I have obviously noticed A Canticle For Leibowitz on the book shelves since I was a teen, but even though I am hugely interested in post-apocalyptic science fiction I have never, for some reason, got around to reading it. So it is with some delight that I am currently listening to an adaption on the radio. Fiat Homo, the first part of the novel, threw up the rather humorous episode of the main protagonist toiling for years in a scriptorium as a copyist working on blueprints. As the narrative is set 600 years after a great Nuclear cataclysm and knowledge of former ways is either non-extant or patchy at best, the ‘hero’ is duplicating blueprints by pouring blue ink around the transposed text, not realising until later that he and previous copyists had wasted rather a lot of time and ink on their work as the ‘white on dark effect’ was merely the outcome from ‘an undesirable reproduction process’.
Funny to think that along with the original process for producing blueprints [ that led to the ‘negative’ white on blue look that gave the document its name] so many other ‘technology dependent’ artifacts have now also been all but lost; think Carbon Paper [blue] and Blotting Paper [pink] for instance.