‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, by Jorge Luis Borges

I first read this when I was really young, way too young to understand that it wouldn’t be viewed by adults as part of a continuum with my other twelve-year-old reading, such as Joan Aiken and Isaac Asimov. And yet actually when I think about it, the story’s odd dark invention of an imaginary encyclopedia article that appears and disappears, an apparently unknown region of the world, hints of hidden brotherhoods, huge conspiracy and mysterious new planets, subject to the intervention of fate – those two authors are in some ways exactly where he belongs. 

First published in Argentinian journal, ‘Sur’, in 1940. First published in English, translated by James E. Irby, in the April 1961 issue of New World Writing and collected in Labyrinths, New Directions, 1961. Variously translated and collected since. Available online here

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