Key 23 and the Nth Degree, part III: Your words in the real world

This is the third part of a blog series giving a personal take on librarianship, archives, and the powers of words. Start here for the first post in the series.

Key 23 is something I only discovered because, working in Auckland for six months, I am using a public library like a regular reader for once – borrowing books simply because they interest or excite me.

A lot of the books I’m borrowing are comics – I love the economy of storytelling and really believe, as I was telling the State Library of New South Wales last year, that this medium might hold the future of space, word, and image. Among the comics I’ve been reading is Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, which chronicles the adventures of a secret society battling extradimensional forces in the run up to the year 2000.

In The Invisibles, there’s a drug called Key 23 which makes the user experience whatever they read as real. It’s a lovely conceit, which Morrison also flips by adding the notion of a ‘fiction suit’ which (I may have got this wrong…) allows characters to travel through the world of discourse.

Panel from Grant Morrison, The Invisibles
Dream, reality, self and other are breaking down in Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles

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