Saturday, 28 June 2014

Ruins Of Empire

The planet in Poul Anderson's "The Sharing of Flesh" is not called Lokon, as I said in the previous post. Lokon is the capital town. The people of the town and their language are "Lokonese." The language is remotely descended from Anglic, thus from English. The planet has no name except World because the descendants of the original colonists have forgotten what stars and planets are.

When the Empire fell, a missile destroyed the single town and most of its inhabitants. A very small population barely survived with the help of some imported species in a local ecology that was "...often poisonous, always nutritonally deficient."
-Poul Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (New York, 2012), p. 667.

The only human beings on the planet are on a single island. The one town has a population of several thousand and there are a few scattered villages. Members of the large slave class mine or cultivate fields and orchards with neolithic tools, guarded by "...soldiers whose spearheads and swords were of ancient Imperial metal." (p. 674) Other slaves are kept to be eaten by young boys who, because of a mutation, would not otherwise physically mature.

The forest-dwelling lowlanders, speaking a debased dialect of Lokonese, have no agriculture and are savages, continually in danger of being killed by each other. Despite noticeable differences in their height and health, highlanders and lowlanders resemble each other because of their common descent from a very few surviving settlers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    And Nike, the world we see most of in "A Tragedy of Errors," also shows us ruins of Empire. Recall how the last cities on that planet surviving from Imperial times were destroyed by pirates sarcastically saying they had come to do "business" on Nike. This was so traumatic that the once innocuous phrase "to do business" took on the meaning of "I'm attacking you." Roan Tom and his wives had the problem of trying to both convince the Nikeans that no harm was meant to them and then persuade them on helping Roan Tom get back to Kraken. A task complicated by Nike being metal poor.