Monday, 17 February 2014

Pleistocene Societies

Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991).

The Beringian Tulat/We are "'...a static society barely past the eolithic stage...'" (p. 168), although a Time Patrol anthropologist questions whether "'...people that thinly scattered can even be called a society.'" (ibid.)

They can. They meet, share and trade once a year.

By contrast, the invaders from Siberia are "[a]n advanced, dynamic, progressive culture..." (ibid.) which:

will have a population explosion;
will fill two continents;
will exterminate mammoth, horse and camel;
can already feed the weak, who therefore need not go off to die;
thus, unlike the Tulat, supports the wrinkled, toothless, bent and blind.

That last achievement indeed makes them "progressive."

As in an earlier post, I wonder how the Tulat, if they cannot produce enough to feed their own elderly, can be expected to produce enough to give in tribute to the invaders. However, the Patrol anthropologist tries to persuade the invaders to share hunting and fishing technology with their new subjects.

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