Friday, 22 March 2013

What The Okies Do V

In James Blish's Earthman, Come Home IN Cities In Flight (London, 1981), when New York lands on an already colonised planet in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, the Okies immediate need is for oil so that they can eat. They must first " for payment in drilling permits." (p. 429) Having now permanently left the home galaxy, they no longer need to be paid in the drug standard that has replaced the germanium-based Oc dollar there and payment in the local currency can wait.

As before, the question arises: what is the nature of the work that they will do? Apparently:

"...the city could throw up enough low-grade molybdenum and wolfram as a byproduct of drilling to satisfy the terms of the Proctors [the planetary authorities]." (p. 429)

So, really, as ever, it is their oil drilling that counts.

Looking ahead, Mayor Amalfi hopes that there will be commerce within the Cloud, using spindizzy-powered spaceships because:

"...commerce was the Okies' oxygen." (p. 428)

Was it? New York did not buy either raw materials or finished products on one planet and sell them on another but maybe other Okie cities did? 

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