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1941
"The Garden of Forking Paths"

In 1941, Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges writes a short story called, in English, "The Garden of Forking Paths." Borges' work focuses on a story-within-a-story: The protagonist, Yu Tsun, meets a man who shows him a text written by Tsun's ancestor. The text, also titled "The Garden of Forking Paths," is full of seeming contradictions. In one chapter the hero is dead, in the next he is alive, and no explanation is given for the change. At the conclusion of the story Tsun makes a startling realization. The text isn't inconsistent. It is intended to express a "web of time"—a metaverse of parallel worlds that contain every possible reality. When Tsun commits murder and faces execution for his crime, he remains unconcerned, because he realizes that his crime and approaching death are only one of many parallel chronologies, which all contain different outcomes.


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