“You see it now, don’t you?” he said, his eyes burning with the light from the glowing screen, the screen that was not as bright as a moment before and would never be this bright again. “When all the screens are shut off and all the networks are disintegrated, there will be no words in the ether and all of these words will be scattered to the winds. And all that remains will be the words committed to parchment and paper with ink and carbon. Yes, fire can burn the words if you burn long enough, but not as quickly and efficiently as turning off the power. That is why we have kept the printing presses running, why we keep scratching in our journals, every strike of the pen a revolution, every turn of the press a declaration of war against you who would silence the poetry and prose of the ages.
“You can’t shut every mind away from every other mind, not as long as we have words to share across time and space. The heiroglyphics mean something. The cursive represent an era. Those who can unlock the keys of written language are time machines. This pen I hold is a life giver. When the battery is dead, the words to cure the illness will still be on the page. Why the battery has died will not matter, because the words will fight on. Oh, the tyrant may triumph for a few days or years, but the words will be found, the books will sit and wait for the tyrant to die – here, in this quiet and peaceful library.
“Yes, the words will wait, and one day a child will find them and learn to read them and discover that we are all alike, all unique, the lot of us, and our uniqueness is our strength – all alike in desiring to be someone, all unique in a way that no other of us can quite be. The words in the books show us, and the books with their fragile, fluttering pages will outlive the electrons.”
And as he held the book high, he cried, “Hello, Dickens – you look as young as the day is long. Hey, Bradbury, my father, look! I found Charles D in your hair and spilling out of your ears. Did you know when Oliver walked the streets that he was sending Spender to Mars? Have you you seen my Wildflower Man? He walked the fields with Ebeneezer.”