The date of formation of the A.B.C. is eerily close to that of the United Nations, but while the U.N. is weak, the theoretically more limited A.B.C. is strong. Behind a motto of “Transportation is Civilization,” they exert great influence on both. Ultimately, we find that war concludes in 1967. Of course, we now know that didn’t happen. Ironically, in 1967, the Vietnam War was in the process of escalating out of control. And, we saw, within months of the date of Kipling’s imaginary flight, how the world’s passenger transportation system was so horribly abused to wage the most grotesque of acts of war. Sadly, there was no A.B.C. to prevent such “disruptions” of the world’s traffic from occurring.
If everything said so far is still not sufficient to convince you Kipling did not get everything exactly right, there’s one more giveaway. That’s the whole premise of this mail run. The skies are filled with such airships doing mail runs from one corner of the earth to the other. Postal Packet 162 is making a direct run from London to Quebec, and will follow up with stops in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Medicine Hat. Medicine Hat? Direct airmail runs from London to Medicine Hat? Come on! Besides, who in London would send messages by snail mail to their friends in Medicine Hat anyway? Couldn’t Kipling foresee the role of email in the year 2000? Clearly, he was a false prophet.
For those interested in reading With the Night Mail, the book can be readily found on online book selling sites. A 1909 original in excellent shape can be found for $40 or $50, with later printings for less. It is undoubtedly available in many libraries and there are also multiple online sites that post the entire book. For those interested in seeing a century-old picture of the “future,” Kipling’s tale makes an entertaining read.