I read this short story in about 2010. A planet has been settled by people from an African society. They want to live the way their ancient ancestors long ago on Earth used to live.

The people on the planet live in a village. There is only one man in the whole village who can read and write and knows science. He is in charge of many things including communication between the planet and Earth.

This man is sad when he notices that one young girl is extremely intelligent. He is sad that with their new way of life she will never be taught to read or write. This is a shame, he thinks, but after all it is for the best.

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    I want to voice my appreciation for your questions: you keep unearthing interesting scifi that is not yet another question about Star Trek, Star Wars or Harry Potter (or "isekai"... yuck!). Reading answers to your questions has made me discover many interesting works. Thanks!
    – Andres F.
    Apr 12 at 13:29
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    I am happy you enjoy reading them @AndresF. Apr 12 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


It's by Michael Resnick, it's "For I Have Touched the Sky" the second of the Kirinyaga stories, it takes place on a satellite not a planet, but they are recreating, as best they can, the original society on Earth.

A girl tries to get him to heal a broken-winged falcon, though he warns her it won't work because it will not be content after flying. She discovers reading, he refuses to teach her, she learns it from things in his hut, and he forbids her.

Finally, she kills herself.


This is one of Mike Resnick's Kirinyaga stories, about a planetoid orbiting Earth set up to replicate the Kikuyu society. In one story For I Have Touched the Sky, a girl

discovers Koriba’s computer and the knowledge it can share. This creates conflict with the role held by women in the traditional Kikuyu society.

so that's probably the one you want.

Note: Koriba is the founder of this society, and acts as their shaman, and as the only person who can control the weather conditions inside, and communicate with the outside world (nice work, if you can get it).

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    Wow two correct answers posted almost immediately. You people are good! Apr 11 at 2:58
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    @Judith Jones: Anyone who has read any of the Kirinyaga stories will recognize their description instantly. No other notable author has attempted this theme and setting. Apr 12 at 1:26

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