Reading Instructions: To create the illusion that something like The Librarian's Revenge could actually exist, here is how the Introduction to a published version of the book could look. Set even further in the future than C.W. Hewett's text, we could sketch the history of the 21st century, making it an exercise not only in writing. Please comment on anything that you think look strange and/or that you like. But also, and this is very important, if there is something you would want to change. Nothing is yet definitive.
The origins of this text are shrouded in mystery; almost as thick and mesmerisingly fantastic as the story it has to tell, at least if one is a librarian. 7 years ago, a manuscript was found in the recesses of a cabinet in a disused wing of what had been built as a comprehensive school in Norfolk. The room had been the school's library according to old blueprints and had since been used as shelter and storage by various groups over the years. By no means unscathed, the imposing stack of handwritten paper had not only remained hidden but also survived repeated flooding and decades of moisture; a fact which is a mystery in itself as the cabinet was in no way a safe place. Every nook of the building had presumably been thoroughly searched for anything useful immediately following the Upheaval and the area had since been inhabited and scavenged further by almost two generations of Blue Newbies before being definitively reclaimed by 'civilisation' in the early 70's. The difference between destruction and survival of the original text presented on these pages is simply the grey, plastic coated envelope: difficult to see and, almost, waterproof. Even so, that we can read the restored text at all is due to the diligent work of a team of 5 people hampered by the lack of adequate tools. For three full years, they poured over damaged sheets of the cheapest kind of paper in order to produce a proper document that could be edited into the form we provide here. A moleskine sketchbook full of notes and drawings was also recovered and proved invaluable for the understanding of the manuscript.
The title of what must be classified as a trilogy, The Librarian's Revenge was hinted at through pencilled notes on the envelope and a page where a number of brainstormed alternatives were listed. If there is any trace of bitterness behind this choice it is most relevant to the content when analysed more closely. Even if we have tried hard to turn it into something that reads perfectly well from the first page to the last, it is a challenge and the irony is straightforward; someone who loved reading books so much as to write one of his own--that is well over a thousand pages thick--and, as it happens, almost unreadable. This librarian's revenge is a double-edged sword and the joke may be at that same librarian's expense.
C.W. Hewett's production is as far as we know confined to the following volume, consisting of what was originally divided into three books: Entering the Labyrinth, The Unmasking of Truth and The Confusion Dissipates. The preface, the unedited prologue and epilogues as well as the concluding section of comments, make this a complete edition of C.W. Hewett's texts. A faithful colour reproduction of the notebook is in preparation and the marvellously curious thinking of Hewett's inquisitive mind truly comes into its own in the unrestrained format of text and drawings on blank pages.
Until now, a large amount of confusion concerning the sequence of the different chapters reigned and the debate can still flare up. We are proud to be able to present here what is, in our humble opinion, the correct order, compiled through a method of informed trial and error; the result being regarded by most experts as the definitive version.
What makes the story such a powerful piece of work is that it has been known to profoundly change its readers on numerous occasions. Many have witnessed of a humility experienced during and after the reading. The magic of Hewett's prose is that it speaks directly to the reader without concerns about age, interests or outlook. Or rather, the conceptual development from child through youth and into maturity is so intuitively structured as to feel completely natural. Captivating, the mixture between his writing and that of others offers a unique experience as the evolution of both the story and the history is deciphered by the mind.
Questions pertaining to the veracity of facts, the truth of events described and whether or not the characters populating these pages where actual people has never been confirmed nor denied as records for the area and time period have been corrupted. All the same, the suspicion that Hewett worked in the no man's land between fact and fiction is more than well grounded and should be taken into account. While by no means a true chronicle or normal biographical record of events, it is clear that The Librarian's Revenge can be used to understand the first half of the 21st century due to the subtle mingling of thoughts and reflections with straightforward and verified facts, arguably rivalling any other account of that period through the multi-lateral complexity it presents us with.
The editors would like to thank a large number of people. The list is long and heartfelt gratitude goes out to both proofreaders and scholars for their invaluable help. And naturally, whenever, wherever and whoever you were, C.W. Hewett.
We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading C.W. Hewett's magnum opus as much as we have enjoyed the journey bringing it to you.
Lee F. Ahnland and George Ina Harris
Norwich, July 2084