Quotes from The Scar

China Miéville ·  578 pages

Rating: (24.6K votes)


“Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Scars are memory. Like sutures. They stitch the past to me.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Everything has changed. I cannot be used anymore. Those days are over. I know too much. What I do now, I do for me.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes. Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable, several occur as possibilities to us as observers - and one comes true.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“In the deepest places, where physical norms collapse under the crushing water, bodies still fall softly through the dark, days after their vessels have capsized. They decay on their long journey down. Nothing will hit the black sand at the bottom of the world but algae-covered bones.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar



“It had not been a long journey, but the memory of it filled her like an infection. She had felt tethered by time to the city behind her, so that the minutes stretched out taut as she moved away, and slowed the farther she got, dragging out her little voyage.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Cooking and eating were growing to irritate her with their relentless necessity.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“So many truths have been kept from me. This violent, pointless voyage has been sopping with blood. I feel thick and sick with it. And that is all: contingent and brutal without meaning. There is nothing to be learnt here. No ecstatic forgetting. There is no redemption in the sea.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“She was Remade she was (Remade scum), he knew it, he saw it, and still he felt incessantly what was inside him, and he felt a great scab of habit and prejudice split from him, part from his skin where his homeland had inscribed him deep. [...]There was a caustic pain as he peeled off a clot of old life and exposed himself open and unsure to her, to new air. [...] His feelings welled out and bled together (their festering ceased) and they began to resolve, to heal in a new form, to scar.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“A mile below the lowest cloud, rock breaches water and the sea begins.
It has been given many names. Each inlet and bay and stream has been classified as if it were discrete. But it is one thing, where borders are absurd. It fills the space between stones and sand, curling around coastlines and filling trenches between the continents.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar



“The reading rooms were large and quiet. Their windows were filmed in dust and desiccated insects, and seemed to age the light falling across the communal tables and the volumes in scores of languages.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“This is a Possible Letter. Until the last second, when I write your name beside that word “Dear,” all
those sheets and months ago, this is a Possible Letter, pregnant with potentiality. I am very powerful
right now. I am all ready to mine the possibilities, make one of them fact.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


Gods it's well done, she thought, bowing her head, acknowledging consummate work. She felt skeins of cause, effect, effort, and interaction tying around her. She felt things all coming together, pushing her into this place, at this time, having done this thing.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“...he had known that the endless space below him that stretched out like a maw was exactly that: a mouth the size of the world, straining to swallow him.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“I've no interest in this city. I do not want to live in a curio, Johannes. This is a sideshow! This is something to scare the children! 'The Floating Pirate City'! I don't want it! I don't want to live in this great bobbing parasite, like some fucking pondskater sucking the victims dry. This isn't a city, Johannes; it's a parochial little village less than a mile wide, and I do not want it.

"I was always going to return to New Crobuzon. I would never wish to see out my days outside it. It's dirty and cruel and difficult and dangerous—particularly for me, particularly now—but it's my home. Nowhere else in the world has the culture, the industry, the population, the thaumaturgy, the languages, the art, the books, the politics, the history … New Crobuzon," she said slowly, "is the greatest city in Bas-Lag."

And coming from her, someone without any illusions about New Crobuzon's brutality, or squalor, or repression, the declamation was far more powerful than if it came from any Parliamentarian.

"And you're telling me," she said finally, "that I've been exiled from my city—for life—because of you?”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar



“They live beyond the quick ghetto. In hovels. In the shantytown.' He smiled. 'And every night, after the sun's descended, they can crawl safely out from their shacks and shuffle into the town. Stick-figures in rags, leaning against the walls. Exhausted and starving, hands outstretched. Begging.' His voice was soft and vicious. 'Begging for the quick to take pity on them. And every so often one of us will acquiesce, and out of pity and contempt, embarrassed by our soft philanthropy, we'll stand in the eaves of a building and offer up our wrists. And you and your kind will open them, all frantic with hunger and fawning with gratitude, and take a few eager swigs, till we decide you've had enough and take back our hands while you weep and beg for more, and maybe spew because you've gone without a hit so long your stomach can't handle what it craves, and we leave you lying in the dirt, blissed by your little fix.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“He struggled to overcome his vertigo; he made it something else. No less awe, but less fear. He took what was like fear in him, and made it humility. I’m damn small, he thought, hanging like a mote of dust in still air, in a sea that’s damn big. But that’s alright. I can do that.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“There was one panicked moment. He picked a book from the wall, and the shapes inside, all the letters, were friends to him; but as he settled before them and began to mouth and mutter them, waiting for them to sound as words in his head, they were all gibberish. He grew frantic very quickly, fearing that he had lost what it was he had gained.t pieced it together into a different language. Shekel was dumbstruck at the realization that these glyphs he had conquered could do the same job for so many peoples who could not understand each other at all. He grinned as he thought about it. He was glad to share.
He opened more foreign volumes, making or trying to make the noises that the letters spelled and laughing at how strange they sounded. He looked carefully at the pictures and cross-referenced them again, tentatively he concluded that in this lanugage, this particular clutch of letters meant 'boat' and this other set 'moon'.
....he reached new shelving and opened a book whose script was like nothing he knew. He laughed, delighted at its strange curves.
He moved off further and found yet another alphabet. And a little way off there was another.
For hours he found intrigue and astonishment by exploring the non-Ragamoll shelves. He found in those meaningless words and illegible alphabets not only an awe at the world, but the remnants of the fetishism to which he had been subjected before, when all books had existed for him as those did now, only as mute objects with mass and dimension and color, but without content.
....
He gazedc at the books in Base and High Kettai and Sunglari and Lubbock and Khadohi with a kind of fascinated nostalgia for his own illiteracy, without for a fraction of a moment missing it.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“They are too stupid to fear. Vertigo is too complex for them.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“...terrorism could not win once the real terror went.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar



“Nur mit der Ruhe - du kommst noch früh genug zu spät.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“There is the heat, which clots the air around her and stops up her pores and her eyes and ears”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Anxieties and controversies were now as clearly traceable through it as woodgrain through varnish.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“The air was stained by shadows, a darkness burst by lightning like camera flashes.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Like some waterhole in the veldt, she though unclearly, where the weak and the strong and predatory drink together in a truce: the gazelle, the wildebeest, the mafadet, and the lion. All the possibilities lined up together in fucking harmony, and the winner, the strongest, the fact, the real, letting the others that have failed live, letting them all live. Pacifist and pathetic.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar



“Where was that crisis energy in the real becoming what it was not, if what it was not was right there alongside what it was?”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“Of course you didn’t volunteer the information, or even damn well admit it. But shit, Uther, I came to you and confronted you with what I’d worked out, and you … Well, you’re too professional to give away anything that could come back to bite you, but if you’d wanted to mislead me or leave me thinking I was wrong you could have.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“In time, in time they tell me, I’ll not feel so bad. I don’t want time to heal me. There’s a reason I’m like this. I want time to set me ugly and knotted with loss of you, marking me. I won’t smooth you away. I can’t say good-bye.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


“This gentleman is cactus,” said Doul.”
― China Miéville, quote from The Scar


About the author

China Miéville
Born place: in Norwich, England, The United Kingdom
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