Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Foolish Samurai

I just read an unusual online story. One thing that makes it unusual is that I read it to the end. I abandon lots of fiction after a page or even a paragraph.

The Foolish Samurai breaks some rules, but it draws me and holds me anyhow, so the story is worth thinking about.

At the end of the long first paragraph I don't understand what is going on. Is the Samurai sleeping in the sewer drain and planning to break into the Evil Wizard's corporate HQ part of some kind of role playing game? It sounds too fantastical to take seriously even in the bounds of the story, and we have no real hint of the problems or fears, so it doesn't generate much suspense by itself. It generates a bit of curiousity though.

He doesn't exactly 'save the cat', perform some immediate deed of kindness to make us empathize with him. Somehow the wistful dream of eating fried chicken with his family brings us closer to him, even as little hints make the story more mysterious than ever.

I don't know if this story will be read in twenty years, if the metaphor for us and our society is profound or unique enough to stand the test of time. But it drew me in to the end today, and that's an accomplishment, even if the author doesn't realize or appreciate it.

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