A Meeting of Minds - An Anne McCaffrey Discussion Forum

A Meeting of Minds - An Anne McCaffrey Discussion Forum (http://forums.srellim.org/index.php)
-   Dragonriders of Pern (http://forums.srellim.org/forumdisplay.php?f=5)
-   -   The Pern Colony (http://forums.srellim.org/showthread.php?t=9062)

Kennet Oct 19 2015 05:35 PM

The Pern Colony
This thread arises from discussions on Tubberman's Big Cats.

What were the intentions of the original colonists on Pern? There is mention that they were seeking a colony with less dependence on technology. Does this mean that they are trying to establish a colony with a tech level of Earth in the middle of the 20th century? Some of the colonists wanted to retire there as gentleman farmers, i.e. have a large estate with tenant farmers supplying most of their needs (as rent paid in kind) which would allow them to cultivate grapes or orchards, or maintain a hunting preserve.

The other colonists were looking to get away from the ever-present technology in their lives. Ask yourself "How much more intrusive will tech be in one or two centuries? " and shudder at the thought. Remember, Anne was writing before cell phones, laptops, tablets, drones, home computers, etc.

Landing was established as the "tech hub" - AIVAS, light industrial manufacturing such as solar cells, vehicles and equipment, electronics workshops and manufacturing, and so on. Each Stake was intended to be self-sufficient but with specialties allowing for trade.

The main aim was to establish a comfortable life which would allow enough leisure time to enjoy life.

GinnyStar Oct 20 2015 12:16 AM

Re: The Pern Colony
Jim Tillek and his ship, and the dolphins and their dolphineers

Eriflor Oct 20 2015 03:54 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
I think we have to consider this question in stages.

First, you have Earth itself, a few centuries into the future, overcrowded and very technology-oriented, with very little spare space for even rich people to own, but still enough for bands of nomads and travelling folk to get around. Agriculture would be highly organised and technology-dependent.

100 years before DragonsDawn they have a few settled colonies with room for more settlers, and are sending out expeditions to find more suitable worlds to colonise (with no indigenous intelligent life-forms). Those early colonists would have used hydroponics on arrival, and gradually branched out into livestock and food grown in soil (no doubt after some terra-forming). The expeditions would be looking for worlds requiring no terraforming, but possibly needing some adaptation of the local flora and fauna for human use and growing crops.

Then the Nathi wars begin and they have to forget about further colonisation for a while, in favour of survival. Under saturation bombing and probably biochemical warfare, they are forced to live underground and return to hydroponics for their food, and probably vat-grown protein. (Can't remember if Earth itself is under attack, but surely involved.) When the war is over, it probably takes years to reclaim the surface and get food-production going again. All very technological, and small wonder if some people start thinking about how nice it would be to start over on a clean new planet without all these machines, rationing, and restrictions. So they dust off those old survey records and start planning and fundraising.

The first charterers would be people who still had money or solid investments, but whose family estates were totally destroyed by the war. They'd be likely to bring along any dependents who had useful skills, and keep them working on the home farm as long as possible. People who'd actively fought against the Nathi would often have earned enough bonuses to qualify as charterers, and might have useful skills as well.

The basic arrangement on arrival at Pern was that the charterers could choose their stake acres right away and start working on them, producing crops and livestock that they could barter for whatever else they needed. And obviously food for themselves, although this task might be delegated to small farmers living on the charterer's stakehold (sharecropping). Any contractors who worked for a charterer or for the Pern colony as a whole could earn acres (at a fixed rate per hour?) and eventually pick out their own stakehold.

The early charterers seem to have focussed on the type of farming they did before the move to Pern --- sheep, horses, wine-grapes, etc, because they or their bloodline had expertise in those products. Others (e.g. Paul Benden?) possibly learned their agriculture from books and grew a few different crops at first to see what worked best for them. But the database probably contained a lot of info on different systems, what worked, what didn't, and they'd avoid most of the mistakes we're still making on present-day Earth.

Kennet Oct 20 2015 06:05 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
Maybe the dolphins had asked Jim to sponsor them on the colony (^_^).

OTOH, he may have loved the sea (sailing and fishing) and the dolphins, so he wanted to do that on the new planet.

Kennet Oct 20 2015 06:56 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
I thought that the colony was established before the Nathi war began, and it was the war which caused it to be forgotten by the government. Doesn't really matter much, just my understanding of the timeline.

