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Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance
Collected No
Illustrator Jason Chan
Genre(s) Science Fiction
Publication date February, 2010

"Vilcabamba" is a short story by Harry Turtledove, published at in February, 2010. It is a science fiction story, set sometime in the 22nd century, 50 years after an alien race called the Krolp had conquered and occupied much of planet Earth.


The story is told from the perspective of President of the United States and Prime Minister of Canada Harris Moffatt III, who rules a rump United States and Canada that runs along the Rocky Mountains with its capital at Grand Junction, Colorado. Moffat's father and grandfather were also presidents. After being left alone for decades, the Krolp demand access to silver deposits below the surface of northeastern Utah. Moffat, realizing that any Krolp mining operation will leave the remainder of the U.S. uninhabitable, refuses, and launches an uprising. The uprising surprises the Krolp, but is quickly crushed. Moffat is captured and he and his wife Jessica Moffatt are forced into exile in the Krolp's North American capital of St. Louis, Missouri.

Literary CommentEdit

The tile of the story is taken from Vilcabamba, Peru, the last outpost maintained by the Inca before it was completely crushed by Spain in the sixteenth century. In the story, one of Moffatt's cabinet shares this story with Moffatt, who is resigned to the fact that his rump U.S. will play that same role. Turtledove analogizes the events of his story to European colonization in several ways. The Krolp are initially greeted with peaceful overtures, which they quickly and violently refuse. The Krolp possess technology far beyond human understanding. The Krolp view humans as sub-creatures, and do their best to "Krolpize" those humans within their control. The Krolp value mineral wealth, and readily break an agreement with the U.S. to get it.

See AlsoEdit

  • "Eyewear", Turtledove's contribution to collection Golden Reflections; the research Turtledove did for that story helped inspire "Vilcabamba".

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