Sunday, January 29, 2017

Matryoshka Presque: The Library Of Fakes

Last night, watching the first episode of season 2 of The Magicians, I was wondering about the fake set of Fillory books Lev Grossman created for his own books, The Magicians.  The 7 books play a major role in Grossman's stories, but also sound like they might be fun to read anyway.

That got me thinking about fake books-within-books, and other stories-within-stories, and all the fake creative works that people create for books and movies and operas and the like.  In Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig has the leader of the Empire listening to music in one scene:

The first piece he ever heard as a boy plays in his chambers now: The Cantata of Cora Vessora, an Old Republic opera of a dark witch on an unnamed world who refused to become Jedi— but neither would she join the Sith. It is a tale of birth, death, and all the glories found between those poles: love, passion, war, and above all else revenge. Revenge against the Sith who took her loved ones. Revenge against the Jedi for standing idly by and refusing to protect her because she would not join their ranks. Revenge against the galaxy for being as imperfect and impure as she had feared.

There doesn't seem to be a word for this, a word for the act of creating a fictional work within a fictional work, but it's something I've always thought was worth exploring -- as sometimes, these  minor creations seem more interesting than the thing we're reading in the first place.

So I've decided to start compiling them, and I have coined a word for them: Presques, (pres-kuh, accent on the first syllable), using the French word for almost. And I've created an imaginary library for them, like the library of congress: The Matryoshka Presque, the library of almost-real things nestled inside real things.

It is all, of course, imaginary, at least until someday when I realize my dream of retiring to a small coastal island and opening a coffee-shop and rare-book store that will also include a toy library for kids where they can borrow toys and games for a while, and part of that location -- the name for which I have already picked out and I won't say it because honestly I'm thinking I would like to do this as semiretirement in 8-11 years -- I will also have a touristy kind of thing where you can come and see displays dedicated to the greatest fake books, musicals, paintings and more, things that existed not just in someone's imagination, but in the imagination of someone's imagination.


Andrew Leon said...

That sounds pretty cool.
House has a set of books that exist within the House world.
They're even kind of important.

Briane Pagel said...

I will add them forthwith!