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Old Feb 17 2016, 06:02 PM   #1
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Default Printer Hall

Ok, so in All the Weyrs of Pern (and the second edition of the DLG), it was said that there would be three Printer Halls. A main Hall at Landing, another at Ruatha, and a third at Lemos. But in The Skies of Pern, there's only ONE Hall- at Karoon's Wide Bay.

Does anybody know what happened about that?
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Old Feb 17 2016, 07:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Printer Hall

Landing during The Dolphins of Pern.
Skies of Pern -- Wide Bay Hold in Keroon.
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Old Feb 17 2016, 08:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Printer Hall

ISTR something in Dragonquest about Lord Asgenar wanting a proposed new Papermakers' Hall to be situated in his Hold, and the other Lord Holders vetoing it for some reason. (Or the Oldtimer Weyrleaders objected because Benden Weyr favoured it.)

Maybe they tried to distribute new crafthalls fairly evenly among the major Holds, and Lemos already had that Papermakers Hall by the time AIVAS was discovered. Is there a list of which Holds included which Halls?
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Old Feb 17 2016, 10:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Printer Hall

The scene with Asgenar was in Chapter 3 of DragonQuest, after Threadfall over Lemos.

Lemos and Keroon Holds are about 225 miles apart, and linked by the Igen River. Paper from Lemos probably goes downstream to the Printers Hall in Keroon. I don't know how close Wide Bay is to the Hold.
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Old Feb 18 2016, 03:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Printer Hall

Perhaps they had not got around to it yet?
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Old Feb 20 2016, 01:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Printer Hall

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The scene with Asgenar was in Chapter 3 of DragonQuest, after Threadfall over Lemos.

Lemos and Keroon Holds are about 225 miles apart, and linked by the Igen River. Paper from Lemos probably goes downstream to the Printers Hall in Keroon. I don't know how close Wide Bay is to the Hold.
The Printer Hall, is an old trader's hold, only a few streets over from the dock. Master Printer Tagetarl office and location was in the northwestern part of Wild Bay Hold, so he was unable to see if a dragon took off from there.

Lord Asgenar and Bendarek, were busy make wood, and paper, and the Master Printer had an order of note different weight of paper to print.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 01:06 PM   #7
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I assume the first Printer's Hall at Landing is still functioning at the time of Skies of Pern, since that's where all the AIVAS files are.

AIVAS would have had schematics for at least one design of printing press, but it would have taken time for Tagetarl and his apprentices to study the files, learn about movable type, and figure out which Pernese materials to use for the machinery, type-blocks, lubricants, cleaning-solvents, etc. Then the Smithcrafters would have to build and test a few machines (alongside all the other things they had to do). Training apprentices in the new craft would take time too, even using partly-trained apprentices from the Woodcraft, Smithcraft and Harper Halls. So it would be quite a few turns before Tagetarl set up the new Hall at Wide Bay, leaving a few journeymen and apprentices to continue the work at Landing. (Somewhere between 10 and 13 turns, since Shankolin, who was involved in the attack on AIVAS, had been imprisoned at Mine 23 for 13 turns by the time he escaped.)

The Hall at Ruatha would have to wait till there were enough journeymen and apprentices to spare from the other Halls --- or might be located elsewhere, since Ruatha was now going to get a Star Hall.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 02:20 PM   #8
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I haven't read Todd's books. Do any of them mention how the Pernese lost the printing press? Even with paper being expensive, I'd've thought that would've been one of the technologies they would've prioritized holding on to, since it makes the preservation of other knowledge easier.

I know there's some disagreement on just what the population of the big Holds is, but I've always figured some of them had to be "urban" enough that you'd want at least a good percentage of the population literate. It's true that a lot of people like farmers, green and blue dragon riders, and many crafters don't need to read, but others do.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 02:20 PM   #9
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I haven't read Todd's books. Do any of them mention how the Pernese lost the printing press? Even with paper being expensive, I'd've thought that would've been one of the technologies they would've prioritized holding on to, since it makes the preservation of other knowledge easier.

