I had an email from a reader who asked:
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?
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.