I am looking for a short story that was mentioned in the episode "The Unsettling Depths of Bird Intelligence" of the Stuff to Blow your mind pod cast. I could not make out the authors name clearly enough and any searches fail to combine the subject of the story to possible authors.

A (rather poor) transcript of the mention from ~35:30 Minutes into the episode:

If, in fact, [author name, possible Jorge Luis Borges] rainbow fish story is true, [...] it has to do with the fact that everything you see in the mirror, the mirror people, mirror creatures are merely repeating our actions, and they look like us, and they go through this silly mimicry because they lost a war ages ago, and part of the truce is they have to just mime everything we do. But one day they will rebel against us, and the first thing we will see in the mirror is the brilliant rainbow fish, you know, colours that we never see in this world, that will be the sign "oops, it's about to go nuts here".



He is referring to "The Revenge of the Mirror People" by J L Borges. He has used the story as an allegory on multiple occasions, attributing it to a Chinese legend.

According to Giles, belief in the Fish is part of a larger myth that goes back to the legendary times of the Yellow Emperor. In those days the world of mirrors and the world of men were not, as they are now, cut off from each other. They were, besides, quite different; neither beings nor colors nor shapes were the same. Both kingdoms, the specular and the human, lived in harmony; you could come and go through mirrors.

One night the mirror people invaded the earth. Their power was great, but at the end of bloody warfare the magic arts of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. He repulsed the invaders, imprisoned them in their mirrors, and forced on them the task of repeating, as though in a kind of dream, all the actions of men. He stripped them of their power and of their forms and reduced them to mere slavish reflections.

Nonetheless, a day will come when the magic spell will be shaken off. The first to awaken will be the Fish. Deep in the mirror we will perceive a very faint line and the color of this line will be like no other color. Later on, other shapes will begin to stir. Little by little they will differ from us; little by little they will not imitate us. They will break through the barriers of glass or metal and this time will not be defeated. Side by side with these mirror creatures, the creatures of water will join the battle. In Yunnan they do not speak of the Fish but of the Tiger of the Mirror. Others believe that in advance of the invasion we will hear from the depths of mirrors the clatter of weapons.

  • China Miéville's novella The Tain borrows from and expands on Borges' mirror people. A good read. :)
    – Lexible
    Apr 7 '16 at 0:30

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