I have been germinating on this post for a longish while, and I hope that it has ripened enough that I can finally put it down.
The use of dates always seems troubling in Caledon. The introduction in our Covenant states, "Caledon is a 19th century Steampunk Victorian nation-state!" So that is the clue right there. 19th Century. Victorian. Well Hmm. The Victorian Era took place from 1837 - 1901, dipping its toe in the the waters of the 20th century. To convert the real date to a Victorian one is not simple math. If we subtract 100 years, we are in the Edwardian Era, 200 years and we are way off. 150 years? Puts us 20 years in the Reign of Victoria, but introduces a lot of anachronisms. Caledon as it exists is a pastiche of the entire Victorian Era, with some bleed over from the Regency as well as Edwardian Eras, with a good sprinkling of a past that never was (but don't we sometimes wish was?). In this humble CodePoet's opinion this is a good thing.
When I first came to Caledon, I soon learned that what we had here was not the Victorian Era as it was, but perhaps, as it SHOULD have been. Many of the attributes of the Victorian era are absent. The misogyny, the bigotry, oppressive colonialism (our version of colonialism is fun!), and lets face it, the sexual repression are all absent in Caledon. Also absent is the Servant Class (except for those that choose it). We have something different, we have taken the best parts of Victorian culture (such as civility -- well everything else derives from THAT doesn't it?) and created something NEW. I hesitate to use to use the term Neo-Victorian, as it has a definition already and it is is not Caledon. Truly, the best word to describe it is CALEDONIAN.
So still, the question remains : when is Caledon? I say Caledon is firmly rooted in the 21st century. It is for all intents and purposes 2007. How I see it, is that Caledon exist in the 21st Century, but the citizens choose to live in such a way that HEARKENS back to the reign of Victoria, but through a 21st century lens, improving on the original. Using the technology of the 21st Century (namely our computers, and Second Life itself) to create this nation, collectivly and create what is a most ENJOYABLE Victorian, Steampunk existance. We use the tools of today to live in an idealized version of the past.
We are able to live out our Caledonian lives however we see fit, yet we restrain ourselves to the mode of the period because it appeals to us (I am sure the actual vicotrians would have raved late at night had it only been invented yet). I like the things best that blend 21st century technology with a Victorian experience. How they would have done it if they only could!
The example that springs to my mind, is the Dance Card system we have used at balls in Carntaigh (though admittedly not all have enjoyed it). There was given to me the task of realizing the very Victorian practice of a dance card, but making it work in Second Life, which I did with a scripted object. A Victorian Experience, realized with 21st Century Technology. Straddling Two Centuries, being in both at once. That is Caledon to me.
But in truth, Caledon has no Queen, though Victoria is enshrined in our hearts, perhaps like Aurthur just sleeping somewhere, and will return to us in our time of need (in the meantime we have a Vicereine to perform the duties of a monarch), and we have created such things as a "working class aristocracy" (which I think I belong to). Being free from our labors, except those we choose to pursue for our own enjoyment, there is no need for oppression. We are all pursuing our dreams, living our (second) lives in an ideal, Victorian Steampunk setting. There is nothing like it (to my knowledge) anywhere else. I love being a 19th. Century Gentleman in 21st Century Caledon.