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Industrial Revolution   By: (1926-2001)

Industrial Revolution by Poul William Anderson

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction September 1963. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration]

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Ever think how deadly a thing it is if a machine has amnesia or how easily it can be arranged....

BY WINSTON P. SANDERS

ILLUSTRATED BY LEO SUMMERS

"Well, yes," Amspaugh admitted, "it was a unique war in many ways, including its origin. However, there are so many analogies to other colonial revolutions " His words trailed off as usual.

"I know. Earth's mercantile policies and so forth," said Lindgren. He fancies himself a student of interplanetary history. This has led to quite a few arguments since Amspaugh, who teaches in that field, joined the Club. Mostly they're good. I went to the bar and got myself another drink, listening as the mine owner's big voice went on:

"But what began it? When did the asterites first start realizing they weren't pseudopods of a dozen Terrestrial nations, but a single nation in their own right? There's the root of the revolution. And it can be pinned down, too."

"'Ware metaphor!" cried someone at my elbow. I turned and saw Missy Blades. She'd come quietly into the lounge and started mixing a gin and bitters.

The view window framed her white head in Orion as she moved toward the little cluster of seated men. She took a fat cigar from her pocket, struck it on her shoe sole, and added her special contribution to the blue cloud in the room after she sat down.

"Excuse me," she said. "I couldn't help that. Please go on." Which I hope relieves you of any fear that she's an Unforgettable Character. Oh, yes, she's old as Satan now; her toil and guts and conniving make up half the biography of the Sword; she manned a gun turret at Ceres, and was mate of the Tyrfing on some of the earliest Saturn runs when men took their lives between their teeth because they needed both hands free; her sons and grandsons fill the Belt with their brawling ventures; she can drink any ordinary man to the deck; she's one of the three women ever admitted to the Club. But she's also one of the few genuine ladies I've known in my life.

"Uh, well," Lindgren grinned at her. "I was saying, Missy, the germ of the revolution was when the Stations armed themselves. You see, that meant more than police powers. It implied a degree of sovereignty. Over the years, the implication grew."

"Correct." Orloff nodded his bald head. "I remember how the Governing Commission squalled when the Station managers first demanded the right. They foresaw trouble. But if the Stations belonging to one country put in space weapons, what else could the others do?"

"They should have stuck together and all been firm about refusing to allow it," Amspaugh said. "From the standpoint of their own best interests, I mean."

"They tried to," Orloff replied. "I hate to think how many communications we sent home from our own office, and the others must have done the same. But Earth was a long way off. The Station bosses were close. Inverse square law of political pressure."

"I grant you, arming each new little settlement proved important," Amspaugh said. "But really, it expressed nothing more than the first inchoate stirrings of asteroid nationalism. And the origins of that are much more subtle and complex. For instance ... er...."

"You've got to have a key event somewhere," Lindgren insisted. "I say that this was it."

A silence fell, as will happen in conversation. I came back from the bar and settled myself beside Missy. She looked for a while into her drink, and then out to the stars. The slow spin of our rock had now brought the Dippers into view. Her faded eyes sought the Pole Star but it's Earth's, not our own any more and I wondered what memories they were sharing... Continue reading book >>




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