May 28th, 2006


The Library of Booble

I sense from the replies to the Stacton inquiry and others that I have many of the sainted tribe of librarians among my friends & readers.  In their honor a story I am not going to write can be retailed here (Kurt Vonnegut and his Kilgore Trout made clear one of the central facts about SF:  that the idea is almost always better than than the story in which it's encased):  The story is called Spring Break.  In the future, all learning and class-taking is of course done on-line; you get admitted to Harvard or Yale and that only means you get a PIN allowing you to access lectures, take tests, submit papers online, and enter chatrooms once a month with the professor or his eidolon (animated userpic of bearded tweedy gent).  But in spring you get to participate in Spring Break, which means you get to actually go and reside on a college campus, get a dorm room and a roommate, are issued 1 sixpack beer, 1 billed cap with college logo, 1 name of male or female hookup possibility, and choice of bong or crappy electric guitar.  Then you have crazy fun like in the old days, right there on an authentic campus of yore.  One student (my central character) participates in this  ritual, and while roaming the ivied  quads half-lit, wanders out of curiosity into a close, and finds a door ajar, and comes into -- the library, locked for years.  Wanders in wonderment amid the floors and floors of books. Had no idea so many had been put between covers.  Then he hears noises, fears pursuit -- oh you know the gimmickry -- and discovers the last living librarian, still haunting the place, living on takeout (or take in) and her by now nearly forgotten pension --and she... well I don't know exactly what then, "some sort of denouement occurs" as a reviewer of one of my books declared -- something is learned, or not; the value or uselessness of books asserted.  Anyone interested in completing this with something poignant or caustic is welcome to it.