I am trying to come up with eight totally different plots, meaning no connections to ANY previous stories that I might have written. This is like my own personal challenge-within-the-challenge.
So for Plot Bunny #2 I was thinking of something futuristic. Just the other night I was conversing with some acquaintances about the sad state of dystopian or futuristic fiction. In other words, it all seems to be about whiny teenagers who change the world. But why can't we have some actually interesting stuff, with actual adults who solve mysteries and take on the corruption.
Then Kiri was telling us about a disappointing futuristic Christian novel that she read, and that got me thinking that surely it can't be impossible to write a GOOD futuristic Christian novel.
To be completely truthful, I'm not really into sci-fi or dystopian, but that might just be because I've never had any good sci-fi or dystopian to read. So why not write my own? I think that the concept is incredibly interesting, if only a really good story could be written.
And for all you dystopian lovers out there, don't get mad at me because I don't care for your favorite books. I don't get mad just because everyone doesn't like Charles Dickens. At least, most of the time I manage to stay calm.
OK, here goes.
No one knows pre-apocalyptic literature like Edgar Fladroe. Comfortable as the Headman of his section of the System University Archives, he has spent the entirety of his fifty-four years perusing and cataloging salvaged books from the time before the huge world war which was ended by the destructive explosion of Yellowstone's volcano. Although the population of the world was depleted by millions, the survivors have managed to build up small settlements in the liveable zones.
But then Edgar is assigned two new assistants--Joe Vinwell and his lovely wife Penny--and his perfect world shatters. Joe shows Edgar one old volume that he found in the apocalyptic rubble, a volume that he says has changed his life. One look at the book convinces Edgar that it's trouble.
Now Edgar, Joe, and Penny find themselves up against a clockwork system with a perfection that doesn't want to be destroyed, a leader with a shady past that doesn't want to be exposed, and an ancient book with a message that can't be ignored.
North America's Eastern Coast
All about him hung the pungent, penetrating odor of the ancient books. Modern books were few, for no one in the System had time for much writing, but Edgar loved the old books, the shabby, often burned covers, the obsolete typeface, and the crackling but still-beautiful bindings. There were hundreds, nay, thousands, of them. The System demanded that any found books must be turned over to the System Archives. Edgar, the Head Librarian of the Pre-Apocalyptic Literature Section, turned over a newly discovered book with his gloved hand.
"This one's new," he grunted to his assistant, a perky blonde named Sandy Mulnix who was eager to learn yet still somehow one of the densest girls he had ever known. Although he had never known many girls in his life. "The Blue Castle. Author is L.M. Montgomery. We have some with that author, but I don't believe this particular book has come in yet. Catalog it, Sandy."
"Right away, Headman Fladroe," said Sandy with a bright smile and a flip of her short hair. "Oh, and Headman Fladroe, there was a new man. I forgot. He's taking the displaced one's position. Sorry about that."
"I'm awfully sorry, Headman Fladroe," said Sandy, her eyes darting to the side. She was clearly ready to leave his presence. "He'll be here in about half-an-hour." She glanced at her watch. "I'm truly sorry, Headman Fladroe."
Edgar held up his hand and lifted his eyes up to the surveillance camera on the wall pointing in his direction. "Just be careful, Sandy. Remember the displaced one. I don't want to lose you . . . like that."
Sandy's eyes grew wide. "Oh, definitely not, Headman Fladroe. I will be so careful."
"Thanks, Sandy," said Edgar. He watched her as she walked towards the cataloging computer. Terrible as she was at this job, he couldn't help liking her and her ditzy ways. It would be a shame if . . . well, no matter. At least he was getting a new assistant. Only one assistant was hardly enough in this enormous library.
"And Sandy, bring that book back when you're finished with it," Edgar added. "I want to shelve it myself. We're running out of room. People keep finding more books. And if I receive any more messages, I'll be in the J-shelves. Bring them to me at once."
"Yes, Headman Fladroe," said Sandy.
"I swear, if one more truckload comes in, I'll resign." Edgar was only joking. No one could resign. The System didn't allow for resignations. They simply didn't happen.
He shuffled down the aisles of unshelved books and emerged somewhere in the H-shelves. He had been at the task of cataloging books for his whole life, but the task seemed neverending. Just when he thought that he had finished censoring, stamping, and shelving his last newly-discovered book, someone would dutifully turn in another discovered stash to the System.
Modern literature was deep, gloomy, and philosophical, and it always held the same trite message: "The System is Right." No wonder the masses weren't allowed to peruse the pre-ap books. That would be too dangerous. So many of the books contained a message of rebellion.
Then why did the System allow this library to exist? Edgar pushed the thought away. The System is Right. Always, the System is Right. Even if the System is contradictory, the System is Right.
Meanwhile, he found himself among the J-shelves. He pulled a rag from his pocket and began dusting the strip of each shelf that stuck out further than the books, silently reading the titles on the spines as he did so. He needed a book for that night. He had finished a rather dull textbook on organismal biology just the night before, and he hoped he would find a good work of fiction that he hadn't yet read.
That was his reward for never leaving. He was allowed to read the books.
Suddenly he heard the familiar bleep of the steel security doors that led to the library.
"Oh, they're here!" shrieked Sandy.
"Be quiet, Sandy," said Edgar firmly as he made his way over to the doors. "Just . . . don't talk, dearie."
The steel doors hissed open, letting in the garish fluorescent lighting of the corridor outside the library. Three uniformed System agents marched into the room.
"Ah, Headman Fladroe! A pleasure to see you again, my old friend!"
"And you, Director Genard." Edgar shook the agent's hand warmly. "I hear you have a new assistant for me."
"Two, actually," said Director Genard. He stood stiffly in his dark blue uniform with its crisp seams and allowed himself a brief look at the library. His normally stony brown eyes drank in the sight of the thousands of books. The movement was not lost on Edgar, but he was too shocked to make much of it.
"That's good," he said.
"They're a husband and wife, Joe and Penny Vinwell. I must warn you, Headman Fladroe. They are very odd people. That's why the System is putting them here, out of the way. They aren't criminals, but just the same, they are different. No one can lay a finger on it, but I thought I had better warn you before they arrive." Director Genard spoke in clipped tones that perfectly matched his uniform. He was every inch a product of the System--most of the time.
"I don't mind what they're like, Director Genard," said Edgar. "As long as they don't mind work, and don't complain too much about not being able to leave, I will be happy to work with them." That was a perfectly safe answer. Best to simply accept the System instead of trying to question it all the time.
"Very well, Headman Fladroe," said Genard. "They will be here within the hour."
He turned on his heel and left with his attendants. They doors pounded shut. No one could get in through those airlocks, from either the inside or the outside. Edgar turned and glared at Sandy.
"Two assistants? Little missy, you have some explaining to do!"
Thanks for reading and God bless,