[When I asked Lindsay about this fragment she indicated her great, great grandmother had written it. I found this 'truth' stranger than any fiction -- but, as I've learned, that is the way of Ms. Petersen.]
"One evening Professor Weston and I were laboring late, frustrated in our efforts to reproduce cavorite. Weston had made, once again, a weak pun about producing catamites, and in the odd ways of somewhat distracted conversation our talk turned to a kind of Society of Remarkable Fellows of which he'd heard rumors.
He groused about his exclusion, or, rather, his not being invited. He then recited a list of members -- from his ready recall I surmised he'd been nursing this affront for some time.
I pondered the situation for a moment -- I, too, had not been invited, but having been ignorant of the Society's existence had not felt any pain at being excluded, or, more likely, forgotten entirely. My gender had rendered me all-too-familiar with the slight, and its cause.
As I considered further the 'luminaries' in the Society I felt the pain of the outsider yet less. I knew these men, many of them intimately, and not a one did I consider more than passably above-average. Bertie Wells, while an interesting fictionist, was a crusader for a world where he and his fellows would be the one-eyed men ruling the kingdom of the blind. Chief among htheir perquisites would be the droit de seigneur, the right, even the duty in Wells' eyes. to be the true sire of the people.
I loathe the fellow. Most of the others were little better.
Regarded from such perspective my exclusion rankled less and less. Were I to be invited, in fact, I rather doubted I'd join. What would be the point except endless patting and stabbing of your Fellows' backs?
But it did set me thinking about the mismatches of personalities and societies that have troubled forward-thinkers through the ages. Considering the awkwardness I sometimes sense in those around me, I realized it has always been thus, and I wondered what would happen if a future Lindsay Petersen were brought back to Victorian times, perhaps by Wells himself."
My great-great grandmother Kate Thomason thus became my proxy, of sorts.
And so I vowed to set a novel in her Victorian times whilst remaining reasonably faithful to actual chronologies. Efforts to remain true to times while also unfettering my imagination produced a curious tension, one which, I believe, benefited the exercise and aroused peculiar perspectives on my own psyche.
Some characters I wanted to include but their time periods, or their actions, didn’t match with my self-imposed chronological constraints. I tried shifting the dates of history slightly to give my story and characters greater integrity, shaving the boundaries separating my fanciful world and history gossamer-thin. Even so, the truth and fantasy would not mesh cleanly.
Then I realized that this is, after all, fiction, and fiction of a sillier sort at that. Thorough students of the era will spot anachronisms; others may complain that there are characters created by other authors used here, and there, and there! Worse yet, they’re used inappropriately!
Indulge me, or don't. Speculative fiction has within its gut huge scientific issues, and most readers swallow them whole; my solecisms are more subtle. All this is not a form of apology, for I never apologize; I feel it is only fair to warn you that this story is not 'true' history, and whenever recognizable names are used, I’m clothing real people’s musty skeletons with my fresh vibrant flesh.
Lindsay Petersen, 2015