Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus’ son, murderous, man-killer, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans so many good men and sent so many vital, hearty souls down to the dreary House of Death. And while you’re at it, Muse, sing of the rage of the gods themselves, so petulant and so powerful here on their new Olympos, and of the rage of the post-humans, dead and gone though they might be, and of the rage of those few true humans left, self-absorbed and useless though they have become. While you are singing, O Muse, sing also of the rage of those thoughtful, sentient, serious but not-so-close-to-human beings out there dreaming under the ice of Europa, dying in the sulfur ash of Io, and being born in the cold folds of Ganymede.
Oh, and sing of me, O Muse, poor born-against-his-will Hockenberry, dead Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D., Hockenbush to his friends, to friends long since turned to dust on a world long since left behind. Sing of my rage, yes, of my rage, O Muse, small and insignificant though that rage might be when measured against the anger of the immortal gods, or when compared to the wrath of the god-killer Achilles.
On second though, O Muse, sing nothing of me. I know you. I have been bound and servant to you, O Muse, you incomparable bitch. And I do not trust you, O Muse. Not one little bit.”
“Want to talk about Shakespeare's sonnets?" asked Orphu of Io.
Are you shitting me?" The moravecs loved the ancient human colloquial phrases, the more scatological the better.
Yes," said Orphu. "I am most definitely shitting you, my friend.”
“Human art, Mahnmut knew, simply transcended human beings.”
“The only true voyage, the only Fountain of Youth,” recited Orphu, “would be found not in traveling to strange lands but in having different eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another person, of a hundred others, and seeing the hundred universes each of them sees, which each of them is.”
“This is where the Iliad begins, and it should be the focus of all my energies and professional skills, but the truth is that I don’t really give a shit.”
“Arete is simply excellence and the striving for excellence in all things,” said Odysseus. “Arete simply means the act of offering all actions as a sort of sacrament to excellence, of devoting one’s life to finding excellence, identifying it when it offers itself, and achieving it in your own life.”
“Achilles pauses, looks over his shoulder at the masses of men behind him, turns back, looks past Zeus toward Olympos and the masses of gods in front of him, and then crooks his neck to look up again at towering Zeus.
"Surrender now", says Achilles, "and we'll spare your goddesses' lives so they can be our slaves and courtesans.”
“What’s it called?” she asked. “La putain enormé,” said Ada. “What does it mean?”
“Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; Death closes all: but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done . . . ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world . . .”
“Their three approaches fail but somehow the story itself succeeds, despite its narrator’s and even author’s failures!”
“Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; Death closes all: but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done . . . ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world . . . Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’ We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak in time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, and not to yield.”
“At that point Lord Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, began shitting whole goats,” laughs Orus, speaking loudly enough that several captains turn to frown at us.”
“ENOUGH!" bellows Zeus and not only stops Ares diatribe , but freezes every god and robot in place. "I'll hear no more whining prattle from you, Ares, you lying, two-faced, treacherous sparrowfart, you miserable excuse for a man, much less for a god.”
“Reading your sonnets?” asked Orphu. Mahnmut closed the book. “How’d you know? Have you taken up telepathy now that you’ve lost your eyes?” “Not yet,” rumbled the Ionian. Orphu’s great crab shell was lashed to the deck ten meters from where Mahnmut sat near the bow. “Some of your silences are more literary than others, is all.”
“Agamemnon: "Our prayer was simple — to raze Ilium’s walls to its roots, kill its heroes, rape its women, enslave its people. Is that too much to ask?”
“Manmut oseti kako mu se organski slojevi ježe kada je shvatio da je naglas progovorio preko privatne linije. “Ništa. Zbog čega ljubav nije dovela do odgovora na zagonetku života?”
