October 14, 2015

Awaking in New York

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 11:06 am

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.

Maya Angelo, Awaking in New York

July 27, 2015

The Year of The Flood

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 3:22 pm

There was a close-up of her dead face, looking more gentle and peaceful than I’d ever seen her look in life. Maybe that was the real Bernice, I thought — kind and innocent. Maybe she was truly like that inside, and all the fighting we used to do and all her sharp and unpleasant edges — that was her way of struggling to get out of the hard skin she’d grown all over herself like a beetle shell. But no matter how she hit out and raged, she’d been stuck in there. That thought made me feel so sorry for her that I cried.

Margaret Atwood, The Year of The Flood

June 18, 2015


Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 2:18 pm

For all its beauty, honesty, and effectiveness at improving the human condition, science demands a terrible price—that we accept what experiments tell us about the universe, whether we like it or not. It’s about consensus and teamwork and respectful critical argument, working with, and through, natural law. It requires that we utter, frequently, those hateful words—“I might be wrong.” On the other hand, magic is what happens when we convince ourselves something is, even when it isn’t. Subjective Truth, winning over mere objective fact. The will, triumphing over all else. No wonder, even after the cornucopia of wealth and knowledge engendered by science, magic remains more popular, more embedded in the human heart.

David Brin, Existence

December 8, 2014


Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 2:03 pm

She has no real idea of Outside. She has never watched television, never stood in a bread line, never seen a crack den or a slasher movie. She cannot define napalm, or political torture, or neutron bomb, or gang rape. To her, Mamie, with her confused and self-justifying fear, represents the height of cruelty and betrayal; Peter, with his shambling embarrassed lewdness, the epitome of danger; the theft of a chicken, the last word in criminality. She has never heard of Auschwitz, Cawnpore, the Inquisition, gladiatorial games, Nat Turner, Pol Pot, Stalingrad, Ted Bundy, Hiroshima, My Lai, Wounded Knee, Babi Yar, Bloody Sunday, Dresden or Dachau. Raised with a kind of mental inertia, she knows nothing of the savage inertia of destruction, that once set in motion in a civilization is as hard to stop as a disease.

Nancy Kress, Inertia

November 13, 2014

Bridge of Birds

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:24 am

“Error can point the way to truth, while empty-headedness can only lead to more empty-headedness or to a career in politics.”

Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds

October 23, 2014

Une Saison en Enfer

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:27 am

Je reviendrai, avec des membres de fer, la peau sombre, l’oeil furieux : sur mon masque, on me jugera d’une race forte. J’aurai de l’or : je serai oisif et brutal. Les femmes soignent ces féroces infirmes retour des pays chauds. Je serai mêlé aux affaires politiques. Sauvé.

Maintenant je suis maudit, j’ai horreur de la patrie. Le meilleur, c’est un sommeil bien ivre, sur la grève.

Arthur Rimbaud, Une Saison en Enfer

April 4, 2014

Oryx and Crake

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:10 am

“Jimmy, look at it realistically. You can’t couple a minimum access to food with an expanding population indefinitely.Homo sapiens doesn’t seem able to cut himself off at the supply end. He’s one of the few species that doesn’t limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words – and up to a point, of course – the less we eat, the more we fuck.”

“How do you account for that?” said Jimmy.

“Imagination,” said Crake. “Men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere thought of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or rabbit doesn’t behave like that. Take birds – in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t mate at all. They put their energy into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live on forever.”

“As a species, we’re doomed by hope then?”

“You could call it hope. That, or desperation.”

“But we’re doomed without hope, as well,” said Jimmy.

“Only as individuals,” said Crake cheerfully.

“Well, it sucks.”

“Jimmy, grow up.”

Crake wasn’t the first person who’d ever said that to Jimmy.

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

December 10, 2013

More Than Human

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 1:56 pm

So it was that Lone came to know himself; and like the handful of people who have done so before him he found, at this pinnacle, the rugged foot of a mountain.

Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human

September 16, 2013

Another Cyteen

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:35 am

Brains and sex fight each other to control your life, and thank God brains get a head start before sex comes along.

CJ Cherryh, Cyteen

September 10, 2013

Earth Abides

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 11:53 am

When once they stalked the deer, or crouched shivering in the mud for the flight of ducks to alight, or risked their lives on the crags after goats, or closed in with shouts upon a wild boar at bay –that was not work, though often the breath came hard, and the limbs were heavy. When the women bore and nursed children, or wandered in the woods for berries and mushrooms, or tended the fire at the entrance to the rock shelter – that was not work either. So also, when they sang and danced and made love, that was not play. By the singing and dancing the spirits of forest and water might be placated – a serious matter, though still one might enjoy the song and the dance. And as for the making of love, by that – and by the favour of the gods – the tribe was maintained.
So in the first years work and play mingled always, and there were not even the words for one against the other… But centuries flowed by and then more of them, and many things changed. Man invented civilization, and was inordinately proud of it. But in no way did civilization change life more than by sharpening the line between work and play, and at last that division came to be more important than the old one between sleeping and waking. Sleep came to be thought a kind of relaxation, and ‘sleeping on the job’ a heinous sin. The turning out of the light and the ringing of the alarm clock were not so much the symbols of man’s dual life as were the punching of the time clock and the blowing of the whistle. Men marched on picket lines and threw bricks and exploded dynamite to shift an hour from one classification to the other, and other men fought equally hard to prevent them. And always work became more laborious and odious, and play grew more artificial and febrile.

George R Stewart, Earth Abides

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