My initial blogs have been focused on the Process of Writing so, this week I thought I’d go into What I’m writing and give you readers an insight/introduction into the world of Camelot 2050.
For those familiar (and not so familiar) with the romantic Arthurian Legend the story begins somewhere around the year 535CE at the Battle of Camlann. This is the infamous battleground where Arthur was defeated by Mordred le Fay (his son by his half-sister Morgana) and it is here where the history of the 2050 universe diverts from the classic legend. In this story Lancelot (returned from a campaign in Europe where he fled after his affair with Guinevere was discovered) takes Arthur’s place on the point of Mordred’s sword not only saving the Now and Future King of England but, to some extent, redeeming himself for his misdeeds in the Royal bedchamber and reaffirming his ties to Camelot and to Arthur.
From this point the history of Briton continues somewhat parallel with our history (albeit with an unbroken line of Pendragon’s on the throne). A few names and events have disappeared or been much reduced (Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War and the subsequent Restoration Period for example) and other events might have taken place but in a more civilised, humane way (the Mapping and Exploration of the Globe becoming less European Expansionist and The Industrial Revolution less inhumane).
The so-called World Wars did take place, further back the Napoleonic war is a feature of history and many of the European wars that took place before it (though for different reasons under the influence of the moral compass of Camelot). War is not unknown and the world as it sits is far from perfect. The lack of flight technology is also an important contributing factor in this world. In an imaginary world where travel takes time but communication can be almost instantaneous the global situation has to reflect that.
So, what are the real changes we see to a world where the drive to build Empires was either not indulged or curtailed (sometimes by martial intervention), what of the nations not explored in the books? Well, I shall tell you (but bear in mind I am neither a historian nor a sociologist).
Largely the nations of the world exist in in a state of greater privacy, less prone to outward expansion and more focused on internal progress although relations are made for the purpose of trade and mutual support in times of conflict.
- The collective nations of Europe exist in a state of age old (though more good-natured) competition, the wars have been put behind them and now its more a competition of Capitalist and Technological gain.
- The Nordic States are split, those to the North hold on to the darker elements of their seagoing raider past. They have deeply held traditions and little time for the ‘civilised’ states to the South and hold deeper ties with the shadowy Russian states than those of their Southern cousins. The southern Jarls (Largely an honorific in these times) spend more time communicating with the wider European community and have long-held and honoured trade agreements and ties to the nation of Europe. They have more instances of animosity with their Northern cousins and Russia than any other nation on the European side of the continent.
- Russia is a brooding, isolated shadow on the map. They talk to no-one, they trade with no-one and that makes the neighbouring states uneasy, unsettled places reminiscent of the ‘Iron Curtain’ era spanning 1945 to 1992.
- Further afield the Middle East is a mix of stable and unstable areas. Old conflicts drag on even as the richer principalities strive for their own advancements and place on the global stage (much like in our real-world but without the large-scale Western Military intervention).
- Africa, to be clear, in the World of Camelot 2050 slavery has had it’s place in history but never on the industrialised scale of the 17th and 18th century. The ancient concept of ‘Bondsmen’ whereby a defeated warrior is spared and taken into servitude is the model but it’s a practice fallen out of favour. The states and nations of Africa are known and are largely left to their own devices unless a humanitarian situation arises. Again, the situation mirrors the real-world politics of the continent, largely stable but with hot spots that sometimes draw the attention of the larger, global community.
- In India the British Raj never happened. The East India Company was a much smaller affair trading for tea, silks and spices under the careful eye and regulation of Camelot but the nation itself remained self-governed.
- The Far East nations of China, Indonesia and Japan, free of external Western influences, retain a great deal of their ancestral cultural practices while embracing the rise of technology with a singular focus. Emperors reign and Honour is a guiding principle in everyday life (although the definition and practice is greatly different to how westerners understand the concept). Japanese Samurai and Chinese Royal Guard reflect the technological and medical advancements born by the Knights of the Round Table and, while communications with these nations are largely cordial they remain and esoteric collection of cultures to many.
- The much reduced nature of European Expansionism in the world of Camelot 2050 means that the US of A as we know it simple doesn’t exist. Canada, North America, Mexico and South America retain their historic native populations. The Nation of the People covers the northern continent and includes the many Native American tribes that were sadly lost in our own history. The Eastern seaboard is the site for embassies and trade posts with the Nation but travel between those nations is a rare thing. In the South the peoples of the Aztec, Myan and Incan Empires are outwardly hostile. They do not welcome visitors and journeys to the southern continents are rare and dangerous. While the Nations have adopted and adapted technologies from their southern neighbours and the visitors from the East the Empires of the South have shown evidence of their own, extremely advanced technology which is far from understood by those outside their borders.
- Australia, again with little in the way of European Expansion Australia remains in the hands of the Aboriginal peoples. Save for a few communes and outposts of Europeans who fled religious or cultural persecution through the 17th and early 18th Century.
So, that is a broader view of the world of Camelot 2050. It’s built on ideas that have occurred to me as I’ve written the main story and it’s one I might explore in satellite novels later (or if someone volunteers to write an RPG in the setting). It’s certainly a world with it’s own share of problems unique to ours but strongly influenced by our world too. Perhaps in visualising this alternate history I’ve tried to soften the injustices that have been done throughout the world over the course of time but I cannot deny them and I can only hope that, one day, the Knightly virtues of Courage, Justice, Mercy, Generosity, Faith, Nobility and Hope become more focal to how our world is run and how each of us live our lives day-to-day.