Recessed inside his library a set of notebooks rests. They are neither quite forgotten nor properly read. The author is Godefridus Messala, once librarian before the fires of the second library.
The aged librarian diligently tries to interpret scribbled latin, making sense in recipes, theological discourse and observations of dying skies when a drawing hits the floor.
It depicts machinery, cogs and wheels with springs and pendulums. He polishes his pince-nez to read the miniscule scrawls:
“Mea Perpetuum Mobile”
He imagines marching boots of war and hides the blueprints carefully. Humanity is not prepared yet for supplies of endless energy.
The wheels made me think of a perpetuum mobile, as a physicist I’m well aware that such a machine cannot exist as it violates the laws of Thermodynamics, yet I could not avoid thinking of the implication of such an invention. For those of you who follow my poetry I have created a persona called the aged librarian who I have thought might be fashioned into some kind of book of poetry and prose sometimes in the future. Check it out in the menu of my blog if you are interested.
Friday Fictioneers is a library of short fiction too, and our not yet aged librarian Rochelle sets the system by giving us a prompt and write the example.
December 27, 2017
I like your aged librarian
Thank you… I have grown fond of the old man myself.
The energy theme keeps coming round… I wonder why? Nice, medieval, tone to this story, Bjorn.
I have been reading Borges lately so that might have set the tone.
Mysterious and exciting! Aged librarian is a wonderful thinking!
Thank you.. .I think the librarian is the one to trust.
I like your alter ego….he is perhaps ahead of the times, a rare breed.
I think he is all times… future, past and present.
There are quite some inventions humanity was not prepared for I think. Some of those would have been better kept hidden in a book forever. I really like your aged librarian alter ego
I think that comes close to the remorse that some scientists had after contributing the the atomic bomb. There’s an element of Pandora’s box in some inventions.
Hmmm, a librarian who hides rather than shares information? He is very daring in his own way!
Sometimes keeping silent is the bravest thing to do
A wise man and a wise move. I’m sure we would find a way to weaponize it for a start.
I’m sure about that… will we ever be ready?
I enjoyed where the prompt took you. As writers it’s wonderful that we can go with “what if’s.” Nicely done.
Thank you… Lately I have been diving into filling out my character. I still have to see how to stitch it to a book.
I was quickly drawn in, and wished there were more to the story. Good writing.
I hope to shape the librarian to a full book in 2018
Awesome! Best wishes for your success 🙂
He sounds like the typical scholar all through the ages, off in his study trying to make sense of old scribblings and directions.
Yes that’s my intention… I have borrowed from many scholars and several books….
I like the aged librarian’s personality and that he is a seeker of knowledge. Perhaps, he was ambitious but Life led him to where he is? Wonderfully written, Bjorn.
I think he is an amalgamation of both hope and despair… like many of us.
A wise man!
When I saw the picture the first thing I thought of was a perpetual motion machine. As a fellow physicist I am also aware that it could not exist!
It takes a physicist to see a perpetuum mobile, just like a priest would see the devil everywhere
Made me think of Umberto Eco. I don’t understand physics at all, but isn’t Foucault’s Pendulum something like that?
Interesting… I actually wrote it inspired by Jorge Louis Borges, but he was also the inspiration of Eco… so that makes a lot of sense. Foucault’s pendulum does not move by itself, but it actually shows the rotation of the earth by changing the direction in which it sways.
Thanks for the clarification. I never understood that part of the story…
I loved your aged librarian. You describe him so economically; you place him in such a detailed setting; and then you astonish us by his daring action in hiding the blueprints rather than making them public.
I think the mixture of details and terse writing fits so well to writing Flash. I’m currently reading Borges, and he must be one of the original Flash fiction writers.
I love the contrast of the quiet librarian with the notebooks and the image of ‘marching boots of war’. The fortune of the world rests in his hands. Beautifully done.
I think there is always somewhere a librarian or a caretaker who knows it but cannot say it.
Suitably mysterious, smells like a conspiracy theory. I like it.
