Monday, 17 February 2014

13,212 B. C.

Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), pp. 172-175.

Because the Cloud People/Paleo-Indians have entered Beringia, the Time Patrol withdraws its paleontologist, Wanda Tamblerly, in 13,212 BC, and will replace her with its anthropologist, Ralph Corwin, in 13,211 BC. (In fact, after lobbying by Everard, Wanda will accompany Corwin but we do not know that yet.)

Meanwhile, the Cloud People interact with the native Beringians. These four pages present two important new data:

communicating through a young woman whom they have anachronistically enslaved - "'I am theirs...Men use me. I work'" (p. 174) - and trained to be their interpreter, the newcomers convey that they want Us regularly to bring them goods of specified types and quantities; 

although Huyok of Otter Strand says, "'Are they hungry? We have little to spare...'" (p. 175), We are rich enough to bring "...plenty of food..." (p. 172) to be shared at the annual Bubbling Springs meeting:

live oysters in water-filled skins;
fresh animals stuffed with herbs;
fish, fowl and berries;
seal or whale blubber (although the latter only if a whale has beached!).

We also trade in flowers, feathers, stones and pelts. Thus, the We are not quite at the level of mere subsistence which would have made it impossible to exact any tribute from them. 

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Maybe the Tulat were not QUITE at only a bare subsistence level of hunting/gathering culture sufficient only for precariously living. But with only a narrow margin to spare. Any serious disruption, such as conquest by stronger outsiders would very likely destroy the balance they had reached. To say nothing of the demoralization likely to be felt on realizing how much more advanced the Paleo Indians were.