Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemFicciones by Jorge Luis Borges
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Ficciones is not the type of book that one usually finds recommended on an Objectivist forum. It doesn't have heroes who overcome injustice and persecution instead Borges plays with reality within 17 short stories. In almost all his stories he warps, morphs and transforms reality in a very intriguing and imaginative way.

In one story there is a huge conspiracy to invent a new planet and this is created in encyclopedic detail. The inhabitants have a totally different epistemology that Borges makes seem almost believable. The result of the conspiracy is that the culture of the invented planet finally overshadows that of the earth.

In another story there is a kind of lottery that takes place in Babylon, the rules of which evolve in a very bizarre fashion until finally the rules morph into reality. As explained by Wikipedia: "A further interpretation is that the Lottery and the Company that runs it are actually an allegory of God. Like God in the eyes of men, the Company that runs the Lottery acts apparently at random and through means not known by its subjects."

In his most famous story Borges describes a universe made up of a library that contains only 410 page volumes. Even though most of the books are a completely random sequence of 25 basic characters the inhabitants of the library believe that the library somewhere contains every coherent book ever written.

Borges was an Argentinean and a national treasure. His death was commemorated by a postage stamp featuring the above library story and his image.


Ficciones is more of a work of speculative fiction than science fiction or fantasy and is somewhat reminiscent of Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone", which Rand loved. The original is written in Spanish but the translation I have is superlative.

Wikipedia gives a lot of detail and analysis of the stories.
Added by Sam Erica
on 4/14/2007, 10:25am

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