I know there's some disagreement on just what the population of the big Holds is, but I've always figured some of them had to be "urban" enough that you'd want at least a good percentage of the population literate. It's true that a lot of people like farmers, green and blue dragon riders, and many crafters don't need to read, but others do.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 04:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Printer Hall

When I discussed with a friend over email why the Pernese never had a printing press before Aivas mentioned it, he had this to say:

Quote:
Quote:
There is one other annoyance I've recently heard mentioned among the fans that they only just now seem to have noticed. That nobody thought to reinvent the printing press over all those years until Aivas told them about it.
Nobody "thinks" to invent something. Invention is not something on a to-do list that you can overlook or forget, anymore than you can casually cross it off whenever you feel like it. That only happens in civilization-building games, where they player sees the whole tech tree and decides which way to develop.

In real life, you have to stumble across the underlying process somehow, and then have the insight to capitalize on it. And even then it may not catch on.

The native peoples of the Americas, including the empire-building cultures of South America, and the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa never invented the wheel.

The printing press itself was probably only invented once, in China (which is where a good half of the ancient world's technology originates). Then the Silk Road spread it across those parts of the world that it connected. Moveable type (which is what makes a printing press able to print books and really change society) was invented three times, by the Chinese, by King Seyong (the freaking genius) of Korea, and by Gutenberg. The Chinese gave up on it as not that useful for them, and Seyong had trouble getting his press and the new writing system he devised accepted by the intelligencia of his time. Gutenberg was in the right place and the right time -- which happened to coincide with the growing quality of paper, for which he reworked the inks used in his press -- to help launch the Renaissance.

So, in 6,000 years, the printing press was only invented once. It was also better for paper and reliant of carving the "negative" plate into cheaply available, easily carved wood, which you wrote was rare on Pern. So it's not surprising at all that it didn't show up.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 04:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Printer Hall

Remember; Luther is said to have succeeded largely because he made good use of the new technology.

But the obverse is true also: the press may well have succeeded in the west (as opposed to its eastern failure) because it had such an interesting subverting message to disseminate.
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Old Feb 20 2016, 08:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Printer Hall

Red Star Rising UK Dragonseye
Clisser was thinking about one.

Danegga, was chosen to bring the message, from Landing to the Printer Craft Hall, by F'lar.

Tagertal, thought his writing was bad, he tried to be neat about it. To be printed was written in a neater hand, message was signed by Master Esselin, who both Tagertal and Rosheen, worked under.
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Old Feb 21 2016, 11:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Printer Hall

They didn't "lose" the printing press, they never had it. They had printers, and then those lost power or broke down or had no computers to print from. In DE/RSR the computers blow up before they have had a chance to print out everything they thought they needed - and even though there is mention of the idea of a printing press, if it was reinvented at the time, evidently demand was not enough to keep it in familiar use for two thousand years.
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Old Feb 21 2016, 08:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Printer Hall

There's a good section on forestry/paper supplies near the end of Chapter 1 of DE/RSR. They were already running short of plasfilm for use with computer-printers, paper being used for hand-written notes and recycled till it was grey. If the computers had held out, they could probably have used paper with the printers, but let's face it, the computers were over 250 years old by then, and they had no way of manufacturing the components to build new ones.

The slopes of the northern continent were denuded by Thread even before the colonists moved to Fort. They would have had to start tree seedlings indoors, hydroponically, then transplant them to a nursery that could be covered by metal plates or shutters during Threadfall, and plant them near the protected Holds after the final Fall of each Pass. They could never have big plantations until there were enough dragons to protect them, and even then a single Thread burrow could devastate a wide swath of timbered land in minutes. And most of the trees would have to be cut down and made into lumber (for building) and wood-pulp (for paper) right before a Pass, and stockpiled for the rest of the Pass. But they could process fallen branches and useless scraps of wood, other suitable plants, and rags for paper-making.

As GinnyStar mentioned, Clisser had a notion that they should build a printing-press when they had more time. They'd probably have used it to print essential reference works, which would have to be kept safe from fire and flooding, and reprinted every so often. In the circumstances it's hard to understand why they didn't build the printing-press and keep it in use, with instructions for manufacture kept at the Smithcrafthall, and copies of the user manual readily available wherever there was a press.
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Old Feb 21 2016, 08:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
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<snipped>
I know there's some disagreement on just what the population of the big Holds is, but I've always figured some of them had to be "urban" enough that you'd want at least a good percentage of the population literate. It's true that a lot of people like farmers, green and blue dragon riders, and many crafters don't need to read, but others do.
All the crafters, especially the healers and smiths, would need works of reference in their craft.

