|"None So Blind"|
|First Appearance||The Dragon Book|
"None So Blind" is a fantasy short story by Harry Turtledove, first published in The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Ace, 2009. The title is a reference to the Bible's Book of Jeremiah, chapter 5, verse 21, which states that "there is none so blind as those who will not see."
The plot concerns an exploratory expedition by the Empire of Mussalmi to the tropical mountains of the tropical continent. The maps of the Empire, since antiquity, had indicated "Here Be Dragons" over this territory. Part of the mandate of the expedition was to discover whether, in fact, dragons did exist.
The expedition finds many strange and dangerous animals along the way, losing a number of members in the process, but do not find anything that conforms sufficiently to the standard notion of a dragon.
The story mocks the conventions of "Darkest Africa" adventure fiction of the 19th and 20th centuries. The explorers, confident in the manifest destiny of their civilization, exhibit a condescending attitude toward their native guides and bearers. They regard these folk as "savages," to be treated as great big children at best and two-legged beasts of burden at worst. While this is a common trope in colonial-era perceptions of Africa, Turtledove holds the cliché up to a funhouse mirror by describing the "civilized men" as "swarthy" and the "savages" as "blond." This upending of racial roles seems to be a favorite of his, as he previously used it in epic form in both The War Between the Provinces and Darkness. The story's final twist suits modern "politically correct" sensitivities by proving that the "savages" have been the smarter group all along.