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Christopher Columbus is one of history's most recognizable figures. As a result, he has been the subject of a number of literary reviews aimed at determining his character and methodologies in his global explorations. He even got his own national holiday - Columbus Day. Pastwatch: The Salvation of Christopher Columbus is an inquiry and record of Christopher Columbus and Tagiri's lives. The book, written by Orson Scott Card, captures the concepts of time travel, western culture, and cultural transitions.
In the science fiction story, mankind is predicted to be at an advanced point in the future, allowing them to construct a time machine that will transport them to their pasts. Pastwatch provides the organization that builds the given time machines and Tagiri provides one of the lead researchers in the institution. In the process of her research, she discovers a method through which information can be sent into the past. Simultaneously, the novel digresses into the exploration of Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic and some of the factors that inspired the initiative. Essentially, together with her family, Tagiri seeks to restructure history in order to save humanity from future extinction. Her daughter, after travelling to the past, dissuades Columbus from heading west and thus preventing the conflict between the Native Americans and the European colonists. It concludes that time travel into the past provides a platform through which peaceful relations are achieved between Columbus’ voyage and the indigenous Americans.
Card’s major strength lies in his ability to create realistic and relatable characters. The author’s employ of Columbus as a character, enhances the plausibility of the novel. Similarly, within the characters one is able to see humanity’s true nature as well as their diversity. The characters can be said to be a true and succinct reflection of individuals in the society. Similarly, the novel’s narration is predicated on research. In the narration, Card refers to the verified accounts of Columbus voyages and the implications of his voyages across the Atlantic. His research gives credibility to the narration. Essentially, it provides a platform through which the reader can integrate the basics of the novel.
On the negative side, despite the significance of the themes – such as human relations, time travel and conflict – the novel fails to create a realistic image of events that may happen in the future or create an allure of reality since the narration is predicated on fictional circumstances. In my opinion, it is a failed attempt to reconstruct Columbus inspiration with regards to his voyages across the Atlantic. The introduction of Diko as a benevolent character who is solely responsible for the equally benevolent stance that is assumed by Columbus, negates the true history of Columbus’s character. Similarly, given that the novel was on human relations, it fails to adequately explore the intricacies of character relations. The romantic allure is not only lacking but also inefficient given that it is not developed adequately within the story.
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Conclusively, the novel succeeds in creating a link between human actions and the implications of the same. Given Columbus’ poor choices in the past, humanity in the past is plagued by an impending extinction. In reversing Columbus’ voyage, Diko is able to prevent the impending extinction. In my opinion, the book provides an insightful read into the relationship between the past and the future. I would definitely recommend it to my friend.
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