Thursday, July 26, 2012

What If Being A Librarian Was The Most Dangerous Job In The World?

Cover art by Oliver Wetter
That is the question on the back cover of Liz Williams' new novel, Worldsoul. The city of Worldsoul is much like Everway: it is a city located at a nexus point in the multiverse. A city where "old stories gather, where forgotten legends come to fade and die - or to flourish and rise again."

Like Everway, the great city of Worldsoul also has a Library. And their librarians appear to do something very similar to what the Acquisitions department of the Library of All Worlds does. Removal of books from libraries in other worlds that are at risk. In other worlds, the characters in this novel do what Light Scratch - head of Acquisitions and the infamous Red Scribe - calls Field Work.

Maybe it is a kinder, gentler sort of Field Work, and less preemptive.

True confession: I have only read the first two pages so far. But that is enough to hook me. In these two pages, two agents of Worldsoul's Library save the contents of the Library of Alexandria from the great fire that destroyed the Library. Not bad for the first two pages.

And it is rather "realistic" for a multiplanar fantasy. One of the characters, in the face of the approaching fire, stops to inspect a scroll:

"This is an intriguing tongue," she said. "Runic. From before the the ice, perhaps? What do you think?"

Just what a librarian or scholar would stop to do.

1 comment:

  1. I'll hunt this up on amazon. I like collecting unusual libraries. Sandman had librarians who had to do field work to recover stolen dream books. "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear" had a lot of 'field work' recovering artifacts for special collections. And of course Miskatonic University has expeditions to get books. Anyone know of other 'adventure librarians'?


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