About this novel

The Last-Minute Queen takes place in the year 1978 on an Earth very much like ours at the same date, but more inclined towards reason and less tolerant of howling fanaticism. Because of this, it's had fewer "great" wars. Without the widespread waste of people and capital, and with research not interrupted or corrupted to military purposes, in most fields its science and technology in 1978 are equal or superior to ours in 2003. In no case are they behind those of our own world in 1978.

The Society for Creative Anachronism is an actual organization on our Earth. The Medieval Recreation Society, on the other hand, never existed. It was invented to explain how Aino could be eighteen years old in 1978, when her parents met at a tourney, yet the SCA wasn't founded until 1967. If it had been an SCA tourney, she couldn't have been more than 11 in 1978! Inventing an earlier Society was easier, in many ways, than starting the SCA earlier than the hippy era which led to its unique culture; and setting this novel later wouldn't fit into the "Sleep of Reason" timeline.

The Society of the Golden Unicorn was proposed by the person called Baron Mezentius in this novel, as a solution to the basic wrongness and incessant meddling of the SCA's Board of Directors; but we weren't wise enough to listen to him and make it happen. Calafia, Angels, Isles, Dreiburgen, Failte, Terra, Gyldenholt, Caid, and other SCA groups mentioned in the novel actually exist or used to exist. Some of the SGU groups mentioned herein exist, or used to exist, in the SCA; others are entirely fictional.

Some of the people in this novel actually exist, and I have their permission to use their names, both real and Society, their likenesses, etc. For the most part, I have chosen not to use anyone's actual mundane or Society name even when I had such permission. Other people are "based on" one or more actual persons. Some actual persons are represented more than once, for example certain people who had so many interests and did so much that they would seem unrealistic if depicted as they actually were. And, yes, some people in this novel are completely made up and fictitious!

Some events in this novel are made up from nothing. But far more represent things that could have happened, and should have happened, if only the Society lived up to its potential. The vast majority of things in the novel actually happened at one time or another, and I was there to see them; just not in exactly the context or the order depicted, or to the persons named.

Some of the poems and songs in this novel are real songs and poems, such as "Three Ravens" and "The Riddle Song". Others, attributed in the novel to Master Joseph, Master Harold, Master Anthony, and others, are poems and songs that I wrote. Some were written especially for this novel, others I wrote earlier for their own sake, and included them here.

I was a member of the SCA for a long time. From 1970 to 1990, more or less, it was practically my whole life. Writing a series of novels using the SCA as their setting, creating a genre like westerns or mysteries, occurred to me a long time ago. My two previous attempts to write this novel failed because I didn't really have any characters to write around, just the basic idea of "he needs to find a queen at the last minute". Throwing Mezentius's SGU into the mix, setting the novel in the "Sleep of Reason" timeline, and basing the Suomainen women on some women I knew in Oregon (with their permission!), turned an idea into a workable novel.

The basic idea remains, and is still the core of the book. But now we have all these other characters, each with his or her own life; we have the "Sleep of Reason" timeline to explore; and I'm deliberately exposing Isabella, and through her the reader, to every aspect of SGU life, and every kind of SGU event.

I hope you enjoy reading The Last-Minute Queen as much as I enjoyed writing it. There will be more!

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