[LMB] Space Amish

William A Wenrich wawenri at msn.com
Sat Jun 5 12:59:14 BST 2010

Claire Nollet wrote:

Space Amish.  THERE'S something I'd pay cash money to see.
There was a story in Analog. <pause to Google> "Blind Man's Lantern".

The cover of the issue of Analog in which this novella first appeared
features an Amish couple in a horse-drawn buggy, riding away from a
spacecraft on another planet. 
Malcolm Farmer wrote about this story: 
"It features an Amish couple sent out homesteading 180 light-years from
Earth. They go to a previously colonized world. The basic principle of the
story is that cultures regress technologically during the struggles of
colonizing a new world; Earth is sending out Amish, who can get by perfectly
well at a low level of technology, to help bootstrap a more technological
civilization." This reasoning is reflected by the following passage: 
"Not so odd," the Captain said. "The Amish pretty much invented American
agriculture, you know. They've developed the finest low-energy farming there
is. Clover-growing, crop-rotation, using animal manures, these are their
inventions. Aaron, by his example, will, teach the natives here Pennsylvania
farming. Before you can say Tom Malthus, there'll be steel cities
<http://www.adherents.com/lit/sf_amish.html>  in this wilderness, filled
with citizens eager to open charge accounts for low-gravs and stereo sets." 
The story's other, more important reason for sending Amish is revealed in
this passage: 
"Nice guy, hell" the Captain said. That seventeenth century un-scientist has
more feeling for folk-ways in his calloused left hand than you'd find in all
the Colonial Survey. How do you suppose the Old Order maintains itself in
Pennsylvania, a tiny Deutsch-speaking enclave surrounded by calico suburbs
and ten-lane highways? They mind their business and leave the neighbors to
theirs. The Amish have never been missionaries--they learned in 1600 that
missionaries are resented and either slaughtered or absorbed." 


William A. Wenrich
I am a Christian, husband, father, grandfather, son, and American. Here I
stand. I can do no other. God help me!

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