I read a short story about 25 years ago in an anthology (it might have been Hugo nominated stories or some such). The story is about a failed author who is visited by a man from the future who represents a library of forgotten authors. He needs permission from the author so that he can preserve his writing for posterity, since the man's own generation will never appreciate it. If anyone can identify for me the author and title of this story, I would really appreciate it.

  • Was he being actively censored by these people from the future?
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 21:10
  • 1
    I can't find the title - but there was a story by Philip K Dick where future scientists go back to a sci-fi writers' convention and kidnap one of the "pre-cognitives" for some reason.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 22:30
  • Richard, he wasn't being censored. The idea is that the the man from the future wants to preserve literature which will go unnoticed in its own time.
    – M. B.
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 8:58
  • HorusKol, sounds interesting. Thanks for the reference (and doesn't sound so out of the ordinary for a P. K. Dick story, which of course tend to be very out of the ordinary).
    – M. B.
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 9:02
  • I don't think it is "The Fort Moxie Branch” as suggested in existing answers. I recall reading the story the OP is asking about, there was definitely a librarian (As I recall male gender) visiting the author, not the other way as is the case in "The Fort Moxie Branch" Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


Having just read through it, it does indeed seem to be “The Fort Moxie Branch” by Jack McDevitt. It was first published in 1988 in a short story collection called Full Spectrum and was nominated for a Hugo award in 1989.

The story is told from first person view, and starts with a man, Mr Wickham, who first notices a glow in the window of a house that had been empty for 3 years while he is putting boxes of his book, Independence Square on the curb for trash collection. He later sees the back of the house ballooning outwards and forming a whole new section. He goes to investigate and finds himself in the titular Fort Moxie Branch of the John of Singletary Memorial Library along with a librarian woman (not a man). On looking around he finds book by people he's never heard of and books he's never seen by famous authors. It's then that the librarian reveals the nature of this library branch, collecting lost masterpieces, book forgotten about or underappreciated.

After the spending some time looking through the books, Mr. Wickham realizes that reason he is the only one who can see the library at all is because the librarian is there to ask him to put his book in the library because, as she puts it,

"We think it unlikely that you will be recognized in your own lifetime. We could be wrong. We were wrong about Faulkner.... But it is my honor to invite you to contribute your work to the library."

Wickham refuses to add his book to the library and leaves. Later, he moves the boxes back into his home.

I pulled one of the copies out, and put it on the shelf, between Walt Whitman and Thomas Wolfe. Where it belongs.

No time travel though.

Full Text


You may be looking for “The Fort Moxie Branch”, by Jack McDevitt. It's available from the publisher here:


  • How does it match the items in the question? Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 17:35

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