Day 15: An Aftereffect of The Blast
Up front, a confession: driving on the left and I do not get along.
In 1998, I did a semester student exchange at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. I love Scotland. I hate driving on the left.
I’d been in the UK for about 3 hours, most of it in airports, when at last I was settled in at a hostel and wanted to do some exploring.
Ready to cross a two-lane road, I forgot to look right instead of left. An oncoming car nearly made an early end of my international travels. Unless you count the afterlife.
So as far as I’m concerned, driving on the left can go feck itself.
Fast forward to 2014.
Jay, the world’s greatest traveler, is riding an auto-rickshaw (like the one in the photo above) into the city center of Agamuskara, India:
For a moment Jay thought back to his time traveling through England, the only place in the world where people drove on the left. Madness, he’d figured at the time. It was absurd, but you couldn’t give the Brits too much flack. Given how the entire island was nearly wiped out by The Blast, Jay thought, the Brits can drive on whatever side of the road they want. But here in India, Jay was glad the traffic went on the right. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to see the river.
— Forever the Road
The Blast has only been discussed a little bit here and there in the Rucksack Universe so far. But this cataclysm is at the heart of everything in the stories. With every book we’ll get closer and closer to the heart and answer of what happened, and why it’s crucial for the world going forward.
For now, suffice it to say The Blast scarred the world physically and all life psychologically and emotionally. The Blast also torched part of Ireland—including the complete decimation of the city of Galway. England burned; the White Cliffs of Dover turned black, and London had to be rebuilt from the ashes. The US Civil War never happened.
In the midst of the chaos, the British Empire crumbled. British colonies such as India became independent long before there was ever a need for Gandhi. Ireland and Scotland rebounded faster than England and became sovereign (hmmm, am I giving a nod to my thoughts on Scotland’s 2014 Independence Referendum?)
Another effect of all this is that in today’s post-Blast world, only the English drive on the left. Everyone else—Australians, Indians, you name it—drives on the right.
It was all due to the demands of fantastical literature, folks. I swear. My personal experiences had no bearing whatsoever on the direction of the story…
Or of traffic.
Tune in Next for…
- Sun., June 15, Day 16: Cover Reveal 3 of 4
- Thurs., June 19, Day 20: A special feature about Forever the Road and the Rucksack Universe
100 Days to Forever
On Sept. 8, 2014, Forever the Road, the third Rucksack Universe book, will be released as an e-book and trade paperback worldwide.
During our 100 Days to Forever lead-up, you can follow all the adventure on the blog via the 100 Days to Forever category, on my email list, and at the #100DaysToForever hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.