Time Tours Incorporated: a short story

This is the intro to Time Tours Incorporated, a short story about a researcher who goes back in time to 1452 to witness for himself the events of The First Outbreak. This story, and others, will be available soon in a published collection.

In the Year of Our Lord, 1452 (if you follow the Gregorian calendar), Kuwae – a submarine caldera between the Epi and Tongoa islands in Vanuatu – erupted. Located approximately 1 750kms east of Northern Australia, the eruption of Kuwae released more sulphate than any other event in the previous 700 years and – if you believe the scientists – led to a global cooling effect.

One volcano cooled the world.

Other notable mentions in 1452 (or 814 if you follow the Burmese calendar) included the discovery of the islands of Corvo and Flores, in the Azores, by Portuguese navigator Diogo de Teive. Frederick III was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned in Rome, Pope Nicolas V legitimised the colonial slave trade, and Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy, officially declared war on Ghent.

1452 (or 1168 if you follow the Coptic calendar) saw the births of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, German mathematician Johannes Stöffler, Italian humanist pedagogue and grammarian Antonio Mancinelli, and Lucrezia Crivelli, thought to be the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, La belle ferronnière. She is known to have been the mistress of Ludovicon Sforza, Duke of Milan. Hubba-hubba.

1452 (or 2618 if you follow the Discordian calendar) was also the year that English bishop Nicholas Close died, and so did John Stafford, the Archbishop of Canterbury. All in all, not a good year for the clergy, what with deaths and legalising slavery.

1452 (of 859 if you follow the Bengali calendar) was also the year of The First Outbreak. It is not known – in the sense of things known – but rather theorised, and surmised, and hypothesised, based on the prevailing evidence and the many studies done. While the Second and Third Outbreaks and not disputed, being a part of established and recorded history, The First Outbreak was thought to have come in 1452 (or 1996 in the Buddhist calendar).

It is now believed – and I tend to agree, having written one of the studies – that it was not only sulphate that was thrown into the air when Kuwae blew.

And thanks to Time Tours Inc., I have come to see it for myself.