, 17 tweets, 3 min read
folks, it's columbus day, which means it's time to talk about the weirdest book about columbus ever written: orson scott card's PASTWATCH: THE REDEMPTION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
this is without a doubt the wildest OSC book i've read, and keep in mind i read his book that was a religious allegory where a space princess named Prudence has to overcome her insatiable lust for a huge black subterranean worm-thing
PASTWATCH: THE REDEMPTION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (hereafter P:TROCC) starts out in our near future, when a technology that allows people to view events in the past has been invented. the titular pastwatch is the historical research agency that gets to use this gadget
one of the historical problems pastwatch is researching: why was columbus obsessed for most of his youth with leading a crusade to retake constantinople from the turks, but then abruptly decided his destiny involved trying to cross the atlantic?
i have no idea if this part of the real columbus's bio, but w/e. anyway, the pastwatchers find a moment in columbus's life where he has a vision from jesus, god the father, and the holy spirit telling him to that it's possible to sail west to reach asia & he needs to do it
but the pastwatchers can see that this "vision" is being created by a holographic projector, obviously from the future. how can this be?????
well, inspired by this discovery, they figure out that time TRAVEL is possible as well. but going back to the past (or even sending back a gadget like a holoprojector) immediately changes the timeline, erasing everything that would've come after
so some civilization essentially committed suicide to send back that projector. why? one pastwatcher -- a mexican of indigenous descent who's been studying pre-columbian mexico, has the answer: TO STOP BLOODTHIRSTY MESOAMERICANS FROM CONQUERING EUROPE!!!
his research has shown that aztec tributary states were starting to develop ironworking. if, say, spain had spent the early 1500s in a full-on fight against the ottomans and not conquering america, these states would've overthrown the aztecs and conquered the world
would they have brought their terrible regime of human sacrifice with them? YOU KNOW IT!!! so clearly the attempt to get columbus to the new world was justified to erase this hell-timeline
BUT: it turns out the timeline of the pastwatchers (which, it's heavily implied, is our timeline, just a little in the future) also sucks. the world is experiencing an ecological collapse, and the pastwatchers see this as a legacy of european colonialism that started in 1492
so you know what that means: it's time to REDEEM CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, motherfuckers
our heroes decide to travel back in time (erasing untold millions from existence) to improve things. the mexican guy goes to mesoamerica to spread a genetically engineered virus that would provide immunity against smallpox & teach a pseudo-christian, no human sacrifice faith
a turkish pastwatcher stows away on the santa maria (!!!) and then sabotages the boats once they reach the caribbean, trapping them there, and then is like "ha, i, a dastardly moor, have trapped you here!" columbus's crew hangs him
another pastwatcher, a black woman, meets up with columbus, ends up marrying him (!!!!!!), and guides him towards nicer relations with the indigenous caribs
over the next generation, columbus forms a carribean federation, which merges with the new, nicer mesomerican state. eventually, columbus leads a huge american fleet back to spain in the 1520s, and peaceful relations as equals are established. PROBLEMS SOLVED
side note: the title starts with PASTWATCH: bc OSC wanted to do a whole series, but i'm not sure how bc the characters in this book wipe out the timeline in which the pastwatch org existed? were the books going to be an endless series of improving historical reboots?
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