The Babel Remixes

The Library of Babel is real. Of course it is, because the internet. Jorge Luis Borges’ short story about a universe comprising a vast library that contains every possible 410-page book has been made real and can be searched online. This is something I am delighted to learn.

From the website:

The Library of Babel is a place for scholars to do research, for artists and writers to seek inspiration, for anyone with curiosity or a sense of humor to reflect on the weirdness of existence – in short, it’s just like any other library. If completed, it would contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters, including lower case letters, space, comma, and period. Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be – including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on. At present it contains all possible pages of 3200 characters, about 104677 books.

That’s a lot of books.

Anyway, apart from the obvious (for your definition of obvious), its relevance to Twinmaker is this: mucking around with texts is one of the key metaphors embedded and embodied in the series. There are misquotes, rearrangements, even different drafts of the books themselves. Why not entirely new versions, plucked whole from the Library of Babel?

So here are alternate drafts of Twinmaker, Crashland, and Hollowgirl (.txt files) from the infinite shelves. (There are in fact many different versions: collect the set!) As an added bonus, a draft of my next novel, Impossible Music, as well. No spoilers! Probably.

Excerpt from page one of “Twinmaker”


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