Most Holders and weyrfolk would need a limited amount of paper for accounts and rough notes, but I don't suppose anyone would bother writing down stories when they could have the Hold Harper recite them -- with dramatic embellishments -- by glow-light after the main meal or during Threadfall. Much of what the ordinary folk needed to know was committed to memory during childhood or on-the-job training.
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Old Feb 23 2016, 03:13 AM   #16
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All the crafters, especially the healers and smiths, would need works of reference in their craft.
I don't think they would. The Harpers, definitely -- that's canon. The Healers, almost certainly. The other Crafts, though, could probably get by very well without literacy.

Why does a master Weaver need to read? A Farmer? A Baker? A Fisher?

You and I know why reading is important for doing these sorts of jobs. We think about everything you learn in school and in college, and how important reading is. But historically, people who were masters of these crafts probably couldn't read, or couldn't read much-- being able to mark up measurements on a blueprint, for example, might be an essential skill for a Miner, but that doesn't equate to general literacy. They can also probably count very well, and do basic mathematical operations like addition and subtraction in their heads faster than we can, but they don't need calculus.

Cultures with widespread illiteracy can get along quite well, as long as manual labor is the driving force in the economy. Industrial and post-industrial cultures are different. And it's canon that a lot of the degradation of the Pernese tech base came from master craftsmen dying with their craft secrets still in their heads, not writing it down anywhere.

So I think the Pernese have learned to get along very well without literacy. I just wonder why someone in those 250 years where they had functioning computers didn't as SpaceGoogle how you build a printing press.
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Old Feb 23 2016, 07:49 AM   #17
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Default Re: Printer Hall

But if most Pernese couldn't read or write, than would the Runner Craft's postal service have stayed open for so long? Surely they couldn't have gotten by on just Lord Holders and Harpers sending letters back and forth?
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Old Feb 23 2016, 12:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pearldiver View Post
I don't think they would. The Harpers, definitely -- that's canon. The Healers, almost certainly. The other Crafts, though, could probably get by very well without literacy.

Why does a master Weaver need to read? A Farmer? A Baker? A Fisher?

You and I know why reading is important for doing these sorts of jobs. We think about everything you learn in school and in college, and how important reading is. But historically, people who were masters of these crafts probably couldn't read, or couldn't read much-- being able to mark up measurements on a blueprint, for example, might be an essential skill for a Miner, but that doesn't equate to general literacy. They can also probably count very well, and do basic mathematical operations like addition and subtraction in their heads faster than we can, but they don't need calculus.

Cultures with widespread illiteracy can get along quite well, as long as manual labor is the driving force in the economy. Industrial and post-industrial cultures are different. And it's canon that a lot of the degradation of the Pernese tech base came from master craftsmen dying with their craft secrets still in their heads, not writing it down anywhere.

So I think the Pernese have learned to get along very well without literacy. I just wonder why someone in those 250 years where they had functioning computers didn't as SpaceGoogle how you build a printing press.
The time for building the printing-press was right after the First Pass when they had a bit of spare time --- though I guess they had everyone ploughing, planting and reaping for the first few years. But long before the computers blew up anyway.

I wouldn't agree that the Pernese got along well without literacy, as they regressed to something like the Middle Ages in Europe. By the Second Interval they were turning malefactors and their families out of their holds to roam the wild areas, and feeding potentially explosive firestone to dragons because they couldn't locate the right kind any more. The First Interval (200 years) should have given them time to get on track again, but they were still depending on 250-year-old computers.

BTW I don't need calculus either.

Closing now --- I already lost a long post because the website logged me out.
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Old Feb 24 2016, 05:01 AM   #19
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Default Re: Printer Hall

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But if most Pernese couldn't read or write, than would the Runner Craft's postal service have stayed open for so long? Surely they couldn't have gotten by on just Lord Holders and Harpers sending letters back and forth?
Possibly they could have carried small packages too?

