Editor's Second Choice
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THE PLANASTHAI

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Editor's Second Choice


Local Translator is Tired of Translating "Soccer Mom" Blogs

by reporters Fran Grent & Quintonius

The job of the Translators is essential to the mission of the Wanderers' Library. If it is to be a repository of recorded speech for the populous to engage with and learn from, then these texts must be accessible to any patron who wishes to delve into them, regardless of their linguistic tendencies. However, oft debated amongst concerned Librarians and patrons alike is the idea that not every piece of literature need be translated or even shelved. Due to the nature of the Library, as you probably already know, there are a significant amount of works that many would consider "vapid," "space fillers," or even "Bookburner fodder." Despite this, Librarians have been hesitant to rid of even a single one of these texts.

The common argument is that "the Library is functionally endless; as long as there are works to be stored, there will be space." Others also argue that the concept of "useless" is nonexistent, that every piece, no matter what it is, has a meaning to at least one creature in existence. It would thus be against the Library's philosophy to rid of these books that do, in fact, have use. A Translator, who spoke up recently about their work life, disagrees with this sentiment. This Translator, who requested to stay anonymous, spoke with us about both their experience as a Translator and their grievances with their job, interspersed by drinks from a large black bottle they brought with them.

"Look, I get it. We're the arbiter of knowledge or whatever, but we really need to get our priorities straight. Some stuff just isn't worth translating," they told us. "At any point in time, each Translator has something like forty works that need to be translated sitting on their desk. The kicker is that maybe one out of every four hundred that you have to translate is actually worth something. Do you know what I was doing before this? I was translating the blog of a soccer mom into Somalian and Betelgeusian. Who's coming into the Library to find out how Sharon, mother of two, handled the chocolate milk spill in the backseat of her SUV? [Name removed to preserve anonymity] next to me? Poor thing was in the middle of translating a spiral notebook that was just the minutes of a kindergartners' treehouse club meeting. After [they're] finished with that, [they] have to translate a cookbook that's focused on 'classical slurry-and-cytosol-based diner eats,' whatever that is. [They'd] leave if [they] could, but apparently [they] spilled some orange juice on a copy of Pinkerton & Friends a few decades back so [they're] not liable to be given a pink slip for a while," the Translator said.

"What irks me about all of this is that it's a complete and utter waste of our talents. I could be translating the next big Duke Gathers essay into some ancient, eldritch dialect! Instead I'm stuck making sure the Inuit people will be able to read how to dress their kids properly for a hot summer. It's a waste! I didn't spend some unknowable amount of time learning countless languages by force just to be stuck at a dusty desk, translating these useless texts! I was meant to be sitting at a nice table, coffee in one appendage, quill in the other, basking in the soft ambiance while I translate the manifestos of cosmic revolutionaries!" The Translator followed this tirade with a hearty chug of the unknown liquor.

"I know I didn't exactly choose this line of work, it kind of chose me, but I'll be damned if there aren't weeks where I go to my twenty-minute break feeling real unfulfilled. At the end of the day, all anyone wants is to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Is that too much to ask?" The Translator then left the table, presumably to return to their work, leaving their drink behind. According to reporter Quintonius, it smelled of ink and absinthe.


Extremist Group Pushes to Replace Ways with Highways

by reporters Yul "Krill" Brent & Swey Houler

Recently, the group known as "The Serpent's Forearm" have risen to prominence again. Described by a patron of the Library as, "the extremists for extremists," this group looks to "do what The Serpent's Hand are too afraid to do." The group boasts a strong member count of eight, all very passionate about their mission. After disappearing for thirty-eight years following a failed attempt to infiltrate the supposed basement of the Library, the group has begun a new campaign: replace the current Ways with what they refer to as "Highways."

Wishing to know more, we managed to catch Samuel Whae, the leader and founder of The Serpent's Forearm, eating lunch and asked him some questions about his proposed "Highways." Our first question was, of course, "what is a Highway?"

"Well, the way we have been handling Ways is atrocious," Samuel told us. "We had a get-together and asked other members of the Forearm to weigh in on the Way debacle. The main issue is that they're way too damn restrictive. There's no feasible way the average Joe has enough leeway in their bank account to allow them to purchase hundreds of VHS tapes of Way of the Dragon. So we sought to find a way where we could make Ways way more accessible. The best way? By creating a Way that was simple and free of some esoteric way of opening it.

"You remember all of those times where you had to wait in line to use a Way? It's always an extremely frustrating experience, and the only way to combat this is to go out of your way to some back-road Way which can become so much more of a problem if you didn't prepare anything you need for the Knock. I remember one time where I was forced to go to a Way that was over forty minutes away from my usual Way due to a traffic jam. My detour was further lengthened after I found out I needed a cup of whey to perform the Knock and had to stop at a Safeway to get some. Truly one of the most inconvenient days I've had in a good while and what inspired the concept of a Highway.

