Monday, 27 October 2014

Wood And Fish

(This double image shows one installment each of the Technic History and of the Psychotechnic History.)

Diomedeans buy metal tools from Polesotechnic League companies. Before that, they had found several creative uses for wood:

fire-hardened bayonets;
dugout ships;
an inhabited fleet of log rafts;
wooden buildings;
paper for books;
wooden locks like Chinese puzzles;
a wooden lathe with a cutting edge of fractured diamond;
a wooden saw with volcanic glass teeth;
a wind-powered railway with wooden wheels on wooden rails, carrying flint, obsidian, timber, fish and handicrafts.

"Wace nodded, realized that the gesture was probably meaningless here..."
-Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), p. 357.

In this passage, Anderson addresses an issue that I raised earlier. However, the gesture is meaningful here because later a Diomedean nods assent.

The Flock of Lannachska migrates, leaving houses empty during winter, whereas the Drak'honai Fleet sails, fishing for trech. However, the trech change their habits, moving from Draka waters to the Sea of Achan, separated from the Ocean by the island of Lannach and the Holmenach archipelago, so the Drak'honai, following the trech, occupy the Lannachska towns and drive the returning Flock into the uplands where the recent mothers will be unable to rest or feed enough to survive the next migration. Thus, the survival of the Flock is at stake and van Rijn has yet to devise a solution...

7 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I agree that the first time we see a Diomedean nodding or shaking his head, without a context for explaining that gesture, does seem a bit implausible. That is, we should not assume members of other races will happen to have all of the same gestures humans have for signaling assent or disagreement. But, I can see them PICKING up such mannerisms after making contact with humans. Mightn't the peoples of the Flock and Fleet have picked up head nodding/shaking from secondary and tertiary contacts with the Diomedeans living near Thursday Landing? If so, that would be a small example of cultural diffusion.

    And Poul Anderson does address the issue of non humans having different gestures from humans in some of his stories. Recall how Dominic Flandry observed and used the CIRCULAR head nodding indicating assent used by the Scothanians in "Tiger by the Tail."

    Sean

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  2. Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      Thanks! Btw, I forgo to ask if it was Old Nick who first introduced the idea of using railroads to the Flock using wood for both the rails and the wheels? It's been a long time since I last reread THE MAN WHO COUNTS.

      Sean

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  3. Sean,
    No. Van Rijn was delighted to find such technology already in place.
    Paul.

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  4. I am catching up with some Virgil, which means not reading PA right now.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      But was it at Old Nick's urging and wheedling that the Flock extended those railroads so they could be used for transporting supplies and war gear?

      And Virgil is well worth reading! What do you think of the AENEID?

      Sean

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  5. Sean,
    Yes, I am coming to that next.
    I quoted from the AENEID here recently. It is a pivotal poem, of course.
    Paul.

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