G.K. Chesterton’s surreal fantasy “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” is set in the year 1984.
Chesterton’s view of a London 80 years hence from the year in which he wrote the story is not the frightening totalitarian state foreseen by George Orwell in his book titled with that same year, (although it is thought that Orwell chose that year from his knowledge of Chesterton’s story).
Chesterton’s more humorous and fantastical look into the near future finds England to be much the same as in 1904 except that the concept of Monarchy has fallen into such an inconsequential position (as the world has moved away from individual autonomous states, all the better to avoid wars) that the Monarch is now determined by lot in an alphabetical book.
When Auberon Quinn unexpectedly finds himself announced as the new King he considers the whole affair one big regal joke and to amuse himself (and annoy his pompous political friends) he indulges himself by concocting a cod history and pageantry for the London Boroughs.
Little does he realise that his preposterous joke might be taken seriously and that the ceremonial swords and halberds would become weapons of an actual war between the differing London factions. It only takes one zealous and determined mad man to take him all too seriously.
Head Stories Audio presents "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" narrated by Simon Hester. With original music.