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Old Jun 21 2014, 12:06 AM   #1
Kim
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Default Fur and textiles on Pern

I've always been a little bothered by the constant reference to sleeping furs. What kind of furs? The only mammals I know of on Pern are herdbeasts (cattle) and runnerbeasts (horses). When I think of fur I think of long luxurious fur, not the relatively short hair of horses and cattle. Wouldn't those be more on the order of hides rather than furs? Is cloth that hard to come by that it can't be used for sheets and blankets?
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Old Jun 21 2014, 01:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

They do have sheep, Dragonseye/Red Star Rising. I'm starting to fizz so I shall have to get back to you.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 02:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Sheepskins. 'Nuff said.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 02:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Ah. Now I was completely unaware of that. They're never talked about in the Ninth Pass books that I can recall.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 03:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Not much is mentioned about wild life, other than fish werries (I know misspelled) and fire lizards. Not sure what else there is. There are some lion/tigers type felines in Southern. They are not very common, so not sure how many people would have their hides.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 05:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I don't see why it couldn't be cowhide, really. Not if the Pernese had a bison crossbreed, or later developed long-furred cattle.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 06:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I've always hoped that the fur has been used as filling - like a duvet?
Fur would not be easy to clean, as is necessary for bedding, would it?
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Old Jun 21 2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Depends on the manufacturing processes used and how the Pernese preserve and clean furs and sheepskins.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 07:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

There is one scene where Piemur washes his fouled furs in water. I always thought that was a major no-no for fur.
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Old Jun 21 2014, 09:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Maybe they just don't have a word for "blankets"?
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Old Jun 22 2014, 06:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

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There is one scene where Piemur washes his fouled furs in water. I always thought that was a major no-no for fur.
And what a weight to handle! And to dry!

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Maybe they just don't have a word for "blankets"?
That'll be the answer.
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Old Jun 23 2014, 08:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I know many folks find Orson Scott Card problematic due to his views on homosexuality, but he did write a book on writing which I managed to read once. (Very odd for me, as I always hated reading books on writing. I'm a trial and error person!)

But anyway, there was a part where he said don't call a rabbit a smeerp. Or something like that. And I tend to agree with him. If you're talking about a spade, call it a spade. If you're NOT talking about a spade...well, anything goes then.

In Pern's case, I think sleeping furs are basically blankets, but it makes no sense that they would lose that word because blankets are such a basic human need. So I think this is a case of coming up with a ridiculous name for an item that differs little from our own.

"Weyr" on the other hand, is a good example of a name for something that doesn't exist. "Lair" doesn't sound right for a beast that helps protect the world, so I think it's legitimate to call a place where dragons and riders sleep together by an entirely new name.

"Gitar" is an interesting one; while normally I'd sort of scoff at respellings, I like to imagine in this case a Pernese "gitar" is a cross between a sitar and a guitar, or has the potential to be.
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Old Jun 23 2014, 10:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I'm beginning to be doubtful of that, D.M. I'd have to go dig out my copy of Dragondrums, but I seem to remember Piemur talk about hair or fur side.
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Old Jun 23 2014, 12:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

That's right --- "He slapped the furs, hair side out into the warm tub, shaking half the jar of sweetsand on the slowly sinking bedding."

I've heard of using sheepskin (in the real world) with the wool side up as a base layer under the bottom sheet, for warmth in winter. But when Mennolly goes to the Harper Hall her bed consists of a cot with a bag of rushes on it, and a sleeping fur to cover her. Rather primitive. Also too hot for summer and too heavy for comfort at any time of year if it's really an animal hide.

When the first dragonriders needed flying gear, Sean suggested using "what Pern's got plenty of . . . that tanned wher skin you've got in Stores." Maybe they took the surplus hides north to use for furnishings/bedding/draught-excluders in the Fort caverns while getting them ready for occupation. It would have taken quite a while to provide cots, sheets and blankets for several thousand people, with all the other things they needed, so I picture families sleeping in their clothes, with a big hide between them and the floor; then each person getting their own fur as more became available, draping them over rocks to sit on during the day, hanging them up to form partitions between one family and the next.

Once the weavers had time to do more than make clothes for everybody (and more of the herdbeasts were going to feed dragons), perhaps they started turning out imitation furs, something like Rya rugs, with a firm backing and a shaggy coat. Something like that would still be called a sleeping fur where sheets and blankets wouldn't. (Regular blankets would be simpler to make, of course.) Poorer Pernese would still use actual hides, and probably all holds would keep a few for passing travellers.
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Old Jun 23 2014, 04:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Even if some of them are fur, I still maintain it's sort of ridiculous to lose the term "blanket".
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Old Jun 23 2014, 05:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Eriflor : sheepskin under blankets are readily available and most comfortable (speaking from a country with four times more sheep than humans)

Anne did tend to change words and their spelling wherever possible. Some times too much, I always felt. One of the easiest things to do in the early days on Pern would have been to assemble spinning wheels and looms to make woollen thread and turn it into blankets. And the ancients would have had enough of the necessities of life from the ships to last until they could arrange for a resupply.

