The map of Glass Town drawn by Branwell has a prototype - a map of real explorations in northern and central Africa in 1822-1824, while the hero of the saga was the real Duke of Wellington – a foreshadowing of what would later become the established genre of alternative histories. At some point Emily and Anne stopped contributing to the Glass Town and Angria stories in order to create their own imaginary world of Gondal, probably as a rebellion against their older siblings who usually gave them inferior roles to play in the games. Unfortunately, the chronicles of this imaginary place written in prose were lost and only poems are now known. As with the Glass Town writings, these poems are concerned with love and war and explore various modes of identity.
Emily Brontë’s Gondal poems relate to characters in the stories, who came from either side of two warring factions. Early biographers of Emily assumed that the events described in the poems related to her own life, but instead they were figments of her extremely active imagination, and, like Wuthering Heights, not directly written from personal experience. Charlotte Brontë’s poem ‘The Foundling’ tells the story of a young man who emigrates to Glass Town. There he gets involved in politics, falls in love and discovers that he is of a noble background.
While the sense of fantasy is strong, there are teasing examples of what might be called the beginnings of science fiction.“I hope the exhibition at the British Library will challenge what people think of as science fiction and show that it is not a narrow genre, but something that appears in many times, cultures, and literary forms. It embraces works of utopian and speculative fiction that many people may not consider as 'Science Fiction', such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George Orwell’s 1984 and Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time-Traveler’s Wife.”