Recently, I’ve been on a reading kick. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but the Internet and various other unfortunate facts of life (i.e., work) ensured that, for a time, I read less than I used to. This year, I’ve read in fits and spurts – reading voraciously for a time, and then not reading for a while due to being occupied by books, school work, moving, and various other petty and quotidian concerns.
In the past week or so, since my university’s winter break started nearly two weeks ago, I’ve been devouring science fiction via my Kindle – more specifically, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Iain Banks’ novels Inversions and Look to Windward. Early this morning, after finishing Look to Windward, I began reading Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade. This is the story of an alien scouting ship landing near a medieval English village, which is promptly taken over by the local Baron after a brief skirmish. After loading his entire village aboard the alien craft and trickery by the sole surviving alien who had been taken captive, the ship’s autopilot takes the ship back to its home base. The Baron sets his sights above merely going to France and the Holy Land, and instead sets about taking on the alien empire- beams, cannon, and starships versus steel, longbowmen, and horse. This story is told by the monk who was initially tasked with learning the alien’s strange tongue, and, after some initial confusion when said alien lacks knowledge of Latin and fails to burst into flames when hearing the Paternoster (I paraphrase), eventually serves as his lord’s interpreter to the aliens. Hearing concepts familar to nearly any science fiction fan (faster-than-light travel, 20th century weaponry, and astronomy, among others) translated through a 14th century monk can be quite entertaining. Suffice it to say that metal detectors are ineffective against wooden trebuchets.
Anyway, this has given me more ideas for writing Crusader Kings II-inspired after-action reports. I’ve already begun work on a narrative that’s supposed to be similar to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and today’s idea is writing a chronicle from the viewpoint of a monk. This could prove exhaustive, now that I think about it, but I had already been thinking about slight modifications – claiming that it had been translated into more modern language, or something along those lines. Maybe a mere history would suffice without having to do extensive research on medieval monastic chronicles – “In this year the harvest was poor due to the depredations of the Norsemen, may their pagan souls be damned” and so on.