Columbus was a lucky devil

The great American eclipse has come and passed, and in my neck of the woods it was scarcely noticable. According to a website, we were to have achieved 88% obscurity, which sounded like “dusk” to me. The only noticable effect was a tint to the light — not necessarily even a dimming, just a tint as if part of the light was being filtered out.

This image from Wikipedia is of a bookstore doing science outreach using interest in the eclipse. We tried to do the same at the library. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use Storms from the Sun, it being checked out. That volume came to mind because in it, the author recounts the story of Columbus being accosted by the people of Hispanolia, who were tired of feeding him. He threatened to take away the sun, knowing an eclipse was expected within days, and used the eclipse to continue their support.  I say he was a lucky devil because being at the right latitude is particularly important:  although we were only 200~ miles away from totality, we experienced virtually nothing. Had the sun merely dimmed for Columbus as he did here, he would have never returned. But of course, Fortuna smiled on him in general — how else to explain his stumbling upon new continents when he had so badly misjudged the size of the Earth?

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to Columbus was a lucky devil

  1. CyberKitten says:

    If you want a rather strange alternative to the Columbus story I can really recommend 'Pastwatch – The Redemption of Christopher Columbus' by Orson Scott Card. Weird but fascinating at the same time!

  2. Stephen says:

    I think I've encountered that one before, when I was looking for “Aztec Empire” alt-fiction. There are a few pieces of that out there. Thanks for reminding me about it!(Oh, and Turtledove has been doing a “hot war” alt-fiction series for the last couple of years, which I have been utterly ignoring. Not going to happen. Not only has Turtledove exhausted my patience, I hate nuclear war scenarios. The a-bombing of Paris, Philadelphia, etc ruined the Timeline-191 series for me.)

  3. Mudpuddle says:

    97% in nw oregon… a bit of chill and duskiness, that's about all… interesting to watch and muse over, tho… the eclipse trope has been used a lot, from Twain to ?virgin in the volcano episodes…

  4. CyberKitten says:

    I think you'll like it. It's definitely one of Card's better works.Yes, I saw the Turtledove series pop onto my radar. Likewise ignoring it. Still haven't finished his alt-Confederate WW2 series. Just can't get the energy together….. Maybe after I finish all my other war stories coming up I'll try to put together some alt-history war works… [muses]

  5. Stephen says:

    I was just telling someone about Twain's Connecticut Yankee yesterday. There's another lucky rascal..

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