keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 77: Brown 26
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 76: Kondor 67
Derek found the Internet.
It wasn't all there, by any means. The number of links which were dead was clear testimony that large parts of the system had failed. That was to be expected at this point. Perhaps parts had been destroyed in the disaster, but certainly other parts had failed from lack of maintenance, and in other places the network would be down due to its dependence on the power grid. But it had been built to handle minor outages, and expanded over time to carry vast amounts of electronic traffic, so the redundancies in the system had kept it alive. They were connected.
This was a giant step forward for their little school. Now there was a great deal of information available. They continued to teach reading and basic math, plus some basic history and science and Lauren's Bible classes, but now it became possible to go beyond what they knew and study from the Web.
As he began cataloguing sites which would be useful, he came upon several educational sites, home study courses from colleges, technical schools, and others. Once their students could read, they could study just about anything they wished to know.
Derek discovered that there was much he wished to know. There were courses on computers, hardware and software, and his recent success at hacking into the systems in the compound had whetted his appetite to learn more. There was more to learn. He dug into it like a starving man.
As he learned his interests expanded. To understand computer hardware, he found he needed to know more about electronics. To fully grasp electronics, he had to go back to electricity. In his studies in electricity, he was confronted with new concepts from chemistry and physics and math. So he read voraciously, learning all he could.
He was not alone in this. Dorelle also was eager to understand the "machines of the ancients", and she studied with him almost every day. She also introduced him to pages about robots, something which had apparently once been very common in this world but which he had never seen. They intrigued him immensely, and he read this material as well. Meanwhile, others in the group were exploring subjects of interest to them. Starson Coombrick took a particular interest in military history and strategy. Spire was eager to understand older, simpler technologies such as steam and gasoline power. Chicker, the most advanced reader initially, was soon delving into texts on sociology, cultural anthropology, and political science. Qualick took a turn toward philosophy and religion. Only Grarg seemed disinterested in it all. He learned to read, which he said was so he could understand his friend Chicker, and he took Lauren's basic curriculum. He took no interest in the computers or the wealth of information they found there.
One day, when snow had fallen outside and Derek was reading a page on meteorology to try to understand it, he realized that Lauren had succeeded. She had created a school, and gotten everyone there involved in learning and in teaching each other. It was exciting, in a way. They had accomplished something here.
That night at dinner, Lauren suggested that they had not done enough. "We have a wonderful school here," she said; "and you are all such excellent teachers. Now, how do we get more students?"
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #104: Novel Learning. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: