“People have wanted to narrate since first we banged rocks together & wondered about fire. There’ll be tellings as long as there are any of us here, until the stars disappear one by one like turned-out lights.”
“Technically, our name, to those who speak science, is Homo sapiens— wise person. But we have been described in many other ways. Homo narrans, juridicus, ludens, diaspora: we are storytelling, legal, game-playing, scattered people, too. True but incomplete. That old phrase has the secret. We are all, have always been, will always be, Homo vorago aperientis: person before whom opens a vast & awesome hole.”
“Do please,” said Captain Naphi, “expedite this journey relevance-ward.”
“Heaven might not be what everyone thinks it is, but that don’t mean it’s a myth.”
“Humans like nothing more than to pigeonhole the events & phenomena that punctuate their lives.”
“There were times, Sham felt, when the captains regretted there being only two types of limb they could lose to their obsessions.”
“There was a time when wen we did not form all our words as we do now, in writing on a page. There was a time when the word "&" was written with several distinct & separate letters. It seems madness now. But there it is, & there is nothing we can do about it.
Humanity learned to ride the rails, & that motion made us what we are, a ferromaritime people. The lines of the railsea go everywhere but from one place straight to another. It is always switchback, junction, coils around & over our own train-trails.
What word better could there be to symbolize the railsea that connects & separates all lands, than “&” itself? Where else does the railsea take us, but to one place & that one & that one & that one, & so on? & what better embodies, in the sweep of the pen, the recurved motion of trains, than “&”?
An efficient route from where we start to where we end would make the word the tiniest line. But it takes a veering route, up & backwards, overshooting & correcting, back down again south & west, crossing its own earlier path, changing direction, another overlap, to stop, finally, a few hairs’ width from where we began.
& tacks & yaws, switches on its way to where it’s going, as we all must do.”
“History seemed meaningless here, or at least bewildered.”
“Standing there on his new perch, Sham was overwhelmingly bored of feeling overwhelmed. The more he worked, he realized, the quicker he worked.”
“You know how important trust is to me, yet you've done nothing but deceive me.”
“Но моя воля разбилась о железный закон: одну мысль я мог прогнать только посредством другой, умирала одна, ее трупом питалась следующая.”
“As he fell to the ground with a panicked scream,”
“Everything was red, the air, the sun, whatever I looked at. Except for him. I fell in love with someone who was human. I watched him walk through the hills and come back in the evening when his work was through. I saw things no woman would see: that he knew how to cry, that he was alone. I cast myself at him, like a fool, but he didn't see me. And then one day he noticed I was beautiful and he wanted me. He broke me off and took me with him, in his hands, and I didn't care that I was dying until I actually was.”
“She’s a badass motherf**keress. She’d kick your ass soon as look at you. You’ve clapped your eyes on The Law. Count yourself lucky, sucker. Now, what’ll it f**kin’be?”
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