Apr 9: The Old New Atlantis

Pre-space science fiction today in Bacon's New Atlantis -- the beginning of it, of course, because if the Daily Reading Guide isn't the Handbook for Dilettantes I don't know what is. The strange people and their customs are in space, in a way -- the wide open, uncharted desert isles of the South Seas.

I don't read science fiction, which I admit is more a judgement on me than it, but one of the advantages of setting your alternative world on Earth is that your people don't have to have invented Klingon-like ridges on their skulls, or anything. They can even be Christian:

At which answer the said person lifted up his right hand towards Heaven, and drew it softly to his mouth (which is the gesture they use, when they thank God;) and then said: “If ye will swear (all of you) by the merits of the Saviour, that ye are no pirates, nor have shed blood, lawfully, nor unlawfully within forty days past, you may have licence to come on land.” We said, “We were all ready to take that oath.”
They're just a little different with the gestures, but otherwise they're just like us! Only, I also note, more credulous: Wouldn't a pirate also swear that he is not a pirate? (They've got a lot of sick people on board and have run out of food, though, so maybe they think that even if they are pirates they're not very formidable.) I was amused at the end of this paragraph, too:
So he left us; and when we offered him some pistolets, he smiling said, “He must not be twice paid for one labour:” meaning (as I take it) that he had salary sufficient of the State for his service. For (as I after learned) they call an officer that taketh rewards, twice paid.
I don't think there's enough works of science fiction that really get at reform of the Civil Service.

UPDATE: Title added -- I write them last, as you may have guessed (thanks, dad!)