The creation of Northern Ireland was accompanied by violence both in defence of and against partition. During the conflict of 1920–22, the capital Belfast saw major communal violence, mainly between Protestant unionist and Catholic nationalist civilians. More than 500 were killed and more than 10,000 became refugees, mostly Catholics. For the next fifty years, Northern Ireland had an unbroken series of Unionist Party governments. There was informal mutual segregation by both communities, and the Unionist governments were accused of discrimination against the Irish nationalist and Catholic minority. In the late 1960s, a campaign to end discrimination against Catholics and nationalists was opposed by loyalists, who saw it as a republican front. This unrest sparked the Troubles, a thirty-year conflict involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries and state forces, which claimed over 3,500 lives and injured 50,000 others. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including paramilitary disarmament and security normalisation, although sectarianism and segregation remain major social problems, and sporadic violence has continued.
James White (7 April 1928 – 23 August 1999) was a Northern Irish author of science fiction novellas, short stories and novels. He was born in Belfast and returned there after spending some early years in Canada. After a few years working in the clothing industry, he worked at Short Brothers Ltd., an aircraft company based in Belfast, from 1965 until taking early retirement in 1984 as a result of diabetes. White married Margaret Sarah Martin, another science fiction fan, in 1955 and the couple had three children. He died of a stroke.
He became a fan of science fiction in 1941 and co-wrote two fan magazines, from 1948 to 1953 and 1952 to 1965. Encouraged by other fans, White began publishing short stories in 1953, and his first novel was published in 1957. His best-known novels were the twelve of the Sector General series, the first published in 1962 and the last after his death. White also published nine other novels, two of which were nominated for major awards, unsuccessfully. (Full article...)