Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 5 May 2013 (Vampires in the library II: of dime novels and infinity)

I am reading Cantor’s paper on the transfinite numbers, with the famed diagonal argument — reminiscent of my youth, because I first read that argument in Latin, either in my living youth or at a time when the memory of life was near enough to be almost the same thing.

Terence is reading a lurid dime novel, from the popular culture collection of the university stacks.

Something with pirates, or cowboys, or princes in exile with hidden troves of rubies and tiger-skins in a mansion on Park Avenue: the sort of thing that Jay Gatsby would have read in his boyhood. (Yes, by way of curiosity, I do read tales in the modern manner, but I like my romanticism tempered with a bit of realism. Monsieur Fitzgerald is quite right; that story never ends well.)

The ephemeral trash of the storytellers of printing-press and pulp paper is now burning away in its own acid, and the library keeps it in treasure-boxes like Crusaders’ spoils of war.

There are advantages to seeing in the dark. The custodians of the library would not let us in by daylight, nor would we care to go.

***

Excerpt from my work-in-progress in response to the Vampire Variations challenge. Weekend Writing Warriors offers eight-sentence excerpts from a variety of writers; see the other excerpts here.

Notes: Cantor’s diagonal argument is one of the foundations of the theory of transfinite numbers. The original argument dates from the Middle Ages and was updated by divinity-student-turned-mathematician Georg Cantor to late nineteenth century mathematical notion (and duly footnoted).

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12 Responses to Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 5 May 2013 (Vampires in the library II: of dime novels and infinity)

  1. Sue says:

    Love vamps who read pulp fiction lol

  2. daezarkian says:

    I love it. “nd the library keeps it in treasure-boxes like Crusaders’ spoils of war.” That is a fantastic line. =D

  3. Debbie says:

    Vampires who read. Love it; especially this line:
    “The ephemeral trash of the storytellers of printing-press and pulp paper is now burning away in its own acid”.

  4. Monica Enderle Pierce says:

    I think I like Terence; he understands the intrinsic value of pulp.

    • epbeaumont says:

      For all of you who loved the lines about the slow conflagration of pulp literature, Your Humble Author once considered a career as a library conservator. University libraries are especially interesting places.

  5. That’s a new slant on vampires.

  6. I LIKE it. Never read anything quite like it, which makes the snippet a fun discovery! Why wouldn’t vampires read the old books in the libraries – GREAT!

    • Sue says:

      The newer vampires as in Discovery of Witches do read and work in libraries and collect extensive ones of their own 😀

  7. historysleuth1 says:

    Intriguing snippet and very well written. Clever idea with vampires loving the haunts of old library stacks.

    History Sleuth’s Writing mysteries

  8. India says:

    Holy Crap! Seriously. Holy Crap, that is good! If you asked me to pick one thing that struck me, I’d have to say the whole thing. Makes me want to close my laptop and give into mediocrity. Is this currently published?

    • epbeaumont says:

      This story is a true work-in-progress (I celebrated Sunday by writing a bit more of it today.) It doesn’t even have a title yet, but I expect to be finishing it some time in the next few weeks, and will add it to the Published Works tab as soon as it’s available for purchase.

      Thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed it!

  9. Kayci Morgan says:

    Excellent snippet. Your character has a strong voice.

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