While at Eastercon, I kept hearing about “Other Londons”? There’s Un Lun Dun, A Darker Shade of Magic, a third example that proves my point…anyway who cares about London? I live in Sofia, and I’m thinking about Other Bulgarias.
Fortunately I don’t have to think long. Like everywhere else on the Balkans, Sofia is a layer-cake of various historical empires, from the Roman “Serdica” to the Byzantine “Triaditsa” to the Bulgarian “Sredets” to the Ottoman “Sofya.” Imagine a character whose magic power it is to hold an object and transport herself to the an alternate history that split from ours at the time of that object’s manufacture.
“I enter the Sveta Sofia, and find it’s grown. A huge, decrepit dome rises now caps the building like a broken eggshell, and water drips onto secondary roofs of timber and cloth. No metal or plastic, which is a bad sign. A shaven-headed boy in black robes uses a bronze sickle to beheads a dove right in front of me. Which is probably a worse sign.”