"We want to make Ways for the layman. In summary, these Highways would allow for multiple people to utilize the same Way, would always be open, and be way easier to find."

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Concept art for a Highway entrance, provided by Mr. Whae, on a napkin

The Serpent's Forearm have experienced some pushback from The Serpent's Hand for this project, it seems. While no official statement has been elicited from any high-ranking members of The Hand, members of The Forearm claim that they've been receiving "ominous" and "threatening" mail that they believe to be from The Hand. One member of The Forearm, Tusilla "Itty-Bitty" Rhossy, showed one of our reporters a decoupage, ransom-note-style letter he suspects was sent by a member of The Hand.

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Threat letter, provided by Mr. Rhossy

We asked Mr. Whae for his thoughts about these messages, specifically mentioning the aforementioned letter. "Frankly, they're absurd," was his initial response. "Bit hypocritical too, don'tcha think? I thought The Hand's mission was to open the way for the anomalous to stop being so anomalous, make the knowledge we have available to the masses, but they keep sending these threats our way anyways. I don't know why they're being this way, but I can't help but wonder if it's fear that we're upstaging them? We want the same thing they want, but they can't see past their own ego. It's a shame, really."

This comment was the last thing we were able to goad out of Mr. Whae before he waved a waitress over, paid his bill, placed a promotional flyer on the table, and made his way out of the restaurant. We weren't able to pursue him further due to the binding spell he had cast on us, keeping us tied to our chairs. We were unable to locate Mr. Whae for further questioning.

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Flyer for a rally, provided by Mr. Whae


Guidebook Written by Bookburners Sparkes Fiery Debate

by reporters Swey Houler, Maggs Rumsbody, & Ballyhoo Vek'dre

A heated debate has arisen amongst some patrons of the Library recently. What Beatty Forgot to Tell You, a book written by an anonymous member of the Global Occult Coalition, was recently added to the Library's catalogue.

The uproar began quickly once the book arrived, according to the Page initially responsible for shelving the book. "I was just goin' about my business, shelvin' books and whatnot, when a wanderer walks up to me and asks to see one a the books I had," the Page told us. "'Course I said 'sure' 'cause they're a patron and it's a book. Kinda the whole point of the Library, y'know? So, I hand them the book, had a silverish cover with some big blue star on the front, I forget what the title was, and they get to flipping through it before gettin' real angry-like and demandin' to know why I was 'lettin' something like this in.' I told 'em with as much niceness as I could, 'I'm sorry, but I ain't in charge a what comes into the Library, I just shelve what I'm told to shelve.' They didn't like that answer too much if I had to guess. They stormed off with the book, dunno where to though, but at that point it wasn't my problem anymore."

Looking to learn more, we attended a debate in the café district. Fortune smiled on us as we were able to meet the patron the Page talked about at this debate: a beetle-like man named Lurig Hoffsted. "I saw that star icon and knew it was bad business," Mr. Hoffsted told us when we asked him what initially piqued his interest about the book. "I've had my fair share of experiences with those cretins," he said. "You'd think that some petty paramilitaristic force with grassroots in Earth wouldn't be able to cause issues for creatures from another dimension, but boy have they proven that idea wrong! I remember when they kicked my door down way back in the 784th Cycle — at that point I hadn't even seen a human before — and took a solar resonance synchronizer-synthesizer I'd been working on because it was 'too dangerous to try to speak into the abyss in their language' or something like that. No idea what the were talking about honestly, all it did was record and edit the ambient sound suns make so I could sample it for my music."

We also stumbled upon a wanderer sitting alone at a table with a copy of the debated book who we asked the burning question: "what's all the fuss about?"

"Well, uh, the book's contents are pretty bad," she told us. "I mean, there's that incident in the Library with them, I think it was called the Scorching? Anyways, yeah, there's that nickname a lotta people use too, but this is a little on the nose if you ask me. But, yeah, the whole thing's a bit of a mess. Lotsa step-by-step guides on effectively destroying knowledge. It's a fascinating read," she said, flipping through the book before pointing at a chapter titled "Forbidden Tomes and You: How to Destroy Without Being Destroyed."

"I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm totally against the idea of this kind of practice, but I'm not sure why it has to be banned. Not like they're in here passing out pamphlets or whatever," she explained. At this point we were interrupted by a new speaker who was on the metaphorical soapbox, holding a copy of What Beatty Forgot to Tell You, an unknown book (presumably pulled from the stacks), matches, and a bottle of a flammable liquid.

The speaker shouted to the crowd, "this book isn't just some other text, it's a guide to the very thing we stand against!" They soon began a demonstration showing "just how effective this guidebook is," pouring the flammable liquid over the unknown book. They struck a match against the grain of a chair next to them before proclaiming, "we must not sink to their level and allow this drivel to tarnish our shelves" and dropping the match on the now soaked book.

As the book burned, two Docents arrived at the scene and subdued the speaker, leaving the charred remains of the book behind.

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