So I suddenly had a brilliant idea for a retelling of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 13th century Andalus. Wait, wait, hear me out! At first I figured it was just one of those thoughts that enters one's head and should probably just be taken outside and shot, but when I actually pondered it, it started making more and more sense. I picked the 13th century sort of at random, but that was when Al-Jazari published his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, which included several quite advanced automata—even a programmable medieval drum machine! What if, I hereby postulate, he had created an entire autonomous ship? (Yes, I know it's absurd, but it's
steam clock hydropunk, of course it's going to be absurd.) And what if this ship were being sent out on with a two-man crew on a mission of exploration? And what if the Almohads had discovered a mysterious artifact in the Moroccan wastes and secretly repurposed the mission to find the truth behind it?
(I don't actually want to write this story, but I do want to write about it. Maybe I'll steal a trick from Borges, pretend the book has already been written, and write a review of it.)