I think that we are pretty much on the same page regarding the colonists. Each Charterer (usually a named character: Tillek, Benden, Tubberman, etc) had a group which had signed on with them under their sponsorship. They would be the main population of the Stake, as tenant farmers, craftsmen, etc., and had already agreed to/with the basic society which the Charterer wanted to set up. Since they are willing to give up the tech life of their home planet, they would prepare for the new world by learning old skills like carpentry, pottery, and smithing. They would also be more willing to create their own entertainments, so there would be musicians, as well as people who revived old traditional dances, writers and artists.

In a sense, they would be the 'hippies' of their time trying to revive an older, simpler lifestyle.

GinnyStar Oct 20 2015 09:53 PM

Re: The Pern Colony

Originally Posted by Kennet (Post 197839)
I thought that the colony was established before the Nathi war began, and it was the war which caused it to be forgotten by the government. <snip> Many were veterans of that Nathi war, the three ships that fought in the war. Benden was the war hero that stop the Nathi.

They came to Pern, to forget that war, and Thread came and made them forget their founding history

Or dependents of serving members, Sallah Telgar was one who was shuttled between assignments with her serving parents, she got drafted and took pilot and survey skills were use after the war. She found that she wanted to stay in one place, and Pern was it.

Its that history they lost, 'blushing computer is acting up'

Eriflor Oct 20 2015 11:49 PM

Re: The Pern Colony

Originally Posted by Kennet (Post 197839)
I thought that the colony was established before the Nathi war began, and it was the war which caused it to be forgotten by the government. Doesn't really matter much, just my understanding of the timeline.

The original PERN survey (among others) was done 200 years (not 100 as I said previously) before the 3 colony ships reached the planet, and they'd taken 15 years to get there. The Nathi wars happened sometime between the survey and the 15-year journey.

There may have been a few other colony ships sent out in the 200 years before the Pern colonists left, probably to the closest and most resource-rich planets. The Nathi war would likely have disrupted this process.

Kennet Oct 24 2015 04:44 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
RE: Tubberman

I think that Tubberman was intending to have a safari park/hunting preserve near his stake. He introduced herd animals and the big cat predators to enable a stable ecosystem.

Interestingly enough, when animals requiring a certain environment are introduced into an area, they will actually transform the unsuitable portions into suitable ones. This mean that the herds were actually a form of terra-forming. Just what herds were introduced is not that important, just that they would alter the existing environment to suit them.

A recent study has shown that the relation between the numbers of predators and prey is not a direct one. The study was done in two areas in southern Africa. The data was based upon kilograms per square kilometre. In one area, the prey value was 40 and the predator value was 2.41. The second are was grassier, and the values were 4000 for prey and 24.7 for predators.
Predators mostly target the young, infirm and very old. Despite the increase in numbers of prey species, most of them would be healthy adults so there is not a large increase in predator targets.

Additional thought: The first Threadfalls may have almost completely wiped out the domesticated animals at the Stakes. In order to maintain some source of protein, it may have been necessary to capture some of the savannah animals and move them north.
This could mean that when the holders refer to herd beasts they are actually referring to gnus, wildebeest, etc. and that runners might be zebras!

Eriflor Oct 25 2015 11:01 AM

Re: The Pern Colony
I've always thought that the runnerbeast on the cover of my copy of Nerilka's Story (pub. by Del Rey) looked more like a llama. Or a REALLY big dog.

Kennet Oct 26 2015 01:03 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
I had considered llamas and reindeer as well.

No wonder the holders eat "meatrolls" -- what would you call gnu meat, or hartebeest?

Eriflor Oct 27 2015 11:07 AM

Re: The Pern Colony
The meat for meat-rolls was probably whatever leftover meat they had available (mystery meat?), ground or chopped small and mixed with vegetables and savoury seasonings.

Similar deal with sweet-rolls, but using fruit, jam, etc, with sweet spices.

The Pernese may have had set recipes for banquets and gathers,
but the rest of the time they probably didn't worry about the exact
ingredients as long as the overall result tasted good.

Brenda Oct 27 2015 06:26 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
If you think Nerilka's runnerbeast is bad, check out the dinosaurs hauling the trader wagons on the Renegades of Pern cover...