Also ... given the typical memory-span displayed on oral cultures they might have been able to memorize and carry spoken messages as well?

That would expand their use across most of Pernese society - you couldn't send anything too sensitive but "Dear Eujax - I am sending you some socks. Your father wishes you well with your studies." would be well within their abilities I suspect.
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Old Feb 24 2016, 02:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Possibly they could have carried small packages too?

Also ... given the typical memory-span displayed on oral cultures they might have been able to memorize and carry spoken messages as well?

That would expand their use across most of Pernese society - you couldn't send anything too sensitive but "Dear Eujax - I am sending you some socks. Your father wishes you well with your studies." would be well within their abilities I suspect.
In the Runner of Pern, she carried craft orders,

The craft carried word about the TurnOver attacks, in The Skies of Pern, they burned the pamphlets that they were given. The Wild Bay Runner Station Manger was there when the Printer Hall was attacked, and charged nothing for carrying community messages -- I need more #(_)? klah image show a klah cup with klah in it), and also trying to put together an unwritten bit
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Old Feb 24 2016, 03:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
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The time for building the printing-press was right after the First Pass when they had a bit of spare time --- though I guess they had everyone ploughing, planting and reaping for the first few years. But long before the computers blew up anyway.

I wouldn't agree that the Pernese got along well without literacy, as they regressed to something like the Middle Ages in Europe. By the Second Interval they were turning malefactors and their families out of their holds to roam the wild areas, and feeding potentially explosive firestone to dragons because they couldn't locate the right kind any more. The First Interval (200 years) should have given them time to get on track again, but they were still depending on 250-year-old computers. .
<snip> they worked but they had to handcopy all stuff. The last 50 years were questionable, the lighting storm just before the beginning of that pass turn them into glue and some else.
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Old Feb 24 2016, 07:01 PM   #22
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Default Re: Printer Hall

To be honest, I just tend to ignore the Runnercraft when I think about Pern. It's a late addition to the canon that doesn't jive with the world portrayed in the earlier books.

Though, I guess it would also be possible that Runners themselves are literate and for an extra fee could write out the letters and then read them off to the recipient -- a combination of marathon runner and scribe.
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Old Feb 24 2016, 08:03 PM   #23
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Default Re: Printer Hall

There are also those Journeyman Harpers traveling around and assigned to the holds. Wouldn't they teach at the very least, basic reading and writing skills in addition to the Teaching Ballads?
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Old Feb 24 2016, 08:06 PM   #24
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If I remember right, the Harper assigned to that Ista hold from the short story "Ever the Twain" taught the kids how to read and write using slates and chalk.
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Old Feb 24 2016, 11:01 PM   #25
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If I remember right, the Harper assigned to that Ista hold from the short story "Ever the Twain" taught the kids how to read and write using slates and chalk.
I just remembered!

Little fuzzy, might be wrong, but aren't they all supposed to be aware of their rights in the Charter?

You could probably argue that basic literacy is required for that, or else Fax type situations would have happened all the time right?

"Oh yes, the Charter definitely says I can kick you out of your house for looking at me funny. Now wouldn't this be a great place for my new bath-house?"

If the average citizen isn't literate enough to read their Chartered rights that in and of itself would probably be an infringement of the Charter since it interferes with people ability to know their rights.

Possibly literacy is for the Pernese what say, algebra, is for us. We're all taught it at some point, some people take to it really well and use it all the time and others remember it just long enough to pass the test and then gradually forget all but the absolute basics.
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Old Feb 25 2016, 12:59 AM   #26
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I don't think the Charter survived til the 9th Pass, or even the 6th. Earlier ages of Pern, sure, but by the time Fax came around it seems to be pretty well-accepted that the law is whatever the strongest man says it is. There's custom and duty, like everyone's duty to the Weyr(s), but nobody starts quoting the Charter to explain why Fax is wrong to conquer multiple Holds or rape all the women he likes.

