History Lends Perspective

I had an email from a reader who asked:

Empire of Dust

Empire of Dust – Cover

Just finished Empire of Dust. Enjoyed it very much. I’m confused about an allusion to Dunkirk you made on page 478 in Daw paperback. Ben states that Dunkirk was something that happened “during a civil war.” What civil war? Ben is referring to WWII. Did you mean to infer that it happened so long ago that Ben was just misinformed?

My answer:

Thanks for asking.

Yes, you got it. Ben wasn’t exactly ‘misinformed’, but when you live and work in space, and there are many colonies, wars that are localised to one planet are seen, from a distance, more like a civil war. WW2 looks a lot smaller from a thousand light years away and a timespan of 500 years.

Bear in mind that between the 1940s and Ben’s ‘now’ there has also been a multiple meteorite strike that almost knocked humanity back to the stone age, destroyed most of the USA and a big chunk of China and put earth through the whole ‘nuclear winter’ thing. (Which is why Pan-Africa and Europe are the main superpowers.) If it hadn’t been for the colonies sending aid and helping with the rebuild, the meteorite strike could have been an extinction event – at least as far as humans-on-earth were concerned.

Still clanking the keys. I’ve just finished the final edits on Nimbus – the third in the Psi-Tech series after Crossways – and I have another Dunkirk reference in that.


About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (www.jaceybedford.co.uk), the secretary of Milford SF Writers (www.milfordSF.co.uk), a singer (www.artisan-harmony.com) and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (www.jacey-bedford.com). She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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4 Responses to History Lends Perspective

  1. sjhigbee says:

    As a history graduate I love the fact you have your characters muddling major events and garbling them and their consequences… just like most non-historians do with events that happened in Egypt, Greece and Rome:)

  2. Jacey Bedford says:

    There’s something to be said for linking WW1 and 2, I think, but the lead up to WW1 probably started with Bismark’s unification of Germany. (1870 if I remember my O Level history) I’m not sure you can draw a direct line from Napoleon to WW2, though. (Or if you can it’s a bit of a wobbly one.)

  3. dergullen says:

    I like that perspective very much. I believe there is a contemporary concept of the ‘European Civil War’ that attempts to link the conflicts from Napoleon through to WW2 as one great ‘war’ though I don’t think it has much traction.

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