The Monster Queens Of EnglandS

In the title story of Michael Swanwick's demented new collection The Dog Said Bow-Wow, a monstrous genetically engineered Queen Gloriana rules a dark future England. She's the size of a truck and has 36 brains, connected by thick ganglia in a "hypercube configuration." In other words, she's a huge organic computer with no sex life. And she's just the latest in a long line of monster queens of England. Click through for the bizarre details.

In Swanwick's story, originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction, computers and related technology are forbidden. Hence the massive mutant queen, who has an amazing long lifespan. Guarded by super-intelligent and loyal apes, she governs the country and secretly longs for death.

Here are some of the other great monstrous queens of England:

"Victoria" by Paul Di Filippo. A young Queen Victoria runs away to go live in a brothel and experience the wild life she's been denied. Luckily, an inventor has succeeded in cloning a newt/human hybrid that looks just like the Queen. So the mutant takes the Queen's place while her handlers search for her. Things get more complicated when a nuclear-powered train explodes. This story appears in Di Filippo's Steampunk Trilogy.

Doctor Who, "Tooth And Claw." An alien parasite that looks much like a werewolf is attempting to bite Queen Victoria so it can take her over and rule the British Empire through her. It's strongly hinted at the end of the episode that the werewolf actually succeeded and Victoria now carries the werewolf strain. Which means the plot to assassinate Queen Victoria in the 1989 story "Ghost Light" may actually have been a good idea after all.

The frozen head of Queen Victoria, kept alive by a steam-powered life support system (of course), presided over a robot contest at a British convention called Beyond Cyberdrome. Here's a photo:

The Monster Queens Of EnglandS

"Send Her Victorious" by Brian Aldiss. "Queen Victoria" turns out to be an ultra-superior alien who created the Earth in some kind of bizarre experiment. In the late twentieth century, a man realizes Queen Victoria's grave is actually a portal to her alien dimension, and she's about to destroy the human race now that the experiment has run its course. He confronts the giant Victoria in her lair, leading to this classic paragraph: "She grabbed him up between two immense pudgy fingers. She was imperious, regal, she was Queen Victoria. And she was not amused." This story appears in the book Intangibles, Inc.

The real Queen Victoria had hemophilia despite having no hemophiliac ancestors, which means she actually was a mutant. Some experts cite her rare "mutation" as proof that she was actually illegitimate.

David Icke used to be a football star and then a Green Party spokesman in England, but now he's a famous conspiracy nut. He believes Queen Elizabeth is a shape-changing reptile, part of a secret reptilian cabal that runs the world and organized the Holocaust, 9/11 and pretty much everything else. His followers pore over photos of the Queen for evidence of "lizard neck." Really.

So there you have it. The only question left is, is it the monarchy itself that inspires these fantasies? Or just the idea of a female monarch? Maybe in a few years we'll be seeing a spate of "Mutant President Hillary" stories.