It Is Written…

"Preposterous!" snorted Professor Esk-Dll.

We were on 900.4, the Library Planet, listening to Dr. Ptt's theory of the decline of Earth's long-extinct sentient species.

"It is mostly guesswork," Dr. Ptt conceded, "because only fragmentary records have been found so far."

"Speciecide is not unknown in the galaxy," I said.

"But not by intelligent beings deliberately destroying the most basic element of higher civilization," Esk-Dll insisted. "Creatures that irrational could not have achieved advanced science and technology in the first place."

"Nevertheless, the evidence points that way," Ptt went on. "For the time being we must accept the hypothesis that Homo sapiens never established Word Sanctuaries like this one, where all written material is held inviolable."

"It is a fascinating supposition," I said. "That once the Earthlings started neglecting one form of graphic communication, all others followed, even books. What was the first item for which they lost respect?"

"I think it was called school grades," Ptt answered