North American Civilisation news

No this isn’t a contradiction in terms! Some interesting research has come out recently covering two aspects of early civilisation in North America.

Firstly it’s claimed that large mammals, woolly mammoth and others, became extinct in North America due to an exploding asteroid, rather than the usual explanation of over hunting. The extinction of large mammals is usually given as a reason by the likes of Jared Diamond and others as one of the reasons North America peoples didn’t develop a settled civilisation as quickly as Eurasia. If you read the research story this theory about an asteroid does sound plausible!

Secondly another piece of research claims that the first people to settle North America – known as the Clovis civilisation came from Europe over the Kankakee Sand Islands. Arrowheads found match exactly those found in Europe. The previous theory was that Americans came from Siberia over the Bering Strait land bridge – there are a number of genetic and cultural similarities that back up the Bering Strait theory.

It’s interesting that these two items come at the same time – the first one actually puts the second discovery into context. As well as wiping out mammoths the asteroid is also blamed for destroying the Clovis civilisation – so maybe the Clovis people did come from Europe a bit before Siberians came over the Bering Strait, but by the time they came the Clovis people weren’t around anyway. So the previous theory may still stand that North American indigenous peoples are descended from emigrants from Siberia.

Dan Simmons The Terror edition from Subterranean Press announced

I’ve heard The Terror is excellent and sounds like it’s well worth a limited Subterranean Press edition. Also in the same news story its mentioned that Dan Simmons contributed a 26,000 word novella to the new Songs of Dying Earth anthology tribute to Jack Vance. I’m looking forward to getting my copy of this even more now!

Get an advanced copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book

A nifty idea for a book promotion – suggest your own 25 word epitaph for your tombstone! Subterranean Press are running this promo for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Website for the book is here.

My epitaph is:

A man of talent and wit,
Writer of words sad yet funny.
Some said “a shame he didn’t see fit
To ever write a check to us for our money”.

Jack Vance Reader Now Available from Subterranean Press

As I went ahead and ordered the Songs of Dying Earth tribute, I’m now on Subterranean’s mailing list. They have just published another Jack Vance title – a Jack Vance Reader, which includes Emphyrio, The Domains of Koryphon and The Languages of Pao.

I haven’t read these titles, but they do sound interesting! Great cover: