Pastwatch and The Fictional World of Archives

Original Novel Title: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: New York, NY: TOR, February 1996 (hardcover); TOR, February 1997 (paperback)

Although operating from the flawed premise that changing the past does not affect the future, Card's masterful novel is a convincing blend of real and imagined history. The good people of the future, having invented time travel and an observational device, put both to use to correct the "error" of Columbus' landfall and Spain's subsequent conquest of the New World.

At the end of the novel an archaeologist of 1955 uncovers a most unusual find at Columbus' first landing site: a human skull bearing a metal plate that consists of four leaves covered with minute writing. Using information in this first record, a second archive is located and then a further two. These records in turn lead to further archaeological discoveries that convince all of the authenticity of the initial finds.

CONTENTS: The Fictional World of Archives

Submitted by David Mattison, 1997.11.26. Updated 1997.11.26.