Borges toys with the idea of a tongue-in-cheek academic conspiracy involving the creation of a non-factual encyclopedia. The fictional realms of Tlön, Uqbar and Orbis Tertius supposedly only exist within the volumes of this text, however, evidence slowly surfaces that this may not be the case. Borges raises questions about the nature of the creative act: can imagination, to some extent, manifest reality?

This peculiar unreality was further explored by writer Mark Danielewski. His recent novel House of Leaves applies Borges' idea of invented, non-existant references, and is chock full of imaginary yet convincing footnotes. Danielewski's admiration of Borges is beyond doubt, as he literally has written the blind Argentinian into his novel, much like Umberto Eco did in The Name of the Rose.