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POSTSCRIPT TO THE FEEDBOOKS EDITION

  • As the volunteer who uploaded this novel to the Feedbooks website, I have a few thoughts to share with the reader.  I hereby release my copyright on this Postscript section and place it in the public domain.
  • First, I would like to encourage other people to find and contribute public- domain or freely-distributable (such as Creative-Commons-licensed) written materials to a web service such as Feedbooks, ManyBooks, or Project Gutenberg, which makes the material readily available to readers around the world.  This process takes a significant amount of personal time to edit the raw OCR (optical character recognition) texts, but the payoff is that each contributor can feel pride in adding to the body of free eBooks available on the Internet.
  • I had downloaded many entertaining and educational books, so I felt that I wanted to "pay back" the public for these benefits by adding more books.
  • Feedbooks' system makes the processing quite simple and it creates eBook- formatted books that are beautiful. The process involves finding an interesting book that has been scanned and converted to text by some organization, such as by Google's project to scan all of the libraries holdings of books with expired copyrights.  You can find information about copyright laws in your country at [Public Domain Day](http://www.publicdomainday.org/) http://www.publicdomainday.org/.   These scanned books can be found at www.archive.org and www.hathitrust.org and perhaps other web sites. Then using appropriate software, such as the Feedbooks site and an Internet browser such as Mozilla Firefox, the book's raw OCR-converted text is copied, pasted, edited, corrected, re-organized for eBooks, and uploaded to the distribution sites.   OCR software is not perfect, not as good as the human eye and brain, at converting what it "sees" into computer text characters, so humans still need to proof-read and make corrections.   Perhaps someday OCR will be as good or better than humans at this character recognition, and we can retire from our efforts of doing these conversions.   But at the time of this writing (2013), it's still very necessary to use humans.  If any small errors of the OCR software have escaped my corrections, I apologize.   There were many, and it's difficult to catch them all even after multiple re-readings.  Volunteers can help with part of the process, such as proof-reading, without knowing all of the mechanics, by contacting the distribution sites mentioned above.
  • Second, who was the author, Arthur Dudley Vinton?   He has a page at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia:  .   Notice that his maternal grandfather was the famous naval officer, Oliver Hazard Perry, who also has a Wikipedia entry:  . Commodore Perry was the hero in the defeat of the British by Americans in the naval battle over control of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.   He is known for his quotation: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."  This explains why Vinton was so specific about honoring Perry in this novel, and perhaps why Vinton was so versed in naval matters for this story.
  • Third, although this novel was not an attempt to predict the actual future, but rather was intended to show the logical consequences of the changes promoted as "Nationalism", it is interesting to see how the reality compares with the story.   I am reminded of a quotation attributed in slight variations to several people ( see  and  ): "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."  How well did Bellamy and Vinton do?
  • I am not a historian, but here's what I've learned:
  • At the time that these novels were written (1888 and 1890), the United States was in a period of socialist activism and labor unionization, and China still had a 2000-year-old imperial system with an emperor at its head.   The failure of the imperial forces to expel foreign forces in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 caused the Chinese to replace their imperial government with a republic in 1911 under the KMT political party.  However, the 20th century was a politically unstable time for China. Further revolutions lead to the era of Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-tung), who helped form the Chinese Communist Party, which eventually drove the KMT government onto Taiwan and took control of mainland China under a socialized system.   The CCP under Mao instituted land reform along the soviet USSR lines, granted property rights to women, fought against bribery and fraud, and adopted 5-year central planning cycles to bring China from its agrarian economy into an industrialized economy.  Mao also instituted harsh measures against intellectuals and opponents. Unfortunately, the communist system did not work well for China, nor for the USSR.
  • Eventually the Chinese system was adapted to a more capitalist model, still retaining very much control by the CCP.  So, by the year 2000, China was not a purely capitalist, nor purely communist country.  In the 21st century, China is a rising star economically, with astonishing economic growth and future potential, but not without political and social problems.  The story by Vinton sees China as the savior of capitalism and abolitionist of socialism, but China did not actually go in that direction.
  • Meanwhile, the US adopted laws which provided many socialist changes to moderate the harms of _laissez faire_ capitalism.   Monopolies were broken up and regulations restrained the utter domination of the working class by the owning class.  A social "safety-net" was created (minimum wage laws, unemployment insurance, social security benefits for the retired and disabled, protections for collective action by unions, etc.).  The US political system established in the Constitution has evolved and adapted, but at no time was it overthrown (although the Civil War in the late 19th century did strain the country's unity).  The United States has its own troubles, such as the increasing disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and the decline of manufacturing jobs.   The US has not abandoned its military.  On the contrary, it has the strongest military force in the world, by far; some would argue, too large and expensive.
  • Fourth, Vinton's novel does give us some reasons to be thoughtful about such things as becoming too dependent upon technological substitutes for actual currency in daily financial transactions.   Much of the US economy (and elsewhere) is done electronically, even to the point that some people carry no cash but rely upon "plastic" (credit cards, debit cards) and even cell phones to pay for their local financial transactions.  Vinton's Bostonians were not able to purchase with their credit cards after the Chinese occupied the city.
  • The inhabitants of a modern US city would have a similar plight if they had to make purchases during a power outage or natural disaster where the electronic devices fail, unless they had some actual cash currency on hand.
  • Fifth, I created the cover image of a flag by combining the star field of the flag of the People's Republic of China with the stripes field of the flag of the United States of America, to symbolize the story's concept of the US becoming a province of China.
  • Sixth, does Shawmut College exist?   No, there is no such college, but it is a plausible name for a college in Boston.   The peninsula of land on which Boston was founded is called the Shawmut Peninsula.
  • Finally, there have been many other sequels written to criticize Bellamy's _Looking Backward_.  An entry in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward) lists the following 16 sequels:
  • * [ 1 _Equality_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Equality) * [ 2 _A. D. 2050_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#A._D._2050) * [ 3 _A Leap Into the Future_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#A_Leap_Into_the_Future) * [ 4 _Looking Backward and What I Saw_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Backward_and_What_I_Saw) * [ 5 _Looking Further Forward_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Further_Forward) * [ 6 _Looking Further Backward_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Further_Backward) * [ 7 _One of "Berrian's" Novels_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#One_of_.22Berrian.27s.22_Novels) * [ 8 _Looking Beyond_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Beyond) * [ 9 _Mr. East's Experiences in Mr. Bellamy's World_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Mr._East.27s_Experiences_in_Mr._Bellamy.27s_World) * [ 10 _Looking Within_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Within) * [ 11 _Young West_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Young_West) * [ 12 _My Afterdream_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#My_Afterdream) * [ 13 _Looking Forward_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Forward) * [ 14 _Looking Backward from the Year 2000_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Looking_Backward_from_the_Year_2000) * [ 15 _Equality in the Year 2000_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Equality_in_the_Year_2000) * [ 16 _Edward Bellamy Writes Again_](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequels_to_Looking_Backward#Edward_Bellamy_Writes_Again)
  • I hope you enjoyed the book.
  • Stanley M. Sokolow
  • January, 2013