Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
by Orson Scott Card
A mind-stretching tale of time travel, human nature, and the possibility and peril of revising history.
Appropriate for adults
This was a good one!!! I'm a big OSC fan and this novel was another winner. I didn't find myself deeply investing in any of the characters (there's no "Ender" in this cast) but the story line is fascinating and the worlds Card creates feel so real that the edges of my mind start to believe in their possibility.
The novel alternates between two story lines which eventually merge. One of our world far in the future where the ability to view and study the past is stretched until actual interference seems possible and maybe even desirable. And the other is the life of Christopher Columbus, his character richly developed and seasoned with a twist both captivating and compelling. Card makes us look at history, at responsibility, at ourselves with unaffected vision. He has the artist's gift of making us look long enough that new understanding can sneak through our old prejudices.
"Why make your lives into a a perpetual museum of an era when life was nasty, brutish, and short? Kemal loved the past as much as any man or woman now alive, but he had no desire to live in it...The citizens of Juba of two hundred years before ahd got rid of the grass huts...as quickly as they could. They knew. The people who had had to live in grass huts had no regrets about teaving them behind."
"He had come expecting to find a group of people committed to a course of madness. What he found instead was a a commitment, yes, but no course, and therefore no madness."
"And one more thing, Cristobal," said Father Perez. "You are good with women."
Columbus raised an eyebrow. This was not the sort of thing he expected to hear from a Franciscan prior.
“She will look at you as women look at men, and she will judge you as a woman judge men...not on the strength of their arguments, and not in their cleverness or prowess in battle, but rather on the force of their character, the intensity of their passion, their strength of soul, their compassion, and--ah, this above all--their conversation.”
“There is no good thing that does not cost a dear price. That is what Cristoforo learned by looking back upon his life. Happiness is not a life without pain, but rather a life in which the pain is traded for a worthy price.”