This is the first of what I hope is a long series of “Saturday Shorts.”
As I stated yesterday, my intention is to write one short story every
Saturday, even if I don’t have any idea or inspiration for what to
write. I’ll simply write something. Experience has shown that while
most of such writing doesn’t result in anything good, that the practice
itself is beneficial, and the small chunk that does go well can
eventually be collected for publication.
This week was unusual—I actually had an idea that I’d been chewing on.
Earlier this week, Alex introduced me to the poem Pangur
Bán. It was written in the
ninth century by an Irish monk about how his cat’s hunting is similar to
his own search for knowledge.
Pangur Bán gave me a fun idea. A few hundred years in the future,
there’s an abbey somewhere in the Western Washington desert. They’ve got
a treasure trove of twentieth and twenty-first century books, but they
live in a society where literature is illegal, and the abbey is under
constant assault from scurrying and flying surveillance drones searching
out such illicit material. The abbey is protected from these invaders
by a small army of cyborg cats, who have been engineered by the monks to
neutralize the drones. Each of the cats is named after a medieval
profession—the Miller, the Farmer, the Smithy, etc. The plot centers
around two new arrivals at the abbey, visitors from Europe who become
the targets of suspicion. Are they actually from Europe, or are they
government spies collecting up evidence of the abbey’s illegal library
to take back to the authorities?
The primary theme is the search for knowledge and truth, particularly as
it relates to filtering out misinformation, wild speculation, and
I have the feeling this one is headed in a good direction. I’ve got a
strong sense of both its structure and its theme. It’s also got a
thoroughly bizarre setting (cyborg cats!), and I love when that happens.
As it happens, I don’t have a title yet. It’s merely, “2020-05-02 WIP.”
When I get ideas like this, I often have a title in mind right away, but
not this time.