Sunday, 31 August 2014

Historical Material

An evening misspent watching television showed me that we are permanently surrounded by endless material for writers of time travel or historical fiction. A documentary about ancient Egypt followed the elaborate funeral preparations of a particular named couple. The commentator ended by suggesting that the couple had achieved a kind of immortality because we are now talking about them. They could be the viewpoint characters of a novel or might join the Time Patrol to help future researchers of ancient Egypt.

A second documentary was about Hugh MacDiarmid, a radical Scottish poet, too Communist for the Nationalists and too Nationalist for the Communists. The commentator argued that current Scottish cultural richness is MacDiarmid's legacy and also reminded us that Scotland will soon vote on Independence, which MacDiarmid wanted. Although he is not a figure that I was familiar with, as the program progressed, I realized that I had heard him address a mass meeting of students in Dublin in the late sixties or early seventies. He hoped that our generation would go further than his had done.

Here is endless scope for more fiction, e.g., a biographical novel set during MacDiarmid's earlier life in the twenties and thirties or an alternative history story in which Scotland became independent back then and the Patrol has to rectify matters. MacDiarmid was even involved in a plot to steal the Stone of Scone from Westminster and return it to Scotland. It is said that the money collected to hire cars to transport the Stone was instead spent in a London pub but we may imagine that the Time Patrol had some hand in the matter. Everard got some Mongols drunk to prevent them from conquering North America so he could easily play a similar trick with Scottish Nationalists.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

And for many reasons, I hope Scotland does not break away from the UK! And the Time Patrol? Whatever the outcome of that referendum on secession, we can easily Manse Everard playing a role in making sure that happens as we will see it.