First off, if it wasn’t, none of us would be here to ask ourselves the question, right?
Countless generations have lived with this little or less. More interesting is this second question: would those lives outside civilised society be ‘nasty, brutish and short’?
‘No arts, no letters, no society; and which is worst of all of, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.’ Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651.
Without large scale-farming, little metal work, no modern medicine, electricity or telecommunications, can human lives take their full meaning over a sufficient span of years?
Return to the wild
Clearly, in the absence of painkillers, antibiotics, penicillin and the like, some lives would be cut short by illness or injury.
Yet other lives would be prolonged by an active lifestyle, low stress levels and a healthy natural diet. The blue zones – those areas of the world with the most centenarians, such as Sardinia or Okinawa in Japan – share the following characteristics:
- regular, life-long, physical activity
- sense of belonging to a strong family/community
- moderate calorie intake, a plant-based diet and little or no alcohol
- low stress levels
- a sense of purpose and spirituality.
That sounds a bit like the Skyriders’ lifestyle, doesn’t it? (Hint: it’s not a coincidence…)
More and more people experiment with life outside traditional society and turn to self-sufficiency, whether for financial, practical or philosophical reasons. Some eventually return to a ‘normal lifestyle’, with cars, mortgages and credit card bills, but many don’t.
Food self-sufficiency is achievable in any climate (see the Inuits and Amazonian tribes), bar ecological or weather disasters. In order to avoid food scarcity, the Skyriders have taken the unusual step to limit their population. A drastic measure, but an efficient one!
Of course, the Skyriders’ utopia goes much further than food self-sufficiency; they build by hand with local materials, they even make their own tools, pots and pans, clothings, shoes, toothpaste.
In my mind, their levels of comfort is on a par with Vikings standards. Plenty good enough to survive, which is the Clan’s only goal. Self-sufficiency for self-perpetuation.
What about those giant birds?
The Skyriders live in the 24th century, let’s assume that at some point, between the fall of our civilisations and the early days of the Clan, people got good a genetic engineering.
The question of whether a bird of that size could actually lift a grown man into the air is perhaps best left for another day! (Any ideas, leave a comment below…)
And finally, the contraceptive potion…
It has no scientific basis whatsoever, but human ingenuity is limitless, so give some genius botanists a few centuries and they might make it work!
To round things up, let’s just say I have done research into self-sufficient, hunter-gatherer societies, and the basic premise of the Skyriders stories has legs. For the rest, I’ll call it artistic licence, and you can call it suspended disbelief!