Edit: I don't think literacy is a part of the public education system at all. That's the entire reason the Teaching Ballads are ballads, not textbooks. Reading was already becoming less common at the end of the First Interval, both because paper was expensive and because most folks outside the urban centers and the college didn't use it. The people in charge of redesigning the education system for Pern's future opted for rote memorization with musical memory aids, because they didn't expect to be teaching a literate population before long.
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Old Mar 3 2016, 12:51 PM   #27
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Again, I'm shocked that, with 200 years to prepare for the second Pass, the Pernese didn't make an overall plan to maintain a reasonable level of civilisation. For certain it was never intended that they should revert to the level they did. Chapter VII of Dragonseye says the colonists had come to Pern, with its limited resources "to revert to a society that was not so dependent on technology".

Clisser recalls accounts of people who never left their home place, contacting others only by electronics, mostly out of indolence. The colonists were expecting to grow food, produce whatever other goods they needed, and mix with other people for purposes of trade, entertainment, and intellectual stimulation. The first (unanticipated) 50 years of Thread would put a crimp in this plan, but 200 years between Passes should have allowed not only reversion to normal, but even some social and technological advancement.
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Old Mar 3 2016, 01:12 PM   #28
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The Teachers' College apparently had a good supply of books at first, printed off from the computer on plasfilm (Chapter VII of Dragonseye) --- probably for use by teachers and advanced students. They wouldn't last indefinitely and wouldn't be generally accessible, so future needs should have been provided for.

Not all skills could be taught in Teaching Ballads. Boys at least were taught to read and write even in the Second Long Interval, but if they didn't use those skills they'd forget them, so some kind of general-interest books should have been kept available. I picture the hold harper starting to read a story aloud during Threadfall, and leaving it unfinished (a la Scheherazade) so that people would read the rest for themselves!
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Old Mar 3 2016, 03:07 PM   #29
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Has anybody here read Dragonsblood? That has sections in it which take place between the end of Dragonsdawn and Dragonseye (it covers the last bit of Wind Blossom's life anyway). Maybe that could help explain more about what happened?
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Old Mar 3 2016, 05:47 PM   #30
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I've read Dragonsblood --- it's one of Todd's, and by the time I'd read the next few sequels I was totally confused by all the time-travelling. These novels took place between the First Pass and the second Interval and third Pass. They explain why there's a microscope at Benden Weyr, but not the loss of technology.

There was still a fair bit of technology around at the time of Dragonseye, though I'm surprised the computers lasted as long as they did.

When you think of it, Earth's civilisations have seen a lot of ups and down over the last 4000 or so years --- Stonehenge, pyramids, Greek philosophers, Roman arches, Moorish science and medicine, etc., with periods of barbarism and repression in between the high-points. On Pern, though, it seems to have been a slow downward slide from the Second Pass, till Fandarel turned up and started tinkering with electricity and other clever stuff. I wonder how far he'd have gone if they hadn't found AIVAS? Maybe the Printer's Hall would have engraved book-pages and bound them together instead of using movable type (as in Discworld).
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Old Mar 3 2016, 05:54 PM   #31
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If Todd hadn't written his books, we could probably blame the loss of technology and the somewhat feudal social system on societal disruptions during the first Long Interval (actual fourth interval).
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Old Mar 11 2016, 03:49 PM   #32
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Many good points have been raised her, and I will add my 'two marks' worth.

Literacy: I would think that this skill would be prized enough to be maintained. However, the level of literacy would not be consistent. Holds with a Harper in residence would have a higher level, but virtually everyone would be able to read and write to some degree. Where Harpers were not available, teachers would be drawn from the general populace (volunteers or assigned).

Paper making: Large scale paper production would be concentrated in a few areas, and production would meet the demand. All the Holds would need paper for their accounts and general business, but the common people would see paper as a luxury item.
Letters for them would be somewhat rare (due to cost of paper and the cost of sending by Runner) and would be used to pass on important family news. The arrival of a letter would, in itself, herald that something of note had happened such as a birth, death, or wedding.
Since paper requires wood pulp, it would make sense for the paper mills to be co-located with lumber mills. There might be a Bindery nearby to make ledger books for the Holds. Any printing would probably be done at a separate Print hall, with its own Bindery.
The Holds would keep ledgers to record their accounts, minutes of meetings, legal proceedings, and general history. There would probably be correspondence between Holds regarding trade, tithe trains, etc. These ledgers would most likely be large books of blank pages, as the clerks/scribes would fill them with the necessary information.
I would expect that each Hold would have a Library, with public access, containing basic reference books in addition to the Records of the Hold. Each would have a copy of the Charter. There would be public access, but it would be easy enough to make that access difficult (if desired).
Harpers, especially the painters, had sketching paper. There is one story (I can't recall the title) in which a Harper sketches scenes and people quite freely. This implies that he has a good supply of paper and that he can get more fairly easily.