I read some fanfic recently, one of them covered the early days of the colony and mentioned having to get used to the green-tinged flesh of the wherries... Not sure I'll ever picture that when I'm reading the books, but it was an interesting concept!

Kennet Oct 29 2015 05:12 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
The 'dish' pottage is simply throwing whatever is available into a pot kept simmering over the fire. Probably a staple on Pern.

GinnyStar Oct 29 2015 11:59 PM

Re: The Pern Colony

Originally Posted by Kennet (Post 197873)
Additional thought: The first Threadfalls may have almost completely wiped out the domesticated animals at the Stakes. In order to maintain some source of protein, it may have been necessary to capture some of the savannah animals and move them north. <
This could mean that when the holders refer to herd beasts they are actually referring to gnus, wildebeest, etc. and that runners might be zebras!

:brow: Then why did the breeder of cattle were complaining about leaving all their bloodstock south, after the Fever Year? The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

Eriflor Oct 30 2015 12:55 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
Not all the stakeholds with animals lost their stock. The first and worst losses were at Landing, because that's where Thread fell first and where most of the breeding and gene-splicing went on. They'd keep the young animals there till they could ship out a whole batch to a distant stakehold, pasturing them wherever there was suitable forage. And there were further losses in various places until suitable stables were available to keep them safe from Thread.

After 10 years most of the actual breeding holds had a good herd with good bloodlines they wanted to maintain, and this was what they were worried about when the colony moved North. By then they would have safe places to keep them (some already had stone stables and didn't lose too many animals from the first).

Any wild animals like gnu and zebras would be in as much danger as tame livestock in the first Threadfalls, and nobody would be too concerned about keeping them under cover.

Kennet Oct 31 2015 02:34 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
I would never assume a total extinction of livestock, but the herds would have suffered immensely. I agree that losing Landing was the hardest blow, as it was the centre for all their production. They did put all their eggs in one basket, but there would not have been any reason to spread it out.

The first Fall of Thread would have been devastating and horrific. An unknown thing drops down, eats everything it comes in contact with, and just seem stop keep growing. They have no idea what it is nor how to stop it. None of the shelters built, unless they were metal quonset type buildings, would give adequate protection. A wood based roof would just be eaten away and stone/concrete walls would just trap whatever was inside the building.

For Second Crossing, they would have tried to save as much as possible, even the wild life. The wild herds were in as much danger as the rest, but Threadfall is a narrow swath which they could run away from. I also think that these animals are smart enough to realize from experience that water is a barrier or haven from Thread. The herds were probably driven to near extinction, but were able to recover.

The saga of the First Fall would probably make one helluva series!

Eriflor Oct 31 2015 03:56 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
I'm not convinced that there were any of Earth's wild animals running around at the time Thread started falling. The scientists and veterinarians at Landing had quite enough to do, producing enough livestock to feed the initial 6000 colonists and their Pern-born offspring, and what they produced were the commoner domesticated animals and modified versions that could safely feed on Pern's vegetation. Not all of those were even successful, and many of the Terran plants died out pretty quickly too.

Possibly when they had a stable ecology over a wide area they might have tried out something a bit different, in an area where the wilder animals wouldn't impinge on human activities. Or they might at some point have needed to use the DNA of animals somewhat related to the tame species to create a new species better suited to life on Pern. Who knows? But it would have been quite a while before they needed big cats to thin the herds.

Tubberman was a botanist, and everyone was puzzled that he chose to work with big-cat DNA. But according to DragonsBlood, he was also Eridani-trained, so he may have been assigned some secret task only he knew about. Most of his notes were in an unbreakable code.

GinnyStar Nov 20 2015 04:50 PM

Re: The Pern Colony
No they didn't not for Red did say that they sent out baby livestock to other sites, just before it hit.

Some did build stone building, and they did take the breeding sheep stock, the ones that most of dragons feed on during the Second Crossing, They only had room for breeding stock to go north. Cesar Galliani took the ones that made out of Landing to his stake hold. He was sad to leave his bloodstock south when he did move to Fort Hold

There was no transportation South to North, the dragons at Benden Weyr, were able to betweem, to bring chickens, and what livestock able to live south.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:51 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

A Meeting of Minds forum owned by Cheryl B. Miller.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey’s fiction are copyright © Anne McCaffrey 1967-2008, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.