“Pain is an interesting and off-putting thing. Few if any things in life concentrate our attention so completely and terribly, and few things are more boring to listen to or read about.”
“It has been my experience that immediately after certain traumatic separations—leaving one’s family to go to war, for instance, or upon the death of a family member, or after parting from one’s beloved with no assurances of reunion—there is a strange calmness, almost a sense of relief, as if the worst has happened and nothing else need be dreaded.”
“The problem with being passionately in love ... is that it deprives you of too much sleep.”
“The universe deepened at that moment, the music of the spheres grew from a mere chorus to a symphony as triumphant as Beethoven’s Ninth, and I knew that I would always be able to hear it when I wished or needed to, always be able to Use it to take the step I needed to see the one I loved, or, failing that, step to the place where I had been with the one I loved, or, failing that, find a place to love for its own beauty and richness.
The energy of quasars and exploding stellar nuclei filled me then. I was borne up on waves of energy more lovely and more lyrical even than the Ouster angels’ wings seen sliding along corridors of sunlight. The shell of deadly energy that was my prison and execution cell seemed laughable now, Schrödinger’s original joke, a child’s jump rope laid around me on the ground as restraining walls.
I stepped out of the Schrödinger cat box and out of Armaghast System.”
“I explained my opinion of the ship’s logic. “That is a strange designation,” said the ship. “While I have certain organic elements incorporated into my substructure and decentralized DNA computing components, I am not—in the strictest sense of the term—a biological organism. I have no digestive system. No need for elimination, other than the occasional waste gas and passenger effluvium. Therefore, I have no anus in either real or figurative terms. Therefore, I hardly believe I could qualify to be called an …” “Shut up,” I said.”
“evolution is not progress, that there is no ‘goal’ or direction to evolution. Evolution is change. Evolution ‘succeeds’ if that change best adapts some leaf or branch of its tree of life to conditions of the universe.”
“Thus evolved some members of the Core—not altruists, but desperate survivalists who realized that the only way ultimately to win their never-ending zero-sum game was to stop the game. And to stop the game they needed to evolve into a species capable of empathy.”
“[The Void Which Binds] actual but unaccessible presence in our universe is one of the prime causes for our species elaborating myth and religion, for our stubborn, blind belief in extrasensory powers, in telepathy and precognition, in demons and demigods and resurrection and reincarnation and ghosts and messiahs and so many other categories of almost-but-not-quite satisfying bullshit.”
“I could not do this, I realized, if I were immortal. This degree of love of life and of one another is granted, I saw for once and for ever, not to immortals, but to those who live briefly and always under the shadow of death and loss.”
“That’s what writers and artists and creators do, boy. Listen to the Void and try to hear dead folks’ thoughts. Feel their pain. The pain of living folks too. Finding a muse is just an artist or holy man’s way of getting a foot in the Void Which Binds’ front door. Aenea knew that. You should have too.”
“At that moment I would have welcomed spider-rats nibbling on my toes about as much as the idea of chatting with a missionary priest.”
“Children bring chaos and clutter and an infinite potential for the future”
“We’ve been stuck in one species since our Cro-Magnon ancestors helped to wipe out the smarter Neanderthals,” she said. “Now it’s our chance to diversify rapidly, and institutions like the Hegemony, the Pax, and the Core are stopping it.”
“Aenea heard the music of the spheres. She resonated with the Void Which Binds, which resonates in turn to sentient life and thought, and then she used the almost illimitable energy of the Void to … to take the first step.”
“To see and feel one’s beloved naked for the first time is one of life’s pure, irreducible epiphanies. If there is a true religion in the universe, it must include that truth of contact or be forever hollow.”
“Nothing had ever been so welcome by its absence.”
“The Hegemony had known how to treat cancer, but most of the gene-tailoring knowledge and technology had been lost after the Fall.”
“In an interstellar society where the Church ruled all but absolutely, news awaited not only independent confirmation but official permission to exist.”
“To make love to the one true person who deserves that love is one of the few absolute rewards of being a human being, balancing all of the pain, loss, awkwardness, loneliness, idiocy, compromise, and clumsiness that go with the human condition. To make love to the right person makes up for a lot of mistakes.”
“beyond ideology and ambition, beyond thought and emotion, there was only pain. And salvation from it.”
“No lifetime is long enough for those who wish to create,”
“But this is human life: the war, the deeds, The disappointment, the anxiety, Imagination’s struggles, far and nigh, All human; bearing in themselves this good, That they are still the air, the subtle food, To make us feel existence, and to show How quiet death is. Where soil is men grow, Whether to weeds or flowers; but for me, There is no depth to strike in”
“Aenea nodded. “It’s wonderful to preserve tradition, but a healthy organism evolves … culturally and physically.”
“This is all too important.” Aenea smiled. “It’s all too important. That’s the damned problem, isn’t it?” She turned her face back to the stars.”
“Le disgustaba morir, y no quería morir más de lo necesario.”
“and my editor, Tom Dupree, for his patience, enthusiasm, and shared good taste for loving Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
“If we want to, say, develop schools in disadvantaged communities that can successfully counteract the poisonous atmosphere of their surrounding neighborhoods, this tells us that we’re probably better off building lots of little schools than one or two big ones.”
“You’ll leave me the second it gets too steep, and you’ll leave me with nothing – when I want you like I’ve never wanted anything in life. You’re all I think about, dream about. I get high and low and it’s not about you now, it’s not even about me anymore. I can’t sleep, can’t think, can’t concentrate worth shit anymore and it’s all because I want to be the fucking ‘one’ for you.”
“She undressed slowly, dreamily, and when she was naked, she selected a bright red negligee to wear so that the blood would not show.”
“I know it's not fair to ask you to be with me when we can't even sleep in the same bed, but I'll love you better than anyone else could. I'll take care of you and make you happy. I know I can.”
“When the sun is strong and the air is warm, however, we shout greetings to one another down the lengths of long driveways and from the windows of our cars as we pass; we hold our heads high as we walk, staring up into the sky with our eyes shut and our faces widened by smiles. We breathe in deeply the summery air, but this sort of inhalation doesn’t result in a sigh; it’s a precursor to a purr, or the moans one might make during a backrub. We no longer mope, we no longer grouse. We are filled with energy. Although”
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