Burning Alexandria, by Michael J. Sullivan

Basically, the blurb says it all – a (book) hoarder in a post-apocalyptic world lives among his tons of books and realises he’ll have to burn some of them. Unfortunately, he’s not the brightest bulb (not even in a world without power!) and, thus, disaster happens.

This is a nice-ish short story without any connection to Michael’s other works. It pretty much lives from the setting (books filling a small house entirely – sans a few “paths” – lovely though in theory!), the “name-dropping” (all the big post-modern names appear) and the central dilemma of burning books.

The latter is this short story’s saving grace in my book because as Heinrich Heine, the great German poet, wrote as early as 1823 (and, thus, eerily predicting the Holocaust):

“Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.”
(“Where books are burned, in the end, people will also be burned.”)

Might be worth a read if the above sounds interesting to you but, honestly, you won’t really miss much if you skip this one. If, though, you’ve reached the point at which you secretly (cough) adore the ground Michael treadslevitates above, it’s a must-read. 😉

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