“Easy as A B C,” Rudyard Kipling, 1912 – The Aearial Board of Control has created a world government through its power to control air traffic.
Comments: Related to “With the Night Mail” (1905), which also features the Aearial Board of Control. Themes include privacy, news, terror, and crowds. Also contains ambiguous and problematic scenes, such as the discussion of the figure “Nigger in Flames” which has been read as an endorsement of lynching as well as a criticism. The introduction to The Phoenix Pick Anthology notes that much of Kipling’s fiction casts colonialism and empire in a romantic light; however, his fiction was often biting satire, and this story can be read as such. Also interesting for its somewhat dated speculation on the role of air traffic in world government. Wikipedia notes: “The concept that control of air traffic would lead to world government reappears in the works of H. G. Wells, most notably his 1933 book The Shape of Things to Come and its 1936 film adaptation Things to Come. The concept is also central to Michael Arlen‘s novel Man’s Mortality, also published in 1933.” Available in many anthologies, including the Phoenix Pick SF Anthology, The Road to Science Fiction, and Great Tales of SF. The text is available online at Forgotten Futures.
Author: Wikipedia: “Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children.”