The danger of inventions

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

84 responses to “The danger of inventions

  1. 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

  2. Hmmm, a librarian who hides rather than shares information? He is very daring in his own way!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.
    Kudos!

  6. 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.

  7. Lovely tale, very atmospheric, Bjorn.
    ‘scribbled latin, making sense in recipes, theological discourse and observations of dying skies’
    Wonderful.

  8. 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…

  9. 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

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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….
    well done

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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