Anthony Daniels has good insights.
All posts for the day October 5th, 2009
Posted by unknowing on October 5, 2009
this came to me. I think the idea of the story is to explain why the capital of this planet is called Antichrist. For some reason most every science fiction story I begin nowadays includes people cultivating roaches as a delicacy: probably because I believe standards of taste are declining and will hit great lows in the future. I think the story is going to be called Gears of Logic.
Any guesses or suggestions–brilliant suggestions–are welcome. I have not done any checking on my attempts at Latin, and ought to eventually. A story depends on the characters and sometimes these run away with things. Lucky Al, now, is going to be hard to manage, I think. But I like the situation, so if you have any ideas to enrich or correct it, fire away.
The ship powered down automatically, lessening the eckward spin with which it had burrowed across the light years. It spun on its horizontal axis and found the trajectory toward Madagascar.
Madagascar was a beautiful planet, intelligently developed, sophisticated, organized, rich. The patrol systems had locked onto him before he’d burrowed into their solar system. Since he had all his coordinates and checks ready, he had been auto-cleared without human interaction. It could be a very efficient system.
No such efficiency on his home planet, Antiqua Novis. When the worlds had exploded, as the saying went, his ancestors had sought a place for old ways, hence Antiqua Novis, or as some called it, the New Antigua.
Nothing new about it now, very little truly efficient–although some things were. Gregory sighed and watched his minimal console. One thing they had on Antiqua Novis that Madagascar lacked was vegetables–not exotic, but what were once considered everyday vegetables. Madagascar had no surface space for growing potatoes, onions, carrots, beets or leeks. It lived mostly on fungus, fruit and fish: the three Fs, as the saying went.
I have to quit telling myself all these sayings–Gregory thought. It was a pedantic habit he had picked up in the Schola. Twenty years in the Schola–and he had been good–before, as they had explained to him, he’d lost his way. Well–but the port authority of Antichrist was contacting him.
Gregory sent a detailed list of his cargo: every potato identified, weighed, numbered. The port authority cleared him for landing. Again his ship spun on its horizontal axis, corrected its attitude and fell into the embrace of a berth in the Agrodome of Antichrist. Gregory turned on all his filters except for the one against literature.
* * *
The Duke of Hibernia Minor watched the fire. The peat smoldered and the low, blue flames flickered. Sometimes he burned eucalyptus in his fire but not today. Today the dried out bogs burned in the fireplace of his manor in high Hibernia Minor. He settled into his blanket, his legs crossed, his socks resting on a llama rug.
Nice to have the bogs–he reflected–for the peat, for the cranberries and for the special acts of preservation. Two centuries ago there had been a settlement on the highlands of Hibernia Minor. Sixty years ago, when he had arrived as Albert the Fortunate, before assuming the title of the Duke of Hibernia Minor, there had been few traces of the first settlement. Not until he had resurrected the ancient art of burning peat had the first settlers been found in the bog.
The wind picked up outside, and through the thick walls of his mud-brick manor, the duke could hear it whistling over his rolling lands: fields of potatoes, onions, carrots, the pines on the lower slopes, the great, blue lake, and of course, the long declivities full of marsh and bogs.
A good crop–he reflected–and if Gregory could get back intact from Madagascar, then a good profit. He could bring in a few more comforts–if Gregory did not find that much in books. The duke glanced through the doorway into the library. He had a biggish library, especially for a highlander. And for a highlander, or a new antiguan for that matter, a rather diverse one: one filled with extra-planetary writings outside of the consensus his planet pursued.
Albert the Fortunate he had been and still was: Lucky Al, as they might say on Madagascar: Albertus Fortunatus in the calfskin, handwritten records of the Schola Regia.
And he ought to read, but he didn’t feel like it. He felt like staring into the fire. He wondered what Gregory would bring back to read.
* * *
“Welcome to Antichrist,” the port authority agent said.
“Potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, leeks, chard, cabbage . . . cranberry cordial?”
“Wonder how it will go with roaches,” the agent said, scanning Gregory’s cargo as it wafted out of the hold.
“That’s what they’re eating nowadays. New breed, half a meter long, golden bronze, not all crunchy as you’d expect. They feed them in the fungus farms below. That’s the new thing . . . and mega-prawn–besides increasingly toxic mushrooms.”
“Any concern on the mushrooms?”
“Always. Opinion essay in the Guardpost about how half the population is reaching alarming rates of permanent toxicity, raising costs of medical liberty.”
Gregory grinned and said, “It wouldn’t be Madagascar without rising costs, would it?”
“That’s why you sell to us,” the agent replied. “Ok, clear to exchange your commodities. All clean as usual.”
Gregory went to read the prices and was pleased to see that despite the rising costs of medical liberty, the price of his commodities was up by a few muchos; the duke would be pleased. Now to check the publications.
* * *
Grild looked at his face in the mirror. Expressionless. The anti-aging toxins made it hard for him to move his muscles: he would be without those facial expressions for another four months when it would be time for the treatment again. And he’d binged on some really wild mushrooms. It had felt good last night. He’d written a poem about it.
He looked at his face again and twitched his eyebrows: it worked. Well, as long as some expression was left, he’d save money up for a cure and go see the doctor . . . in a few years. They’d probably outlaw the strong mushrooms by then.
It occurred to Grild that perhaps he could write a book that would make a new liberty and he’d receive the CheGue award–or at least the PiKD award. Then he’d have money for the doctor. Should he reserve the title “Roach Infested Dreams” for his next volume of poetry or for his first novel?
He turned away and thought about food. No food. He’d have to go out . . . but, maybe he should cook fresh after those mushrooms. Some potatoes would be good, some onions, maybe some of that mild, chicken sausage. He was sick of fruit: no fruit today. Probably ought to have a gallon of soygurt–he concluded.
He whipped on clothes and stepped into the elevator. “Co-op,” he told it.
He wandered among the fresh vegetables. There were the perfectly shaped ones cultivated in the fungus caverns of Madagascar, but he knew the taste was inferior. He sought the uneven, lumpy tubers of the Old School. Product of Antiqua Nova–the sign said, and the bin was low.
Posted by unknowing on October 5, 2009