H is for History. How did this world get to be populated by guinea pigs and have so many parallels to our own? Hugo makes a reference at some stage to certain trade routes with the ‘old world’ being illegal since ‘that nasty business with the tea’. I assume he’s referring to the Boston Tea Party.
At some stage was there a time shift, or did guinea pigs manage to take over things that had been developed by people with opposable thumbs? I have decided that it is a parallel universe, so you have to take it for granted that they have established their society with absolutely no sign of man. In the Princelings books we keep coming across parallels, even people with the same name doing the same things. I envisage Monsieur Bleriot being a French guinea pig (cochon d’Indes) and just taking a while longer to develop the flying machine than the human one did.
In some ways this is a pre-steampunk world, with different, no fossil fuel technology. But they still do have some of the products, which will be discussed under ‘M’. The industrial revolution did not take place in the same way that it did in the human world, water power and wind power drove engines, and fire is used to create steam but not to the same extent as it did when coal was discovered and used as the main source of fuel. Mining is for metal ores, not coal.
In the guinea pigs’ world, there is an entity called ‘the realms’ which seems to be the collective term for all the castles and their kingdoms, sometimes also referred to as ‘the domain’. Each castle has a king, or a lord, who runs it. It seems to be a fiefdom, although most of the inhabitants are fairly relaxed about the whole thing and there do not seem to be any real tyrants around. Lady Nimrod suggests this was not always the case when she discusses the role of women with the princess of the Lost City. There are strict rules about succession, and as there are lawyers at the meeting to determine the rightful heir of Castle Marsh. There seem to rules and conventions for business too, since Victor is doing his MBA. And later we find he hasn’t looked up his export and import rules sufficiently well to really be convincing.
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