I'm looking for a short story about a monastery where people use data analysis to improve their lives, and go out into the world to investigate "anomalies".

The story was set in the future, but not the far future. I think it was in an anthology, and I read it a few years ago.

It centered on one man, as he left the monastery on some sort of pilgrimage to investigate an anomaly or something to that effect.

These people collected data on all sorts of seemingly random things, like how long they looked at pages, what paths they took to get lunch, etc, etc.

I've been looking for ages now and cannot find it anywhere!

I suspect it's too cool of an idea for me to be imagining it, so please help me find it!

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


"The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away" by Cory Doctorow

From this review:

A data mining monk gets into some Orwellian trouble when he needs to leave the monastery to chase down an Anomaly in the data.

Third set of search terms found it, science fiction short story monastery "data mining"

  • 2
    Yup, I just still have to wait seven minutes apparently. Thank you so much. Seriously that was fast. Dec 13, 2016 at 23:35
  • Third set of search terms found it, science fiction short story monastery "data mining"
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 13, 2016 at 23:36
  • Okay thanks for the tip! I had tried the same, only scifi rather than science fiction, and no quotes on data mining which I think is what really didn't help. EDIT: Well, I don't know how you did it. It doesn't even show up with those terms for me, which is concerning. I also tested DuckDuckGo.com. Thanks again though Dec 13, 2016 at 23:39
  • @AndrewBrereton: It's about four down for me, and is the review I posted the summary from.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 14, 2016 at 2:46

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