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Literature: The Aztec Century
The Aztec Century is an Alternate History novel by Christopher Evans set in a world where, you guess it, the Aztecs become a superpower thanks to Cortez betraying Spain and sheer infinite amounts of good luck and competence on their side.

Then, in the year 1990, the Aztecs (which already control France, Italy, Spain and Serbia in Europe), invade Great Britain.

The story is narrated by princess Catherine, who's 21 when the invasion of Britain happens.

The novel was published in 1993 and won the British Science Fiction Award of 1994.


  • Affably Evil: The most important Aztecs - the old emperor Motecuhzoma X, the spiritual leader Tetzahuitl and the former's son and later emperor Extepan.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Catherine and Alex. Her father, king Stephen, was against their liaison, since Alex was divorced already. Later, Alex cheats on her with her sister. Now that's... bad.
  • All Just a Dream: Catherine suspects that they were drugged, and isn't sure anymore what really happened after she and Victoria were arrested by the Aztecs, witnessed Extepan's crowning, an Aztec wearing Alex' skin, and were sent to our Earth. At the end, Catherine wonders whether her former life was this.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Many. In 1967, there was a big battle at Jerusalem, for example.
  • Alternate History Wank: At the end of the story, the Aztecs control the whole Earth and start to explore other dimensions. And they manage to conquer Berlin only a few years after they overwhelmed Britain. And nobody seems to care - the only time the Aztecs are stopped (well, for some decades... and in North America only...), it takes the united talents of Napoleon Bonaparte, Wellington and Andrew Jackson to do so.
  • Alternate Self: For additional irony, it's Bevan's.
  • Another Dimension / Alternate Timeline: The story is set there, from our POV. Later, Catherine and Victoria get banned to our Earth - for them, Another Dimension!
  • Arranged Marriage: Play an important role. Richard to Xochinenen, Extepan to Precious Cloud. And in the past, the Aztec royals intermarried with the Ming in China, then helped toppling the unpopular republic in the 1960s, and take over the country.
  • Artificial Intelligence: ALEX, which has the personality of the real Alex. It's really a fake, used by the Aztecs who caught Alex and use him to make the computer-unsavvy Catherine their Unwitting Pawn. While she was thinking that she damaged the Aztecs - and suspected Bevan.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Extepan's.
  • Back from the Dead: The Aztecs tell Catherine that Alex was killed when Edinburgh was conquered, even showed her a headless dead body which looked like Alex', but she'll meet him later again.
  • Bait and Switch: Played for Drama, oh so much. Precious Cloud breaks the ice of a frozen lake to make people think she wanted to drown herself. Instead, she committed suicide by hanging somewhere else, which is discovered onyl after they wasted an hour at the lake.
  • Bilingual Backfire: Catherine understands and speaks Nahuatl.
  • Bland-Name Product: MexTaco is a big fast food chain with a logo in gold and red.
  • Bread and Circuses: Catherine accuses the Aztecs to do so - the British armed forces are dissolved, and the saved money is used for reducing taxes and social services.
  • British Royal Family: Catherine's branch of the family ("of Marlborough") never came into existence in our world.
  • But not too Aztec: Extepan is the son of the Aztec emperor, but his mother was a Spanish noblewoman.
  • The Chessmaster: It seems many Aztec princes have to be that.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Since the Aztecs converted to Catholicism, more close to the truth in this world. However, the Aztec kind of Catholicism allows polygyny, courtisans and eating dog meat. Some other people suspect that they're only superficially Catholic and follow their old rites secretly.
  • The Clan: The Aztec royal family.
  • Les Collaborateurs: To Catherine, everyone who is willing to accept the Aztec occupation of Britain. Since her brother Richard wants to be king, she's conflicted.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Aztecs.
  • Cricket: In part 2, Extepan, Richard and Catherine watch the game between England and Azania. She was warned that someone would try to set up a bomb hidden in a cricket bat. It's prevented from going off, but afterwards, Victoria of all people gets arrested and accused of collaborating with anti-Mexican groups.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Many.
  • Cultured Badass: Extepan got his education in a calmecac, which is for religious education, but still makes a great commander.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the first part, after the conquest of Berlin, the Aztecs sign a non-aggression pact with Poland.
  • Eat the Dog: The Aztecs do it routinely and literally.
  • The Empire: [[{{Mayincatec The Aztecs]]. At least for Catherine.
  • Empire of Mary Sue: The Aztecs. Worst things happening to them: A few of their people get killed, but none which can't be replaced, and a few people in unimportant positions screw up. And not only are they capable to take over the world with their military, they're also shrewd diplomats, create solar panels working perfectly, new plants which can grow in the desert, and have a popular culture with the combined influence of Hollywood (movies, TV series), Japan (Anime, Video Games, toy robots) and Paris/Milan (fashion).
  • Enemy Civil War: At one point, Catherine gets help from an American Indian - a Comanche, whose people was almost eradicated by the grandfather of the current Aztec emperor. By this way, she learns about a secret project of the Aztecs which looks like a mirror made of obsidian - unfortunately, not what it does.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: The narrator is one, and her sister Victoria also plays an important role. Then, there's her friend Precious Cloud, a Sioux princess (or the equivalent). Subverted: Precious Cloud goes mad and kills herself, Victoria cheated on Catherine with the latter's husband, and later goes mad too. Oh, and they're banished to Another Dimension.
