I found a library through a door in my house I’d never noticed before. In the library were not shelves of books but strings of beads, each stamped with one of 23 symbols. The strings hung limply from their racks, but when I touched them, the symbols glowed and the strings wound themselves into helices or wove themselves into sheets. Brought together, sheets and helices spun in my hands and locked into larger, more complicated structures. These structures in turn folded themselves into new shapes and joined together into the components of vast machines.
The machines were everywhere, copying the strings of beads, modifying them, carrying them out of the library into the vast, bustling city beyond.
Yes, this is an actually dream I had. Too much Neil Gaiman and molecular biology.