Tuesday, July 27, 2010

L Sprague de Camp's "Finished" (short story, free): Knowledge finds a way around "sanctions"

One of the illustrations accompanying the original publication in Astounding Science Fiction of short story Finished by L Sprague de Camp
Readers in India might identify with it rather strongly; country has often been in this situation.

Going by a lot of events in India in the last 2 decades, I've come to believe that technological blockade ("sanctions") is actually good for the "victim" country - but only after it stops sulking & looks coolly at the opportunity.

Story summary.

A star faring humanity. Krishna is a backward planet. Earth-controlled worlds are technologically advanced. There is a technological blockade in place - against Earth's knowledge transfer to Krishna.

This is the story of Prince Ferrian bad-Arjanaq, ruler of Sotaspe - one of the countries on Krishna. His unsuccessful attempt to smuggle technical books from Earth, which provides much of the drama in the story. And his eventual realization that his people are quite capable of building knowledge & gadgets on their own, if only the right incentives & attitudes are supplied...

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, November 1949.
Download full text as part of the scans of the Astounding issue it originally appeared in.
Among the stories of Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of L Sprague de Camp.