Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel

Short story by Shaenon K. Garrity
Published free by Strange Horizons
Carol and I were librarians at an infinite library where roughly 72% of books are Moby-Dick. Our library contains, within in its stacks, every edition of Moby-Dick that ever has been or will be or could be published. So does the main Library, of course, but at our branch the probability of coming across one of them is much higher.
This story was awesome. I can't really summarize it other than to say two librarians are trying to keep their infinite branch library from closing down, and mostly just exploring the concept. I suggest you read The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges before reading this, if you haven't it's one of those stories you really should read anyway, available here. Borges' story is brilliant, and this is essentially hilarious Borges fanfic. Garrity doesn't have the existential depth of Borges, but she adds more comedy, and explores her conception of the Branch Library somewhat differently. I loved it.

4.5 editions of Moby Dick out of infinitely many.

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