“Zbog toga što je Prust znao - a njegovi likovi to otkrivaju - da ni ljubav, ni njen plemenitiji rođak, prijateljstvo, nikada ne mogu da prežive entropijska sečiva ljubomore, dosade, navike i egoizma”, reče Orfi i Manmut prvi put u toku njihove direktne komunikacije nasluti prizvuk tuge u glasu krupnog moraveka.
“Nikad”, reče Orfi i grmnu dubokim uzdahom. “Sećaš se poslednjih redova Zaljubljenog Svana? - “Kad pomislim da sam protraćio godine svog života, da sam želeo da umrem, da sam najveću ljubav doživeo sa ženom koja me nije privlačila, koja čak nije bila moj tip!”
“Primetio sam to”, reče Manmut, “ali nisam tada znao da li to treba da bude strašno smešno, užasno gorko ili neizrecivo tužno. Šta je u pitanju?”
“Sve troje, prijatelju”, odasla Orfi sa Ija. “Sve troje”.
“Koji je bio treći put Prustovih likova prema zagonetki života?” - upita Manmut. Povećao je priliv O2 u svoju komoru kako bi razvejao paučinaste niti tuge koje su pretile da mu se isprepleću u srcu.
“O tome ćemo neki drugi put”, reče Orfi, naslutivši možda raspoloženje svog sabesednika. “Koros III će povećati raspon zahvata i biće zabavno da posmatramo vatromet u spektru rendgenskih zraka”.”
“ “E vidiš, to nije toliko neuobičajeno”, reče Orfi. “Slušaj, evo jednog pasusa koji sledi posle onoga o nicanju krila i novih pluća na Marsu. Hoćeš na francuskom ili engleskom?”
“Na engleskom”, reče Manmut brzo. Ovako blizu strašnoj smrti od gušenja, nije želeo da se još dodadno muči slušajući francuski.
“Jedino pravo putovanje, jedina Fontana Mladosti”, izdeklamova Orfi, “neće se pronaći na putu u nepoznate zemlje, već u drugačijim očima, u posmatranju vaseljene očima druge osobe, stotinu drugih, i spoznaji stotine vaseljena koje svako od njih vidi, koje svako od njih predstavlja”.
Dok je razmišljao o ovome, Manmut je na tren zaista zaboravio na njihovo neumitno gušenje. “To je Marselov četvrti i konačni odgovor na zagonetku života, Orfi, zar ne?”
“Hoću da kažem”, nastavi Manmut, “rekao si da su prva tri za Marsela bila nedovoljna. Pokušao je da veruje u snobovštinu. Pokušao je da veruje u prijateljstvo i ljubav. Pokušao je da veruje u umetnost. Ništa od svega toga nije proradilo kao transcendentna tema. Stoga je ovo četvrto. Ovo…” Nije mogao da pronađe odgovarajuću reč ili frazu.
“Bekstvo svesti iz ograničenja svesti”, reče Orfi tiho. “Imaginacija koja nadilazi domen imaginacije”.
“Da”, prodahta Manmut. “Shvatam”.
“Treba da shvatiš”, reče Orfi. “Ti sada predstavljaš moje oči. Treba da vidim vaseljenu kroz tvoje oči”.
Manmut je na minut ostao da sedi u tišini remećenoj samo šištanjem O2 iz priključenog creva. Onda reče: “Pokušajmo da podignemo Crnu gospu”.”
“Seduction, he knew, was both science and art—a blend of skill, discipline, proximity, and opportunity. Mostly proximity.”
“Naasir was strong and fast and highly intelligent, but he was currently trapped in the heart of enemy territory, and that enemy did not fight according to any known rules of war.”
“I’m not wicked.” “Jensen, you’ve spent three years lying low, trying to make everything right. But you can’t redeem yourself. You can’t make yourself and your life whole again. God can.”
“No one must leave here and so carry to the world, together with the sign impressed on his skin, the evil tidings of what man's presumption made of man in Auschwitz.”
“suspiciously like feelings. Tristan didn’t do feelings.”
“The biggest difference between boy and girls is how people treat them”
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