Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A City And Ravens

SM Stirling, A Meeting At Corvallis (New York, 2007), Chapter Twelve, pp. 298-300.

In a post-apocalypse scenario, the few survivors live on the land while nature reclaims abandoned cities so what is it like in one of those cities? The former West Salem is a wasteland covered by brush and incipient forest:

"...an occasional chimney or snag of wall reared out of a green jungle..." (p. 299)

There is a "...treacherous net of bramble, vine, car-wrecks, twisted metal, scattered brick and glass shards..." (ibid.)

Wrecked cars, logs and accumlated rubbish form giant dams, threatening bridges. Buildings have collapsed. Ruins are mined. A few lunatics in cellars might live on rats and rabbits. Bandit gangs look for hideouts. There are mass graves. It creeps Havel out.

Ravens gather when a fight is brewing. Is this true, though?

7 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    This grim, bleak description of West Salem reminded me of the ruins of Old Trantor seen in Chapter 22 of Asimov's FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE.

    And, yes, I'm sure ravens and other carrion birds will gather to feast on the bodies of the dead after armies have fought. As one raven said to Skafloc in THE BROKEN SWORD, "Good is the feasting" after the trolls and elves had fought.

    Sean

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    1. Sean:
      Which reminds me of a wry joke:

      Two vultures were sitting in a dead tree, when suddenly they noticed a large mass of animals running toward them. Bears and rabbits, foxes and field mice, snakes and frogs were all running as fast as they could, totally ignoring each other in their frantic flight.
      “Hey,” one of the vultures called down to a rabbit. “What’s going on?”
      The rabbit paused for a moment, panting, looked up and said, “The humans are having another one of their wars and we’re all getting out while the getting is good.”
      “Well, you can run,” the other vulture said, “but for a hundred thousand years we have been getting fat on the results of the humans’ wars.”
      And they flew away in the direction all the animals had come from, looking for the battlefields…
      And were vapourised in a fifty megaton thermonuclear explosion.
      And the moral is:
      Things can CHANGE in a hundred thousand years.

      Delete
    2. Kaor, DAVID!

      Ha! That is all too grimly apt and appropriate! One of the CONSTANTS of human history has been the steady improvement of the weapons and tools of war.

      Sean

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  2. Ooops, I replied to this on another post. Sorry!

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    Replies
    1. Mr Stirling,
      You spotted your mistake before I pointed it out.
      Paul.

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    2. Anyone,
      Mr Stirling's reply is in the combox for the next post, "The Range Of Science Fiction."
      Paul.

      Delete
    3. Kaor, Paul!

      I saw, and commented on Mr. Stirling's remarks in "The Range Of Science Fiction."

      Sean

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