Friday, 22 March 2013

What The Okies Do VI

I have yet to reread James Blish's A Life For The Stars IN Cities In Flight (London, 1981) but have skipped ahead to find out the nature of the two jobs that New York accepts in this novel.

(i) The feudal aristocrats of a planet called Heaven want New York to "' them industrialize the planet...'" but without upsetting the social order, which is impossible (p. 183). Of course, the Okie city can just fulfill its contract and leave but, like the Starship Enterprise, it is  "'...not allowed to change planets' social systems...' " so, when the Earth police find out what has happened, they will charge the city with a Violation (p. 183).

(ii) On Argus Three, the Okies are hired to do some " '...local geology and mining...,'" which is described as "'...a standard piece of work...' " (p. 211). The situation is complicated by the fact that the tramp city of Scranton, previously hired to do the job, has failed to complete it but has remained on the planet past its contract deadline and is suspected of wanting to take over the planet. Instead of calling the police, the Argidae ask New York to deal with Scranton...

But the relevant point here is that the standard work is as usual mining.

Jobs undertaken by Okie cities

On Heaven: industrialization.
On Argus Three: geology and mining.
On Utopia: sharing spindizzy technology in exchange for mining rights.
On Gort: New York was hijacked to divulge molar valance so we do not know what the contract work would have been.
On He: clearing of jungle and sharing of anti-agathics in exchange for mining rights.
On the periphery: teaching colonists how to work poisoned soil and manage low-yield crops without heavy machinery.
On Hern Six: an unspecified temporary development project, including a pressure job.
On a small planet of a hot star: low-grade carnotite mining.
On the Proctor planet: supplying molybdenum and wolfram as byproducts of oil drilling.

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