I have titled this week’s short story “Ergo Sum.” Yesterday, I was
thinking for most of the day that I would end up writing another novella
about Kal Anders in the altered future timeline of the Hegemony and
Equum (I’ve begun referring to this as Voyage Nova, which may or may
not stick). However, I had an interaction on social media in which an
individual made the claim that there was no such thing as subtext, and
one must only discuss “what a writer actually wrote.”
Naturally, my interlocutor wasn’t able to articulate anything like a
coherent argument for this view, and, sadly, like so many interactions
on social media, did not prove up to the task of holding a respectful
discussion. However, before it ended, I was trying to convince this
individual that all interpretations exist and need to be considered,
even if we ultimately judge them incoherent. At one point, I tried to
underscore this by saying that “texts do not exist in an epistemological
void.” Upon returning to the message history later, this phrase struck
me—what if one could read a work in an enforced “epistemological
void?” What would that be like?
Ergo, “Ero Sum” was born. It is currently 2,500 words and probably about
half complete. I will finish it up tomorrow.
At first, I thought this story would be pure fantasy, but I eventually
thought through a way to set it in my rapidly expanding world of Ytria,
which first appeared in my 2016 short story “We Were Here First.” I
recently added another short story, “One’s Own Medicine,” to the lineup.
The three stories all utilize a shared premise. Planet Ytria’s human
cultures are all roughly medieval, both socially and technologically,
and, unbeknownst to Ytria’s natives, the space faring nation that
encompasses their planet has accidentally classified it as unprotected
rather than protected. As a result, all manner of people from that
space-faring nation have been showing up, some with hostile intent,
others simply negligent.
As of “Ergo Sum,” I have described two distinct regions of Ytria, one of
which has at least six named kingdoms. Before too much longer I’m going
to need to draw a map.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve summarized my short fiction writing, so
I’ll wrap up with that.