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Report of the Special Committee on the Quality of Life

Others already having remarked that it is a slow news day here on Samizdata, I share the following extract by Harry Turtledove in the spirit of a sunny Friday evening. Have a good weekend.

30th November 1491
To: Their Hispanic Majesties Fernando II and Isabella
From: The Special Committee on the Quality of Life
Re: The environmental impact upon Spain of the proposed expedition of the Genoese navigator Cristóbel Colón, styled in his native Italian Cristoforo Colombo.

The commission of learned men and mariners, established by your Majesties under the chairmanship of Fr. Hernando de Talavera, during the period 1486-90 studied exhaustively the proposals set forth by the Genoese captain Colón and rejected them as being extravagant and impractical. In the present year a second commission, headed by the great cardinal, Pedro González de Mendoza, has also seen fit to decline the services of Colón. The present Special Committee on the Quality of Life finds itself in complete accord with the actions of the previous two bodies of inquiry. It is our unanimous conclusion that the rash scheme advocated by this visionary would, if adopted, do serious damage to the finances and ecology of Spain; that this damage, if permitted, would set a precedent for future, more severe, outrages of our environment; that even if successful it would unacceptably alter the life-style of the citizens of Spain; and, most important, that the proposed voyage would expose any sailors engaged thereon to unacceptable risks of permanent bodily illness and injury, and even death.

Complete text of the report appears in Departures, short stories by Harry Turtledove.

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