Item #: SCP-1986
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: As SCP-1986 is immovable and located in a heavily travelled public building, security must be maintained covertly in order to prevent the general public from becoming aware of its existence. Guards posing as library staff are to be employed. Only non-lethal measures have been approved.
Description: SCP-1986 is a cylindrical tunnel ~2m wide lined with volumes of books. Although the full extent of the tunnel is unknown, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) has established a minimum depth of 274,700km or nearly 1 light-second (expeditions have confirmed a depth of at least 4,441km). The conjecture has been advanced that the tunnel may be infinite.1
The volumes lining the tunnel often resemble known works, though with substantial alterations as to style, character, plot and subject matter. Authors are occasionally authentic ones, though often they are wholly unknown. The works range from being somewhat unusual to completely nonsensical, though nominally at least intelligible (see the section Recovered Works). All languages currently extant as well as extinct ones are represented. In no case has any volume borne any publication information. Dating techniques have established that the volumes originate from the era they would otherwise appear to, based on semantic and linguistic considerations. No discernible pattern2 has been found to the arrangement of the volumes.
The walls of the tunnel are made of ordinary limestone. Attempts at breaching them have shown that the tunnel is non-Euclidean i.e. to excavate through the floor is to emerge from the ceiling (topologically,3 it can be likened to a 3-torus). Attempts at reaching the tunnel at an angle have proven futile as the tunnel is absent unless approached from its entrance.
SCP-1986 was discovered in 1989 by a librarian4 in an unused basement of La Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina located in Buenos Aires. Foundation personnel administered class B amnesics to those who had been made aware of its existence and cordoned off the basement under the guise of performing emergency structural repairs.
The following is a list of selected works recovered from SCP-1986.
Should other noteworthy samples come to light, please contact the archivist in charge for appraisal and possible inclusion.
Title: The Gospel of Eve
Language: Aramaic, circa 1100 BCE–200 CE
Depth of recovery: 75m
Description: A section of Biblical Apocrypha purporting to be an account of Eve's life after her exile from The Garden of Eden. Eve is depicted in furious argument with herself on the nature of free will and original sin.
Title: Intangible Heresies
Author: Carina Giusti
Language: Italian, modern
Depth of recovery: 2,318m
Description: A book of prose poems reminiscent of Italo Calvino's style, though informed by magical realism. The foreword introduces the work as having won the Nobel Prize for Obstinance.
Title: The Worm of Midnight
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Language: English, modern
Depth of recovery: 433m
Description: A hitherto unknown collection of short stories. An alert researcher recognized this fictitious work as being mentioned (but not elaborated on) in "The man who collected Poe" by Robert Bloch. All the stories concern shellfish.
Title: Je suis Moi-Même la Question de mon Livre (trans: I am Myself the Matter of my Book)
Author: Pierre de Langitaire
Language: French, middle.
Depth of recovery: 171,888m
Description: Similar in style and subject matter to Essais (trans: Attempts) by Montaigne: a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics inspired by studies in the classics (especially Plutarch), as well as discursions into the autobiographical and anecdotal. Makes heavy use of the passive voice and the future perfect progressive tense (e.g. "the song will have been being sung by an Angel when the fruits of love I desire will have been being consumed by me").
Title: The Need for Legalized Abortion
Language: English, modern
Depth of recovery: 28,111m
Description: A polemic on the moral, medical, and societal costs of illegal abortion. Makes the case that abortion should be permitted through the fourth trimester.
Title: Is Itself an Exponent of the Deadpan Non-Sequitur
Author: Claudine Nemejanski
Language: ASL (American Sign Language), modern (note: represented using illustrations of a posed, wooden mannequin)
Depth of recovery: 1,001m
Description: A series of examples and counter-examples to the proposition that the proof of the Banach-Tarski paradox both relies and is independent of Zermelo's axiom of choice. Examples are read in forward order, and counter-examples backwards. Counter-examples outnumber examples two to one.
Title: Choix des Poésies Originales des Troubadours (trans: Selection of Original Poetry of the Troubadours)
Language: French, modern
Depth of recovery: 40,002m
Description: A fictitious collection of poetry consistent with the style of Rimbaud. Written completely without the letter 'u'.
Title: Jane's Fighting Ships, 2061 annual
Language: English, anachronistic
Depth of recovery: 889,484m
Description: A reference on the changing capabilities of modern navies, their ships, aircraft and weapons systems in service and under construction. Many of the vessels and weapon systems are wholly unknown. Written in limerick form.
Title: The Grasshopper Lies Heavy
Author: Hawthorne Abendsen
Language: English, modern
Depth of recovery: 77m
Description: A novel concerning an alternate world where the United States won WWII (but not in a manner consistent with our history), appearing to be written from the point of view of an author living in a world where the Nazis prevailed. A search of 20th century fiction has uncovered this to be an imaginary work central to the plot of the real novel The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.
Title: A Lapful of Severed Tongues
Author: Lisa Palladino, PhD.
Language: Braille, archaic circa 1850 CE
Depth of recovery: 44m
Description: A collection of essays on the American Suffragette movement. Interspersed with a hitherto unknown variation on the tactile-olfactory implementation commonly referred to as scratch-and-sniff.
Title: I, Lucifer
Author: Antoine Pierce
Language: English, modern
Depth of recovery: 51,200m
Description: A "pulp" novel centering around the sex lives of a circle of lesbians and their children.
Title: Treating Adult-Onset Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A Diagnostic Approach, sixteenth edition
Author: Dr. Pallas Benchko
Language: Icelandic, old circa 950 C
Depth of recovery: 3,303m
Description: Note: condition actually surveyed is Supernumerary Phantom Limb Syndrome. Composed in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter).
Title: Charm for the protection of a child
Language: Egyptian, 8th Dynasty circa 1950 BCE-1300 BCE
Depth of recovery: 2m
Description: An account of the development of religion and thought in Ancient Egypt. Much of the material remains a matter of conjecture as much of it resists translation. Includes parables comparing the well-lived life to the Ford Motor Corporation.
Title: Hagiography and the Gusto-Facial Response
Author: Declan McManus
Language: Basque, modern
Depth of recovery: 1,119m
Description: A libretto for an opera considering the plight of a group of Alaskan firemen snow-bound in their firehouse, driven mad with hunger, and forced to eat their Dalmatians. Dialogue consists entirely of rhetorical questions.
Title: Before the Flood, after the Fall (or Antediluvian, Postlapsarian)
Language: Phoenician, ancient circa 1725 BCE-1490 BCE
Depth of recovery: 4,441,113m (note: this is the most remote volume that has presently been recovered)
Description: A series of interrogations between the mythical Minotaur and Sphinx. Answers are composed of anagrams formed from the questions.
Additional List of Recovered Works, by Category (approximate):