Sunday, 1 June 2008

"Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" by Jorge Luis Borges

My good friend Antranig and I had a conversation on the train back from London the other day in which we discussed Borges. I mentioned his story "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", which was one of the few I didn't care for as a younger reader (I first read the story in my senior year of high school).

In fairness to Antranig, who quite enjoyed the story, and to the author, who is still one of my favourites, I decided to reread the story. However complex the material, a Borges story is typically amazingly concise (usually less than ten pages of even the smallest paperback). So, even with multiple rereadings, there's always time for a Borges story. One of the things I love about his stories is that they can be read and reread in a matter of moments and hold up to hours or even days of reflection. "Tlon" is no exception.

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who intends to read the story (see the link below), so I'll just say that this story reminds me of the concept of "kipple" as presented in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip Dick. If you haven't read either, clear your schedule and get started. Today.

The best version I've found online has a side-by-side comparison of the English translation and the original Spanish:,_Uqbar,_Orbis_Tertius.html

I won't get into the whole debate about copyright laws, but I almost get goosebumps when I find something this great that's out there online in full text for everyone to enjoy.


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