open box of
PUTS YOU TO SLEEP Discredited scientist Dr William Stone has
that not all his inventions are about throwing people out of work or
accidentally killing them, with a new pneumatic system of anaesthetic
delivery which has revolutionized procedures in operating theatres up and
down the land. Rates of death under anaesthesia have halved under the Stone
system, the grateful Royal College of Surgeons announced. Mr Stone also
announced his marriage, to the widowed Mrs Emma Peel, in a private ceremony
Tired of long sea journeys or train travel? Air Giffard
will be able to take you to your destination quickly and in comfort. Need
freight delivered from one city to another? Air Giffard can carry it for
PRIEST KILLED Parisian minister Père Chaipte, confessor
titled heads of the city, was found stabbed to death in his confession box
this Easter. The wood of the box had been mysteriously gnawed, as though by
some large rodent or mustelid.
ATTACKS! New Year's Eve dawned to the shocking news that a
Martian invasion fleet waited poised in our upper atmosphere, ready to
unleash hideous death upon Earth's teeming multitudes. Is this the truth
behind the Green mask of friendliness? Or is it some hideous
misunderstanding over a plate of calamari? Earth looks to its leaders to