Turtledove
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"Manuscript Tradition"  
ManuscriptTradition.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
Publisher Tor.com
Reprinted No
Collected No
Illustrator Scott Bakal
Genre(s) Science fiction
Publication date February 19, 2020

"Manuscript Tradition" is a short story by Harry Turtledove published on-line at Tor.com on February 19, 2020.

Set in the year 2219, the story follows Feyrouz Hanafusa, curator of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. As she goes about her business as curator, Hanafusa also follows the news regarding a crawler that was successfully landed on Faraday, the name given to TRAPPIST-1f. As the media publicly shares the pictures the crawler has taken with the world, Hanafusa realizes the plant life of this unexplored planet are oddly familiar. As the data from the crawler soon suggests intelligent life on Faraday, Hanafusa realizes that the images match the Voynich Manuscript, a centuries-old codex that has remained an enigma since its discovery.

She is soon confronted by Tony Loquasto, the janitor of the Beinecke, when he attempts to access the Voynich Manuscript. Officially, Loquasto's family has been tending the Beinecke for centuries. However, as the data from Faraday continues to flow, Loquasto confesses to Hanafusa that he is actually a denizen of Faraday, and his people had sent an exploratory team to Earth over eight centuries before. Loquasto explains his people are much longer lived, and that he'd been stranded when his world fell to a global conflict. He created the manuscript, but lost it, and then took a position as the Beinecke janitor to be near the manuscript when it arrived at the library. He created the fiction of the "family of janitors" to hide his longevity.

Within an hour, Earth receives images showing the base of what used to be statue, including writing identical to that found in Voynich Manuscript. Further, Earth receives an image of a woman on Farady preparing to smash the crawler with a chunk of concrete. In short order, Hanafusa receives a flood of calls from various people regarding the connection between the images and the manuscript. Concurrently, Loquasto goes missing, and his house burns to the ground.

While initially dubious, Hanafusa ultimately concludes that Loquasto was telling the truth.

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