Sunday, 1 July 2012
the Southern Hemisphere suffered less in a nuclear exchange ("the War of Judgment");
Islander populations did not outrun the sea's ability to feed them;
having less metal to cannibalize than mainlanders, they instead applied scientific method to sun, wind and organisms;
by applying genetics, they created useable seaweeds, plankton and fish;
scientific forest management gives them adequate timber, organic-synthesis bases and some fuel;
they develop and apply solar, wind and tidal energy;
wood, ceramics and stone replace metal for most purposes;
early paramathematical psychology helps to control population;
having mastered nautical techniques, they can sail large ships fast, almost into the wind;
their whale ranchers keep large herds;
unlike mainland populations, they preserve printing, universal literacy, scientific medicine, a healthy diet, spacious living and personal freedom.
I have gathered this much so far by rereading a few pages into the first story, "The Sky People." The Maurai, the "Sea People," are about to meet others, the Sky People of the title, who have rediscovered and are applying scientific method so that it will be more appropriate to form an alliance with them than with a superficially more attractive culture that is declining back towards barbarism because it merely applies rote knowledge bequeathed by the ancients, depends on muscle power, has a peon class, tears down old ruins and does no research on new energy sources.
Published in 1959, "The Sky People" was one attempt by Anderson to show a recovery of civilization after a nuclear war. Much later, information about a "nuclear winter" implied that such a war would not be survivable.