What’s this?

Library Grape is a group blog authored by an assortment of tetchy and opinionated ne’er-do-wells. We aim to foster intelligent debate and thoughtful inquiry, while dabbling in irreverent snark.

Writers include: Metavirus,?Lev,?Matmos,?Gherald?and?Rupert Psmith.

Okay, but what the heck is a ‘library grape’?

The concept comes from cyberpunk auteur Neal Stephenson’s epic novel Anathem. In his book, the “library grape” is described as a new species of grape that was created by a group of monks to house and propagate the genetic information of all naturally occurring grapes ever discovered.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from page 175 of Anathem:

The library grape had been sequenced by the monks of the Monastery of the Lower Vrone. Every cell carried in its nucleus the genetic sequences, not just of a single species, but of every naturally occurring species of grape that the Vrone monks had ever heard of. In addition, it carried excerpts from the genetic sequences of thousands of different berries, fruits, flowers, and herbs: just those snatches of data that, when invoked by the biochemical messaging system of the host cell, produced flavorful molecules. Each nucleus was an archive, storing codes for shaping almost every molecule nature had ever produced that left an impression on the human olfactory system.

A given vine could not express all of those genes at once—it could not be a hundred different species of grape at the same time—so it “decided” which of those genes to express—what grape to be, and what flavors to borrow—based on some impossibly murky and ambiguous data-gathering and decision-making process that the Vrone monks had hand-coded into its proteins.

No nuance of the sun, soil, weather, or wind was too subtle for the library grape to take into account. Nothing that the cultivator did, or failed to do, went undetected or failed to have consequences in the flavor of the juice. The library grape was legendary for its skill in penetrating the subterfuges of winemakers who were so arrogant as to believe they could trick it into being the same grape two seasons in a row.

This blog attempts to mimic the fantastical library grape in some fashion: by pulling together as many variegated strains of knowledge as your authors can manage to gather.? As winemakers of a sort, we try to account for the nuances of the sun, soil, weather, and winds of our age and restrain ourselves from being so arrogant as to believe we’ll be the same two seasons in a row.

So basically this is an evolving intellectual circle-jerk?

Oh, you.


Lawyers told me to do it: Each writer is responsible for their own content – and the opinions expressed in their posts do not necessarily reflect the views of this Library Grape blorg.


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