Today marks the four-hundredth and sixteenth anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth the First, one of the historical characters that always fascinated me the most. It probably comes from watching at a tender age the old TV drama featuring Glenda Jackson, Elizabeth R. And yes, I have already mentioned, when I was a kid, my parents allowed me to watch all sort of adult stuff on the telly.
As a result of this fascination, I have a shelfload of books about Elizabeth and Elizabethan England. Biographies, guidebooks, tomes on specific subjects such as magic, espionage, the criminal underworld.
And from one of my emergency book boxes I have retrieved this morning a copy of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England, that I bought years ago on a special sale, and have saved for the right time. Why not read it in the next weeks, and take some notes for future fiction projects?
Back when I was in the Air Farce, I spent some of the abundant free time to design a fantasy/horror roleplaying game set in Elizabethan times, and I still consider the Elizabethan period a good template for a fantasy setting – a lot better than the overdone pseudo-Celtic or mock-Norse venues of run of the mill fantasy novels.
And I might also read again Michael Moorcock’s Gloriana, or the Unfulfilled Queen, that is an excellent example of fantasy inspired not by Elizabeth and her age, but by the imagination of that age, and the Faerie Queene in particular.
I can highly recommend this one.
I still have my old copy with a naked woman on the cover (actually Salammbo, as painted by Adrien Henry Tanoux), that caused no end of weird looks and salacious comments back when I was in university.