Ha.. yes it might be so… as written above it might be Foucault’s pendulum somewhere.
I love the line ‘They are neither quite forgotten nor properly read.’ Very good story, Bjorn.
The world is full of those contradictions…
Lovely tale, very atmospheric, Bjorn.
‘scribbled latin, making sense in recipes, theological discourse and observations of dying skies’
A scholar’s life summarized.
I don’t care if the reality is impossible – I loved your story. 🙂
I’m going to resume writing stories with FF in the New Year.
Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos
I look forward to that… happy new year.
Really enjoyed that little ditty… such a machine…hmmm, if only there were a way…
If such a machine exists… we would annihilate each other…
Yep, and the way we’re going we might just do that anyway.
He did well to hide it.
I think so too.
This was truly a wonderful read, Björn. I love this character indeed. The quiet ones in the background, ensuring history (of sorts) is not lost nor taken away…
Ensuring history… yes, that’s exactly one of the reasons I have created him… I think I have made him into a mythical creature almost.
To quote Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Thank goodness for the Aged Librarian
Indeed… so often scientist have asked that question only after the fact.
I love this. ‘Nuf said. Well done.
Thank you… I hope to give you more glimpses from the library during the year.
the keeper of secrets knows that knowledge is a double-edge sword. the recipient must be ready to handle it accordingly.
Indeed… maybe we need librarians as sentinels
Good story Bjorn. I love the idea of the aged librarian, he has experience and archives at his disposal to explore every concept and idea.
Yes.. this librarian can work his way into every part of our world, past present and future.
I must admit to being sexist. Before I read your comments, I imagined the aged librarian as an old woman. Wrong! I enjoyed your well-written story–so many great words in your creative interpretation. I perused your blog as much as time would allow before work this morning (I, too, love haiku and have a haiku blog) and look forward to reading more about your aged librarian and other topics. Happy New Year!
I have heard that mentioned, and maybe I’m just being sexist too… but as a matter of fact my librarian is created by reading Borges, and by pure coincidence I read that Umberto Eco also created a librarian inspired by him…
Cracking story I think – I felt gripped by the storyline and the conciseness of it.
Thank you… somehow the persona of this librarian helps me to be concise…
I can imagine the librarian in my mind’s eye, making the decision to protect humanity in a split second. What mankind misses out on or cannot have because they do not know how to use it. Very interesting story and character.
I wonder if this has happened before… we might need protection from ourselves actually.
I am inclined to think so … for sure! =)
ahhhh – your librarian character sounds really interesting.
and in this piece – I was reminded of the electric car getting squashed years ago (not the same thing – but that was where my mind went)
anyhow, I also thought it was a she and not a he….
Ha.. we are so used to librarians being female… my librarian is more myself in some ways… so he has to be male.
ahhh – very cool
It’s always a pleasure to read about you librarian – poetry or prose.
Thank you.. . he seems to be entering my mind from time to time…
Innovative and exciting. The aged librarian is certainly evolving. Greatly enjoyed this, Bjorn, and HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Thank you and a happy new year back
The aged librarian sounds like a fascinating character. Supplies of endless energy… so much potential to improve lives, but also to make them much worse. Great take on the prompt.
He is fascinating, maybe he is part me, and part every book I ever read…. I see him as a both guardian and threat… a puppet master of sort.
A fascinating story, Bjorn. I enjoyed reading the comments to. You certainly inspired a lot of thought in the readers. Sadly, a lot of great inventions get used for evil purposes. Your aged librarian is very wise.
I used to believe in technology for good, but I’m growing more and more disillusioned
Certainly a different take!!!
Love to be different.
I, certainly, understand that!!!!
I love where this took you!
There are always new trees to climb.
Endless possibilities to explore with this character. Loved it.
I think so too… he has many dimensions (and some of them are me)
Thanks for the thorough explanation, Bjorn. The aged librarian is correct. We’re not prepared for that machine. He sounds like a great character. Good writing as always. 🙂 — Suzanne
Such a very wise librarian…