Empire of the East is based on some of Fred Saberhagens earliest works. He wrote the first part (The Broken Lands) in 1967 before becoming an assistant editor for Encyclopaedia Britannica. Saberhagen continued editing for six years, then returned to writing, eventually combining The Broken Lands, The Black Mountains, and Changeling Earth into a single novel in 1979. He has gone on to write better-known works, such as his Dracula series (1975-1990) and the ongoing Berserker books, a series begun in 1967 with a story collection.
Empire of the East, as a post-holocaust story, deals with the themes of war and disaster. These always have been popular avenues for writers, but they reached a peak after World War II and throughout the Cold War because of the real threat of nuclear holocaust. Empire of the East belongs to the later years of this trend, when the Soviets were still regarded with suspicion. Although obvious Cold War references such as nuclear war and Eastern dominance (pointing to the Soviet Union) changed with the times, the themes still provide fertile ground for writers.
A growing trend away from Cold War ideology is evident in such stories as David Brin’s The Postman (1985). It was written several years before the Soviet Union fell, but there is no mention of an Eastern menace, let alone the Soviet Union. The Postman shares a postnuclear...
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