A programmer named Mahu recreated the layout of the Library of Babel, as described by Jorge Luis Borges as an infinite home for every possible book, in the virtual reality platform VRChat: "It contradicts the laws of euclidean coordinate systems, allowing you to seamlessly traverse what I call fractal space." Wagner James Au profiled its creation.
And it really is Borges' vision realized in a virtual world. Not only are the individual rooms infinite, but the books on the shelfs are readable, and also infinite.
"A goal of mine with the project to build a world where searching and finding the books felt meaningful," Mahu tells me. "That means I wanted to build not only an infinite total library but I wanted it to be completely searchable and I wanted to make it possible to reasonably travel to the books you had searched for. The books near the entrance to the library where you load in have the fewest letters per page, and as you travel deeper they fill up with everything possible to put on a page of a book."
I just visited the Library of Babel in VRChat, and the ambition of this creation is staggering. For a comparison, I have to think back to "The Crooked House" of Second Life (inspired by a Robert Heinlein story), created in 2006 by mathematician Henry Segerman. In both cases, these are literary visions that can only tangibly, interactively exist in a virtual world.
As Mahu describes it, the world is built and broken down around the player, recycled as you move around—they called their engine "Langoliers" after the universe-munching creatures from the Stephen King story: "You can just keep going until the Unity game engine breaks basically."
Previously: Modelling Borges's Library of Babel in Sketchup