  • Femme Fatale: In a strange twist, Catherine has to act like this towards her own husband Alex - when she discovers he isn't dead. They caught in the act by Maxixca, and it doesn't end well.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Advanced Learning and Evaluation matriX", which Alex helped to create.
  • Futuristic Pyramid: The Aztec step pyramids are both this and cultural.
  • Gambit Pileup: Catherine tries to be smarter than the Aztecs. Too bad they seem to be a race of chessmasters.
  • The Gambling Addict: Alex likes to make big bets.
  • Genuine Human Hide: The Aztecs do this sometimes, even though they converted to Catholicism.
  • The Ghost: Princess Margaret who went to Russia before the book started and only communicates by letter with Catherine.
  • Good governor, bad governor: The Aztecs seem to play this game with the Brits. Nauhyotl (a cousin of the emperor and uncle of Extepan) who's very strict, is succeeded by Extepan after the former is assassinated, but when he has to leave for Russia, Maxixca takes the helm and becomes worse than ever.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The Aztecs like to smoke their traditional pipes. Bevan, Alex and others smoke cigarettes.
  • Gratuitous Nahuatl: "auianime" (courtesans), and many more.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • After seeing what happened to her brother - see "Squick" - Victoria loses her mind and regresses to the mental level of a small child.
    • Precious Cloud also has one after her baby is born. She thinks there's still a baby inside her. She kills herself.
  • Human Sacrifice: Occasionally, some Aztecs still do it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Some Aztecs. And Catherine suspects that the Aztecs might have fed her and Victoria pieces of human meat, hidden under tasty sauces. To make things worse, it's implied that it might have been Alex' meat.
  • Insistent Terminology: The empire is generally called the Aztec one, but the ruling people are the Mexicatl, and some of them don't like to be called Aztecs.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Centuries after history diverges, people and concepts from our world still appear.
  • Jerk Ass:
    • Bevan supposedly is on Catherine's side, but acts like this to her. He never was a fan of the monarchy.
    • Maxixca, who looks down on white people.
    • And some racist Brits in a pub Catherine visits with Extepan who suspect she sleeps with him. It's not true - yet.
  • The Kingdom: Britain.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Discussed. A British woman whose son goes to school claims that the Aztec propaganda depicts them as this.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: ALEX seems to fit on one.
  • Missing Mom: Catherine's, and Extepan's. They both were six or younger when they lost her.
  • The Mole: Zig-zagged with Bevan. He's a servant of them. But he doesn't seem to like it and acts suspiciously. But then he helps them finding a hiding place. But the Aztecs find them, and he's there with them. But later he says that they naturally found them after combing the place, and threatened him with a gun, which he had in his back when they were caught. Confused yet? And that's only in part 1. Played straight with Alex, or what Catherine thinks is the AI he created.
  • The Nicknamer: Bevan. Extepan is "son number one", Maxixca is "Mad Mash".
  • Nuke 'em: Tsaritsyn (also known as Volgograd / Stalingrad in our world), which is occupied by the Aztecs at that time. The Aztecs retaliate by destroying first Rzhev and then Ekaterinburg, killing the Tsarist family. And Catherine's sister Margaret.
  • Persecution Flip: Part of the premise.
  • Phony Veteran: She meets some of those.
  • The Plague: "New Indian smallpox", a disease from America which decimated the Europeans (though probably not as much as European diseases in our world's America). The story lampshades that without this factor, the Aztecs never could've fought off the whites.
  • Playful Hacker: Alex who worked for the ministry of defense, and Bevan, surprisingly. They use ALEX to spy a bit on the Aztecs and confuse their plannings by creating ghost armies. It doesn't help much. In fact, the Aztecs use Catherine's belief that ALEX is speaking the truth to let the Russians think that the Aztecs won't attack them.
  • The Pope: Leo, also a Mexican.
  • Queen Vicky: Was assassinated in 1893.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • After Victoria is sexually harassed by the Aztec prince Tlacahuepan, he is reassigned to Canberra.
    • The officer Pachtli is responsible for a human sacrifice, Catherine suspects. He gets reassigned to Greenland.
  • La Résistance: There is one, but Catherine finds it hard to make contact with them, being a princess, even if she would like to. Only Bevan is able to do so, and she suspects he might not be reliable.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: Several. Karl Marx was an entrepreneur, Napoleon Bonaparte fought with Andrew Jackson and Wellington against the Aztecs, Gore Vidal and Tom Wolfe are president and VP of New England, Andy Warhol (still called Warhola) who leads an Aztec animation film studio, Joseph Stalin was prime minister of Russia under his birth name but was assassinated in 1939...
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Catherine wants to be this. How well she succeeds, is arguable. The first three years after the Aztec conquest of Britain, she, Victoria and Alex just hide in a house in Wales. Later, after they get caught, Catherine at least spends months travelling through the country, looking into hospitals and such (without warning) to check how well her people are treated, and can tell the Aztecs about problems.
  • Shout-Out: Zozo is an Aztec hero in California fighting with an epee. And many more.
  • Something Only They Would Say: The princesses used to play they were the Bronte siblings in their youth. So when they sign the letters with "Charlotte" and "Anne" respectively, they know that the letter is genuine.
  • Take Over the World: The Aztecs do it.
  • Title Drop: In part 3, they visit the set of a blockbuster movie - "The Aztec Century".
  • Worthy Opponent: Catherine and the Aztecs for each other.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Victoria with Alex

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