Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Neayoruk And Walkeropolis

SM Stirling, Against the Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Six.

While reading fiction, we vicariously enjoy the characters' experiences of, e.g., physical sensations, scenery, food, work and wealth.

In a few years, Walker has transformed a fishing village into the city of Neayoruk, complete with stone wharves, streets, buildings and ships under construction. Odikweos understands "New" but wonders about "Yoruk," including where it was or is. A tense in the Temporal language would be necessary to answer that question. As it happens, Neayoruk is named not after York but after New York, a very different place. In Neayoruk:


Pungent Smells
baking manure

elephant tusks from Eygpt
tapestries from Byblos
wine and purple cloth from Ugarit
copper ingots from Cyprus

a stone fortress with cannon
armed schooners patrolling well out to sea

In Walkeropolis (his stronghold):

a stone channel bringing water from the mountains
four smoking furnaces
noise but no smell
street sweepers
many male slaves with iron collars
barracks near the factories
underground pipes to public fountains and to the homes of the rich
wagons keeping to the right
horse-drawn carriages
bread shops
pitched roofs
full-suite running water
flush toilets
central heating 
hot water on tap for the master 
tall French doors

All this could have been built more slowly with free workers instead of slaves.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, William Walker could have achieved most of what you listed above by less brutal means if he had been willing to be more patient and at least a LITTLE less ruthless.

In fairness (gagging) to Walker, he actually said at one point in AGAINST THE TIDE OF YEARS he would have preferred to use salaried free workers (slavery being a costly, dangerous, high stress solution to labor problems). The problem Walker faced was that Achaean Greece simply had no tradition of people working regular hours at the same job day after day. Thus the use of slaves.

Because Walker was aware of the dangers of slavery, he was careful to allow for MANUMISSION, for ex-slaves to enjoy the same civil status as all other free persons in the kingdom he was building. Not that Walker cared about the MORALITY involved, but he was trying to stabilize the realm he he created.


Sean M. Brooks said...

I should have added to my previous note that one reason I find William Walker so interesting is because here Stirling gives us an example of an intelligent, EFFICIENT tyrant. Walker was very different from the Lenins, Stalins, Hitlers, Maos, Pol Pots, etc., who were brutal AND so often inefficient, and stupidly wasteful and counterproductive in their policies.