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Great Posts and Interesting Discussions
Technological development (or lack thereof) in 2500 Turns
Sariel's comments about posts are added in green.
I find it rather doubting that a human society would develop
so little over the turns of so many centuries. I mean all the Pernese are human beings
like on Earth and look what has been accomplished here over the last 2500 years.
Jeremy Wong, 9/7/98
I think the threadfalls would have halted their development
and the dragon's presence reduced the need for other technology
it seems that Thread would more likely have
stimulated the human inventive genius. And why would the presence of dragons reduce
the need for technology? First, they were available for a small minority (as far as
transportation and other conveniences are concerned) and second, no matter how essential
they were for fighting Thread, they were of little or no use in every day matters such as
sewing, cultivating the fields or building to name a few.
Again, my guess is the survival thing - the
battle against thread prevented holders and crafters making much progress. There
were also plagues that killed off the people with knowledge before they could pass it on
As I understood it, the people who emigrated to
Pern did so to escape all the technology and political crap (such as war) that comes with
it. When they moved to the Northern Continent, they probably left behind their technology
on purpose. Also, such things as sleds ran on fuel, and it was noted that they didn't have
a replacement fuel for when they ran out. I do remember reading about how someone invented
a telephone-like thing in Dragon Flight/Quest or TWD, so there was some advancement later
on. I just get the impression that they didn't really need technology, and as they say,
necessity is the mother of invention. They seemed to have all they need! : )
You also have to remember that the Pernese
suffered from several plagues. I remember at least one reference (in AtWoP) that
Pern's population was nearly decimated by plague... Remember. It was Plague that
brought on the Dark Ages in Europe. Some anthropologists speculate that advances in
science & technology were delayed by as much as 300 yrs by the plague. Pern was
hit by several plagues.
Hm, decimated or extinct? Sure, plagues would
delay development for quite some time but not that long. Also I can't remember *several*
plagues and I don't know of what kind they were (sorry, I still haven't read Moreta so I
may be missing something on that issue. But hopefully it will arrive soon). Was it *the*
Plague or just another epidemic? Well, 300 years are an amount of time a lot less than the
time frame of the novels.
Taki Kogoma (aka Gym Quirk), 9/7/98
Moreta's plague was a decimation (1-in-10
killed). You can't lose 10% of your population in a matter of weeks and not be
severely impacted. Particularly when much information was communicated word-of-mouth.
There are two population-wide plagues directly referenced in the books: The first takes
place in Fort Hold about 8 years into the 1st Pass (See _Chronicles of pern_), the second
is the one toward the end of the 6th pass discussed in _Dragonsinger_, _Moreta_, and
There are also hints about several others dispersed throughout Pernese history.
Does the exact pathogen really matter? Widespread disease kills lots of people.
At times, entire small communities.
The first plague at Fort hold knocked them back considerably further than 300 years of
development. And all you need is one epidemic on the proper scale every 300 years to
ensure essentially zero development.
It's my understanding that Pern was a metal poor
planet. Without metal and with a metal-based knowledge, it would be difficult to
advance. It, at least, would surely slow advancement down quite a bit.
The original colonists wanted to use as little
tech as possible, so the culture started without an innovative drive. By the second
pass, society really started working on a "need-to-know" basis, which limited
people to their specific sphere of life. People not involved in a particular craft
would not know where to begin asking questions, and within the craft the Master is pretty
much the only one directing development--and we know they often took their secrets to
their deathbed. The basic cultural attitude of guarding knowledge instead of passing
and extending it would keep technological development quite slow. And the
occasional epidemic, like the influenza of Moreta's time, certainly doesn't help either.
By the ninth pass, even before AIVAS, this was changing. Around the 12th turn of the
pass, Robinton suggested starting classes to facilitate the exchange of ideas between
crafts, attended by the youth from hold, hall, and weyr. And Fandarel was quite
innovative as Mastersmith, making intercoms and telegraphs, among other things.
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