I started writing these stories with a tale of a time tunnel. I’m not quite sure why I thought this was a good idea, or why I picked 12 years as the number of years the time tunnel shifted the traveller back from Hattan to the realms. If you want to write a story, especially a series that you might want to add to later, and do stories of characters from the first one, don’t do a time tunnel! I am currently struggling with how to cope with two characters in Victor’s story (#5) who belong on either side of the time tunnel but are in a third place. This means that one of them knows something that has happened in the other one’s future. How should each behave with the other one?
The main reason for touching on time, though, is not the time tunnel but a subsequent difficulty, which is the lifespan of my guinea pigs in this world.
The typical lifespan of a guinea pig is five years. Four to seven or so. More than that is exceptional, less is unfortunately not exceptional, and there seems a particularly dangerous time between 2 and 3 when lots of pigs die, for all sorts of reasons. It is generally considered that a cavy’s ‘year’ is equivalent to about fourteen human years.
I decided right at the start of my story-telling, that my guinea pigs had longer lives. They would have to for persons to be adult at the ‘past’ end of the tunnel but still going strong 12 years in the future, which is the epilogue to the first book. I did some further calculations on Victor’s father and grandfather, as well as Mariusz’s line of descent from the founder of the cola drink, and decided that my guinea pig heroes would still be shorter lived, and grow up faster than humans, but nowhere near as fast as a real guinea pig. As a rule of thumb, my fictional guinea pigs are about 5 times as long-lived as a normal guinea pig. By this calculation, Mariusz’s lifespan is in excess of 30 years. That allows him to be the young Lord of Hattan in 2000, and still in charge but a bit fed up with time travelling in 2021. In maturity terms, they age about two and a bit times more than we would each year. The Mariusz in the first book is a fit, active late-fifties human, the sort who would be running marathons or a big company. Which, of course, he is.
An interesting outcome of this slower metabolism of the fictional guinea pig (because he grows up slower) is that in theory, he would be expected to be larger in stature. There is a direct relationship between the average size of mammal species and their typical lifespan. New research may put up more qualifiers to that, but it does give me the opportunity to consider my guinea pig heroes to be ‘larger than life’ in more than the usual sense!