Busy day – I got a rejection slip, I submitted a new story to a magazine, I wrote 2000 words of the forthcoming Hope & Glory handbook, and I cooked some top-notch tuna and tomato pasta for lunch.
And just as I was having lunch, I realized I had completely forgotten about the Suez Canal.
Let me explain – in Hope & Glory, after a catastrophe cripples the European Continent, a fleet carrying British refugees sails towards India.
The plan is to split the fleet in two – an as the bulk of the fleet circumnavigates Africa, braving the freak storms and the dangers of the long trip, a smaller fleet, carrying Queen Victoria and a number of VIPs, cuts through Gibraltar and Suez and reaches India through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Nice and smooth.
Pity all this is happening in 1855, and as Wikipedia promptly reminds me, the Suez Canal…
… was constructed by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869. After 10 years of construction, it was officially opened on November 17, 1869.
This is the sort of embarrassing thing that will have to be swept under the carpet when reviews will appear praising “the research and historical detail” of Hope & Glory, but right now it’s quite fun, because it forced me to rethink a small piece of the background, and in the end the whole turned out to be much better than it was before.
I was able to add drama, build a little on the mystique about the origins of the Anglo-Indian Raj in my setting, and I also had the opportunity to kill off Prince Albert.
Which is sad, because the guy was all right, I guess, but I needed Victoria to be a widow upon arriving in India.
And I like very much the way in which the setting is mutating under my hands as I write chapter after chapter. Leaving my options open and improvising the details make the whole thing fun, and the setting is much more alive.
And it’s not as time consuming as it might seem.