Printing: There are several ways to print books, pamphlets, broadsheets, etc. which do not require mechanical presses. One method is to use a stencil and an ink roller(Miyazaki's 'From up on Poppy Hill' shows students printing mock exams using this method) Another method would be a spirit duplicator(Does anyone remember these?).
Since the demand for the basic reference books is relatively low, printing would be 'on demand' and would require some time to produce the required stencils or engravings before printing.

Weyr Records: This deserves a special note because it is clearly stated in DQ that Weyr Records were kept on hides. The vellum was used in the Weyrs for a simple reason: all the weyrs were sited in dormant volcanoes and used the hot springs there for heating, which means they would be very humid. Humidity and paper do not go together. Vellum would be the only low-tech solution readily available.

In general terms, Printer Hall activities would be similar to those of the early 1700s.
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Old Mar 11 2016, 04:21 PM   #33
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Humidity and vellum parchment don't go well together, either. Especially with primitive low-quality inks.
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Old Mar 11 2016, 04:50 PM   #34
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F'lar did comment that many of the records were badly deteriorated. They had been untended for over a century, however.

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Old Mar 13 2016, 08:46 PM   #35
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Dragonseye/Red Star Rising was the book with the artist, Iantine. He went to Bitra Hold to do miniatures of Chalkin's children and only took the supplies he expected to need --- plus a sketching pad. He'd have had to send back to the Artists' Hall for more supplies when Chalkin's wife decided his work was "unsatisfactory", but managed to scrounge enough raw materials (skybroom, and pigments he made himself) to fulfil the contract.

After being rescued and taken to the Weyr, he ran out of sketching-paper just when a Trader caravan was due, but was able to get a good supply in return for doing a water-colour montage of the caravan's arrival. He didn't have any money at this point. Earlier Wayne, the Weyr artist, had given him some paper and pencils, and in return Iantine made him some paints and showed him how to make more. I imagine paper was a commodity that needed to be rationed (and recycled) between Trader visits, and would be even less available during a Pass. (There are a couple of mentions of paper recycling in this book.)
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Old Mar 13 2016, 08:51 PM   #36
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I didn't think of vellum. I don't think I've ever actual seen any. The books always talk about record-hides, which sound thick and heavy.
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Old Mar 14 2016, 07:47 AM   #37
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Miniatures aren't usually on paper anyway. I have one that's on fabric and one that's on ivory, but I can't think of anything on Pern that might substitute for ivory. The ivory one - of an ancestor - was once dated as being done around 1860 in Italy.
While we think writing = paper, that wasn't always the case. Quite a number of things have been used in the past, including papyrus, clay tablets, palm leaf, wood, wax, silk cloth, and locally a large leaf which has a white back.
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Old Mar 14 2016, 09:44 AM   #38
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Whenever paper making was being discussed in the Pern books I kept thinking it would perhaps be more efficient if some hemp-like plant could be used for paper making. Trees take a long time to grow before harvesting even if the paper is being made from a lumbering waste product.
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Old Mar 14 2016, 10:46 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daccio View Post
Whenever paper making was being discussed in the Pern books I kept thinking it would perhaps be more efficient if some hemp-like plant could be used for paper making. Trees take a long time to grow before harvesting even if the paper is being made from a lumbering waste product.

I've been reading through All the Weyrs of Pern again, and it says they found a weed growing on the Southern Continent that works as a wood pulp substitute for paper, so they switch to using that and old rags since everybody wants paper now and trees take so long to grow.
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Old Mar 15 2016, 06:30 AM   #40
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That makes sense. They could have used hemp, cane, bamboo or some plant native only to Pern. New Zealand flax has been used to make paper and rope - that would look like 8 foot or two metre high grass to the Pernese. The possibilites are only limited by the imagination, especially since we know that the early settlers still had the science to do genetic manipulation.
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