(urth) BSG Spoiler

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 23 05:48:31 PDT 2009

On the whole subsistence/survival issue: Can I suggest that we're all thinking in the wrong way about this. I never saw BSG as anything resembling "hard" sf, so the question of the final move's realism is moot to me. (Besides, of course they fail: our own history didn't have some kind of magical leap in new technology from tribal to space-faring. Whatever Baltar "knows about farming" obviously doesn't last.)

Rather, it seems to me that the purpose of "going tribal" was largely metaphorical and suited the general moralizing tone of that final add on: even when they all start over and go native instead of trying to rebuild as they were, they start to create the same patterns they'd made before. So all of Lee's optimism is shown to be seriously questionable in the end. Even the "unsoiled" natives end up creating machines again in the end.

The only potential nod to the actual implausibility to me seemed to be when Adama says something about how none of their home worlds had as much wildlife as Earth. So maybe that was to suggest that they were used to a more difficult prospect of farming/hunting? I doubt it, really, but whatever. I just don't feel it necessary to start wondering about the viability of starting a subsistence lifestyle in a story where angels-are-robots-are-angels and dead people come back (and disappear) with no exaplanation and robots-that-look-like-people (and who wear fashionable clothes but live on gritty space rocks) end up mating with people to save both species. <grin>

----- Original Message ----
From: Jeff Wilson <jwilson at io.com>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 8:19:25 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) BSG Spoiler

James Wynn wrote:
>> I think you underestimate the hardship of a subsistence lifestyle, no matter
>> the fertility of the area you reside in and cultivate.
> Of course they would not last a month as farmers. They would have to beg their way into the indigenous tribes and learn to be hunter gatherers in order to survive. Anyone who wants to understand how impossible it would be for 99.999% of Americans and Western Europeans to go back only 150 years and start a farm in Kansas should read the first couple Laura Engles Wilder books. Those people spent their entire lives learning to subsistence farm and that was with steel plows and tools.

The Ingalls did not have their choice of the entire underpopulated world to settle in.  The Colonials could have settled in places like Hawaii, where living was so easy that historically the white exploiters could not attract native laborers for any length of time.

-- Jeff Wilson - jwilson at io.com
< http://www.io.com/~jwilson >
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