Anyway - I hate the thought of sleeping in fur. It tickles!
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Old Jun 23 2014, 05:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

D.M. Yes, it is ridiculous, just like forgetting plain words like cow and horse. I can see forgetting the word dolphin because they lost contact with them. They did not lose knowledge of cows and horses and there is no good reason to change their names! Same for dogs.
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Old Jun 24 2014, 11:28 AM   #18
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I thought they changed the names of domestic animals because they'd made changes to their DNA so they could use a diet that was higher in boron, or for other reasons. Consequently, for a while they had 2 versions of the same species around (plus various experimental versions that didn't work out so well), and needed to distinguish between them for people wanting to buy them.

And maybe after a while, the mutated animals didn't look too much like the originals anyway.
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Old Jun 24 2014, 12:08 PM   #19
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Eriflor, is that from one of the earlier books? It's been a long time since I reread the books.
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Old Jun 24 2014, 04:21 PM   #20
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Various scattered references in DragonsDawn, and a section (with pictures) in DragonLover's Guide to Pern.

For appearance, I'm going by some of the book-covers, e.g. Renegades (draftbeasts) and Nerilka (runners).
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Old Jun 24 2014, 06:25 PM   #21
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

During the second pass books Dragonseye/The Red Star Rising

They had a woolen covering, and the rags, turn into rugs, and paper
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Old Jun 27 2014, 07:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

@Kim - I don't really like the change in names for farm animals either. I sometimes try to explain it as a Harper move to attempt to retain some manner of the scientific names for them (bovine, ovine) that sort of backfired, but that doesn't really work for me either. :-/
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Old Sep 13 2014, 05:33 PM   #23
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In the 'wall' problem between, Tillek Cot Holder a forester Tortole, and the Fort Cot Holder, They were shaggy coats of the herdbest, and Sucho and few others were waiting on the field side for wooly beasts. Paperback MasterHarper of Pern. pg. 228-236
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Old Sep 15 2014, 05:11 PM   #24
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

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Maybe they just don't have a word for "blankets"?
They actually did.

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The cool, moist sea breeze roused him at dawn, and he fumbled irritably to cover his exposed legs and back for he'd been sleeping on his stomach, tangled in the light blanket. Having rearranged himself with some difficulty, he couldn't drop back to sleep again though he had closed his eyes, expecting to do so.
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Rill smiled and merely pointed to the pallet on the floor and shook out the blanket folded on it.
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Old Oct 6 2014, 02:24 AM   #25
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

I asked Todd about this once at a Con. His explanation was that they had several things to sleep with, depending on the place and the climate. IE: cold places will have sleeping furs. They're heavier than anything else and can be used to put on top of stone and layered. Hot places will probably just have sheets. And places in between with access might have blankets fashioned out of wool or textiles and/or a combination of everything. Depends on how wealthy and what they have to hand resource wise.
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Old Feb 27 2020, 08:36 PM   #26
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

Cattle killed in the winter would have longer, thicker fur. Highlanders naturally are longer-haired breeds, as are yak (cattle cousins that could also have adapted to Pern).

In addition to sheep/ovines and goats/caprines, Pern might also have llama which make good fiber/fur, meat and burden animals.
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Old May 24 2020, 02:06 PM   #27
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Default Re: Fur and textiles on Pern

It says in Dragonlover's Guide to Pern that they brought goats (also for milk and meat), llamas, and sheep for wool and hair for spinning, and they brought long haired cattle among their herds too. The mentions of sleeping furs and Todd's book *Dragons Fire* really confused me for awhile with its mention of a "furbeast" until I re-read DLGP and remembered the sheep and llamas. And I realized they probably meant sheepskin and other furs from those animals. It the pictures in DLGP of the farm animals after they were adapted to Pern does show them to have longer fur coats.
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Old May 25 2020, 08:46 AM   #28
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People also spin the fur of samoyed dogs, and we know that Pern had canines. I have also seen a very beautiful cloak made of narrow strips of fur from a white, long-haired dog. In a museum, before anybody freaks out at the idea.
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Old May 30 2020, 11:30 PM   #29
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Every animal killed for its meat also produces a fur or hide. They wouldn't want to waste it, considering how little they were able to take North with them.
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Old May 31 2020, 09:34 PM   #30
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People also spin the fur of samoyed dogs, and we know that Pern had canines. I have also seen a very beautiful cloak made of narrow strips of fur from a white, long-haired dog. In a museum, before anybody freaks out at the idea.
The Coast Salish Indians of BC used to keep a breed of dog specially for its wool, which was shorn at regular intervals and used for weaving --- mostly blankets. The dogs were usually a creamy shade.
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Old May 31 2020, 09:50 PM   #31
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The Coast Salish Indians of BC used to keep a breed of dog specially for its wool, which was shorn at regular intervals and used for weaving --- mostly blankets. The dogs were usually a creamy shade.
Getting back to Pernese terminology --- on the principle of "Waste not, want not", animals intended for dragons to eat didn't need to be covered in fur/hair, so maybe they were shorn/shaven before delivery, and their fur or hair spun and woven into blankets. They might then still be considered as sleeping furs (because of their origin) even when actual furs were available.
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