Cookie Warning

Warning: This blog may contain cookies. Just as cookies fresh out of the oven may burn your mouth, electronic cookies can harm your computer. Visit all kitchens and blogs (yes, including this one) with care.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brighton's Ice Age Hunter

Kim Stanley Robinson's 2013 novel Shaman follows young Loon for several, crucial years. After his two week test of manhood, his community declares him a man, even though our modern world would still regard him as a boy. Those weeks on his own, fending for himself, make Loon wonder if he really needs a community. After all, his parents have died, and he doesn't really like Thorn, the shaman who decided to train him as his replacement. So, while he continues his lessons with Thorn, he also pursues other activities that interest him, including hunting.

Loon and his fellow hunters never fight a wooly mammoth, but they do hunt bison and other animals that would have inhabited Brighton during the Ice Age. 

Brighton's Ice Age Animals,
courtesy of the Brighton Museum

Loon hunted during his test of manhood, but found it far more difficult to bring down the animal alone. Once he killed the animal, he needed to carry the meat away for later. So, with no one to stand guard, he works hurriedly, constantly on the lookout for other predators, such as lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!) that will be drawn by the scent of fresh blood. After hurrying to cut free as much meat as he dares, he must clean the blood off himself, disguise the scent of the meat he will carry away, and hope that these measures mean that no predators will track him down. So, while Loon finds the idea of going his own way attractive, being part of a community, and participating in a hunting party, clearly offers advantages over obtaining provisions alone.

An Atlatl at Brighton Museum
When hunting, Loon uses an atlatl, or spear-thrower, which allows a spear to be thrown faster and farther than by arm alone. Loon often personalized his possessions by carving animals and other shapes into them. And what tool did he carve with? You're right: he used a piece of stone. Isn't it amazing what we can accomplish with the most basic resources, if we put our minds to it?

Hm… I think I'd like a burger for lunch today...provided I can pay someone in my community to make it.

Dragon Dave

No comments:

Post a Comment