Karl Schroeder, the author of many fantastic sf novels (most recently the swashbuckling space-pirates post-Singularity book Sun of Suns
) has written an excellent vingnette for the WorldChanging series on sustainability in Canada, CanadaChanging
. In it, Karl writes about the way that Inuit communities in Nunavut might find the Internet to be a force for independence and a threat to their identity all at once. This is a heartbreaking, bittersweet and visionary piece -- pure Schroeder.
Under the rose-and-peach of a northern sunrise, the town's mountie found Amaruq looting his own library of its books.
Ross watched as Amaruq defiantly heaved another heavy cardboard box into the back of his truck. Then he sauntered over to peer through the door. "Enlarging your collection?"
Amaruq scowled at him. "They're throwing out the books today. After the legislature voted to close the place I did a book sale. Nobody wanted to buy them. I couldn't just sit there and let it happen. Couldn't sleep."
Ross stared at the canary-yellow band of light on the horizon. Then he grinned at Amaruq. "I could say, 'everything's on-line now' so what's the loss?"
Amaruq just shook his head. "We were the only library for two hundred kilometers. Where will the community meet? --And don't say, 'on-line.'"
Ross shook his head and walked up the wooden steps. "I said I could say that. But I won't. What I was going to say was, need some help?"
Amaruq grinned at him. By the light of a canary-yellow band of sky they emptied the contents of the little library of Bell's Lake.
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