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Space Age Archaeology

'Ah, that was a beautiful piece of engineering and archaeology!'. Cordwainer Smith's IOM rocket.

24 Jun 2017, 06:56 UTC
'Ah, that was a beautiful piece of engineering and archaeology!'. Cordwainer Smith's IOM rocket.
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I'm always fascinated by how science fiction writers portray archaeology. A couple of weeks ago, I was wandering through the Adelaide Central Markets on my way to work, and I spied a second-hand book sale. There was a box of old science fiction, and one leapt out at me: Cordwainer Smith's Space Lords, which I did not have.To my delight, this volume of short stories contained one that I'd never read either. Drunkboat is the story of how the Lord Crudelta precipitated the discovery of Space3. I knew of the story as some critics have discussed it in reference to the evolution of the Vomact family. Leaving the plot aside, here is how Cordwainer Smith imagines a kind of space archaeology:We had put him in a rocket of the most ancient style. We also wrote writing on the outside of it, just the way the Ancients did when they first ventured into space. Ah, that was a beautiful piece of engineering and archeology! We copied everything right down to the correct models of fifteen thousand years ago, when the Paroskii and Murkins were racing each other into space. The rocket was white, with a red and white gantry beside it. ...

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