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QUESTION:

How much of Pastwatch is real fact and/or the speculations of real scientists? Atlantis, Tlaxcalan, Colombus, his father's involvement in Genovese power struggles, his early career, his possible attack on the Muslims? I thought that the speculations were very interesting and was wondering how much of them was real 'fact' and how much was your own conjectures as a science fiction writer.

-- Submitted by Luke DeSmet

OSC REPLIES: - August 2, 2000

All assertions of the motives or causes of behavior of historical persons are speculation, as are all assertions of what "would" have happened if only things hadn't happened they way they actually happened <grin>. But the speculations in Pastwatch are "informed" speculations -- meaning that I actually did some research. As far as the events in Columbus's life, until the point where he meets my hero time traveler in Haiti, I don't knowingly contradict any fact of his life as presented in the biography I cited as my main source. As far as the cultures that the time travelers altered, I followed what was really known about them, according to the best sources I found at the time of my writing.

For a fuller treatment of many of the themes I worked with, I suggest reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel," which had not been published at the time I wrote Pastwatch -- but I sure wish it had! It would have made my research so much easier.

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