[LMB] TSK - Going Home

pouncer at aol.com pouncer at aol.com
Thu Jul 25 21:04:00 BST 2019


wynne Powell >In this [WGW] world, there's a desperate need for a 
>reliable postal service.
Or (obDiscworld) clacks.  
Heliographs. Semaphore. Drums. Fife AND drums.  Bugles. 
Our literate culture is so accustomed to messaging media that
we can hardly imagine NOT having some sort of means to send
word that doesn't depend on a horse.  But most cultures in
most places didn't find it necessary -- or at least, not
profitable.  When the French did begin to find message via
heliograph profitable,  there were fraudsters who intercepted
the news and took early advantage.  
Does anybody remember and if so can you remind me of a
society that developed messaging technology that was NOT
primarily a device for the military? 
Then there is the story of the Armies of Alexander the 
Great who could, across great distances, co-ordinate their
movements and attacks.  This wasn't because of better
messaging but good time keeping.  The troop leaders tied around
their arms cloth bands or rags soaked in a sort of slowly changing 
dye. As the cloth dried and the color in all locations changed in
the same way at the same time, the phases of the battle plan would
be implemented. 
This method is famously known as "Alexander's Rag Time-Band." 

With THAT out of my system for a little while,  why does the horse and
pedestrian courier opportunity fall mainly to Lakewalkers? The
rider with groundsense seems to be more valuable to the overall 
society on malice hunts than in courier duty.  A flatboat, a
tea caravan, or just a manure wagon that -- as Gwynne says, --
RELIABLY  gets anyone's message between set points on a set
schedule would seem to be profit source.  Whit?  You busy? 




More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list