Thursday, November 8, 2018


A tree by any other name

"Imagine that we are standing in the three-dimensional extension of a much larger library." John waved his arm at the dingy window above the study carrel. "The dogwood out there? Choose a different set of three dimensions and you might see something that doesn't photosynthesize, maybe nothing alive. These books are mostly in English."

"And French."

"Yes, but another set of dimensions contains books not made on paper, not written in earthly languages."

"In Estonian, Basque."

"Whatever. I'm just saying you need to be careful. You haven't seen the missing persons reports that this university has had to suppress. Worse than the date rapes. No one would send their children here if they knew. It's the Library. When they renamed it, Pabodie begged them not to use his name. I never go out of sight of certain milieu-specific landmarks. Like that poster from the Betty Boop retrospective."

"OK.... See you at five at Starbucks." John walked off towards the elevator and Jimmy tossed his backpack on the desk. He had a bunch of references listed on his palmtop, and most of them were housed on this floor.

Clark's "Paradimensional manifolds," yes, here it was. Too bad the photos were all reproduced in B&W. Rumor said the originals boasted several colors that the printers still couldn't reproduce. And there was de Heinel's "Theory and practice of dimensional partitioning" (no photos), and so on.

When he returned to the carrel, arms full of books, it had gotten darker. Quite a bit darker. Shit! It must be way past five. He shoved the books into his backpack and glanced out the window. Where the dogwood had been, now stood a leafless tree whose rubbery limbs writhed indigo under a crimson sky. Jimmy rubbed his face vigorously and looked again. Something like a bunch of vermilion grapes with two pairs of membranous wings circled the tree, then shied away from a striking branch. He palmed his cameraphone and ran for the elevator. This would be awesome! No one had ever brought back pictures like this.


From The Simian Transcript

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