Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sound Effects And Other Sensations

SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Four.

Ships pitch and roll, cordage creaks, waves lap, timbers speak and, for Reveille, a noncom bellows, "Lash and stow!" (p. 55)

In the Nantucketers' mainland outpost of Fogarty's Cove, Reveille is roosters and someone hitting a triangle. Steel screeches on wood in sawmills, hammers and adzes ring in the boatyard and gunpowder blasts stumps in newly cleared fields.

The outpost has:

storekeepers;
craft folk;
a livery stable;
a blacksmith and farrier;
a doctor;
a haberdasher.

There are strong smells of:

horses;
cattle;
woodsmoke;
drying fish.

Colors visible over the rooftops are:

autumnal yellow and crimson;
gold of corn;
copper leaves in a vineyard;
mist over the faded green of a pasture.

Inland farms send wagons carrying:

grain;
meat;
raw wool;
eggs;
pumpkins;
apples;
peaches;
potatoes;
wine;
butter;
cheese.

This is just eight years after the Event. People change their environments but they need knowledge and technology first. The Indians of Fogarty's Cove have left only such traces as would be found by archaeologists.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The listing of the "doctor" reminded me of how Dr. Coleman, the most senior of the physicians cast back into the past strongly discouraged that the tobacco plant be found and again cultivated for smoking. And he was quite right! The stranded simply did not have the technology needed for SOMETIMES treating lung cancer successfully that we have.

    I recall seeing mention elsewhere in AGAINST THE TIDE OF YEARS that a younger physician, Justin Clemens, sometimes had no choice but to tell patients that or his colleagues could not help them. Because they lacked the late 20th century technology used for treating certain medical problems.

    Sean

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