Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Lexington they're going to burn
The Library of Congress for charity

We apologise for the inactivity at Riddled. Another Kiwi and I have been busy all week, manning the security checkpoints and devising ever more bodily-intrusive forms of scrutiny for visitors to the Research Library. All in response to a request from the library pixies, who asked our assistance in keeping out the book-smugglers, on a totally voluntary basis, no pressure, no implied threats if we didn't help.
Delegation of pixies
First we said no... and the next thing I knew, there was a colony of tribbles infesting the top of my hat. While AK was afflicted with a curse whereby all the relevant-to-his-interests back-issues of Miss Busty books he requisitioned from the Archives arrived on his desk with the pages in the wrong order -- starting at the end and counting down -- while the words themselves on the pages were all upside-down. So we changed our minds and agreed to help.

Resourceful book accessionists attempting to
gain library access using (left) belts and
a trained snake; (right) salami and skewers

Why are people so determined to smuggle books into the Library, anyway, and conceal them among the shelves? It is a mystery. Perhaps some books are too dangerous for the original owners, or too expensive to maintain. Some books are sensitive and require a temperature-controlled environment, less than 451°F.
Pixies evict unwanted book
At any rate, the Library pixies will not be having with this, for there is only so much concealment to go around, and every unauthorised book lost forever in the shelvage in the manner of Aleph a leaf in a forest is a hindrance to their own authorised misplacing of volumes and hypervolumes by way of Alexandrian Indexing -- this being the classification system they prefer. There is an index to the Alexandrian system, by the way, which no-one has been able to find ever since it was duly shelved according to its own classificatory code.

Many of these renegade acts of accession are copycat crimes. The perpetrators, when apprehended and questioned, claim to have been inspired by a precedent:
From the description of the Book of Sand --
The number of pages in this book is no more or less than infinite. None is the first page, none the last. I don't know why they're numbered in this arbitrary way. Perhaps to suggest that the terms of an infinite series admit any number.
-- it appears to be a malfunctioning Kindle or such as. But I digress.

Then there are the Encyclopaedia-of-Tlön salesmen... convinced that once Vol. XI (Hlaer to Jangr) is placed within a collection, the others will inevitably follow.

It turns out that automatic killer-robot defenses against book-concealing visitors are easily fooled by the "Living Mist" weapon, i.e. millions of fast-multiplying micro-organisms:

In related news, here is a story which culminates in the smuggling of a book of poems by J. L. Borges into the Argentine National Library: not identical to the specific copy of that edition of poems catalogued in the library's collection, but a replacement for that copy.

The second paragraph of the story is a demonstration that the life of antiquarian book-dealers is always intense:
A few months ago, Casares was offered a seventeenth-century original edition of Don Quixote for one million euros. He recognized it as a well-known forgery from the nineteenth century, worth no more than €200,000. The seller took it away, determined to find a more unsuspecting client, and Casares was left alone with the melancholy of having lost something that was never his to own. 
Sadly, the essayist cannot bring himself to identify Pierre Menard as the author of that forged edition.

Right: A view of the Library

Left: Not renegade accessionists at all, but Another Kiwi trying to climb to the roof for a better view of the firework display. HA HA he has been fooled by the trick ladder


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

A.K. has a jaunty mustache.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

I suspect the motivation of the smugglers is to introduce a corrupted edition of the Book of Sand with one letter altered on the first page, one on the next page, u.s.w. to go all transfinite on the indexing scheme and take the piss on the library pixies. A call to Thursday Next may be in order.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Speaking of jaunty mustaches...

OBS said...

A.K. seems to have an extremely flexible set of hip joints, or perhaps lacks a pelvis entirely. Or maybe he just exists in his own false perspective reality?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

You didn't know about his stint as "The Antipodean Elvis"?

El Manquécito said...

These are not the sexy librarians I was promised.