Authors Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell have wrapped up new works of fiction, but unless there are major strides in longevity in the near future, you won't ever get to read them: They won't actually be released for another 98 years. Such is the plan of the Future Library, which Wired describes as "part working library, part conceptual art project, part investment in unborn generations of readers." Created by Scottish artist Katie Paterson in 2014, the library will ask an author to hand over a new work—unread by anyone except the author—each year until 2114. Only then will a vault at Norway's Deichman Public Library open for future readers, allowing the manuscripts to be printed on paper from 1,000 spruce trees specifically planted two years ago for that reason.
The authors can write about anything and "in a way, it's very pure," says Mitchell, author of 2004's Cloud Atlas and the second author to submit a work after Atwood in 2015. "It was a bit tough, erasing it from inside the wastepaper bin on my laptop," but "in a weird way, this work is safer than all of my other books put together. Chances are, no copies of Cloud Atlas will still be around 100 years from now," he says. Sjon, an Icelandic author who will present the third work next June, acknowledges that his language, now spoken by 330,000 people, might be gone by then, too. The project, therefore, is "a game I look forward to playing with enthusiasm and earnestness," he tells the Guardian. "This is an actual living thing, growing, waiting." (Books actually help you live longer.)