Short story: “Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel”

by look i have opinions

“Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel,” by Shaenon K. Garrity

Found here in Strange Horizons, October 17, 2011;  their 2011 Readers’ Poll gave it fifth place in the Best Story category; also nominated for a BSFA Award

4,101 words

A great homage to Borges’ “Library.” You don’t really need to read that piece first, either, since the opening sums it up. I love the bittersweetness of the ending, with its suggestion that this story could only be recounted by a failed librarian, someone left behind. And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The characters are fairly flat, sketched out just enough to support the plot and philosophical musings. Their names are nicely chosen. We all know what to expect from a Bev, Carol, or Ted who works at an obscure library in suburban Ohio.

Best line ever: “As you know, we did not work at an infinite library where every other book is Stephen King’s Cujo. That library is in El Paso.”