garden path

If you want to read something that will truly amaze you, click the above image, or click here. You’ll go to the full text of a short story called “The Garden of Forking Paths” by my favorite author, Jorge Luis Borges.

I have a hard time deciding which Borges story I love the most, but certainly this one and “The Library of Babel” are among my favorites. “The Garden of Forking Paths” is a foray into an infinite world of possibilities, knowledge and understanding, and despite being only a few pages long–you can read the whole thing in ten minutes, if you’re a fast reader–it’s almost universal in its scope. It purports to be a spy story taking place during World War I, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Scholars, critics and philosophers have been hashing over the meaning of “The Garden of Forking Paths” since Borges wrote it in 1941. Some people credit his idea of an infinite novel with infinite branching possibilities as the invention of the Choose Your Own Adventure concept. I believe the idea of hypertext (a moving and interactive, rather than a static and passive, story) existed long before that, but Borges certainly explored its possibilities in this and many of his other stories.

This is one of the most amazing pieces of fiction of the 20th century, in my opinion.