Sunday, 12 May 2013

Future Proofing in a Constitutional Monarchy

 So, last post I mentioned two short stories I was working on. One is for a competition mentioned on Karen Woodward’s blog, but the other is part of a longer term project.

Short story condensed to a single sentence, it’s about an AI and the trials and tribulations of their existence.

 It’s set fifteen minutes in the future, and this is a problem, because of the nature of the story and one of the characters pretty much necessitates a knighthood and that’s a story that’s too interesting to pass up. An AI meeting a monarch? How cool would that be?

 But this sets me up with a problem.

 I’m British, I live in a country with a monarch, so I know who the big figure of cultural significance is going to be ten, twenty, or even fifty years from now. Or rather, I know who it is likely to be, and this presents a problem for me.

 As much as I’d like to have the current Queen be the reigning monarch in my story, the fact that is takes place in the near future makes that more or less impossible. Regardless of what Eddie Izzard tells us, the Queen will not live forever and she’s eighty seven. In the time of my story, she’ll be a much missed figure.

 So that leaves me with her heir and his heir (Prince of Wales is a separate title, remember?). Which is actually a little bit of a boon. If I can avoid naming the monarch and just use his title and refer to the king I may be able to avoid the Eugenics Wars problem.

 However, this may confine me to the next sixty years. That might seem like a long time, but I want as long as possible, so this leaves me in something of a quandary.

 I say ‘may’ because as I write this, we are expecting a new royal baby.

 It’s all the joy of a celebrity baby, only with constitutional significance.

 Right now, we don’t know whether this unborn royal is a boy or a girl.

 As a loyal subject of Queen Elizabeth II, I find myself wanting a princess. There’s a lot of love for our current monarch and there’s a very palpable need for constitutional reform for women to rise to the throne regardless of if they have younger brothers or not.

 As the Queen has been on the throne for sixty years most of us have never known what it’s like to have a king, so I’d wager that a large number of Britons, if not the majority, want another queen. If this baby is a boy, then that means we’re going to have maybe a full century of kings.

 While this might concern me on the level of a loyal subject of the current Queen, as a writer I find this possibility to be a relief.

 If the new royal turns out to be a boy, then I can merely mention the monarch by title and future proof myself from both a rush in technological change and progress being slower than I anticipate. If it’s a girl, I’m to be confined to a shorter time period than I would like.

 Only time will tell one way or the other, but these next few months I must continue writing and planning for an uncertain future.

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