Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Murray Leinster's "The Duplicators" aka "Lord of the Uffts" (short novel, humor, free): Social implications of material replication technology

Quote from short novel titled The Duplicators aka Lord of the Uffts by Murray LeinsterThis is an adventure story with many funny situations. Adventures of Link Denham on a world called Sord Three.

Sord Three society comprises of human colonists & intelligent pig-like natives called "uffts". Humans have fallen to primitive feudal society that has lost all its technology & knowledge except "dupliers", their fabulous material replication machines. Feed a potato into one "hopper" of machine, some "greenstuff" (grass, etc) into another, press a button - & you get a handful of potatoes in a third "hopper", corresponding chemical elements now missing from "greenstuff"! This is how they make everything - cloths, knives, ... Copied material is said to have been "duplied"; originals are "unduplied".

Since a lot of complicated electronics requires rare materials in small quantities - raw material they can no longer get, the society has been falling.

Human society is essentially feudal villages ("Households") with a headman ("Householder"). Uffts are servant class, doing menial tasks (& paid for in beer!).

Soon after Link finds himself on this world against his wishes, he & his cranky employer Thistlethwaite keep getting into one spot after another - including death sentence a couple of times. Here, Link will find Thana, his lady love & sister of local headman Harl. And, of course, all ends well.

Near end of the story is a revolt of uffts against the human overlords. Link will help quench the revolt, using a technique many office workers will find familiar: if you are a management faced with restless employees, create a bunch of committees & causes to keep the crowd busy & feeling important!

Collected in.

  1. Murray Leinster's collection "A Logic Named Joe" (ed Eric Flint).

Fact sheet.

First published: 'in a shorter version in Worlds of Tomorrow in February 1964, under the title "Lord of the Uffts." The expanded version contained in this volume was reissued the same year by Ace Books as a double novel under the current title (coupled with Philip E. High's No Truce With Terra).'
Rating: A
Download full text from Webscription.
All stories of Murray Leinster.


kjphyland said...

Having just read the original version from the 1964 issue of Worlds Of Tomorrow I can say that despite it being 50 years old, the tale holds up pretty well. The humor is more sarcastic than uproarious but it is a readable tale that flows nicely. Character development is a bit thin, but that was not unusual in late 50s/early 60s, and you never really felt much for any of the protagonists, but the moral/social implications of the technology were surprisingly sophisticated.