Monday, December 05, 2011

"I conjure you," said the parrot earnestly, "I conjure you by our common birdhood to help me in my misfortune."

"No gull who is a gull can resist that appeal," said the master of the seabirds.

- from The Magic City by E. Nesbit

Friday, December 02, 2011

"How meals do keep happening," said Lucy, yawning. "It seems only a few minutes since supper. And yet here we are, hungry again."

"Ah!" said the parrot. "That's what people always feel when they have to get their meals themselves!"

- from The Magic City by E. Nesbit

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Philip said nothing because he was in a bad temper. And if you are in a bad temper, nothing is a good thing to say.
- from The Magic City by E. Nesbit

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Whatever's happened," said Philip to himself, through the cherry pie, "and whatever happens it's as well to have had your breakfast."
- from The Magic City by E. Nesbit

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Now, you have to understand, I'm no bronze-skinned, square-jawed archetype of manly-man-ness. In fact, I'm kind of frail, depressive, hydrophobic, nearsighted, color-blind, a little deaf and prone to making incredibly brave (stupid) moves for honor, friendship, love or whatever else won't make me feel like a lump on the planet. I want to go to Antarctica--I hate cold, and water, but hey, it's as close as I'm going to get to walking on the surface of Mars. Sure I'm scared. Sometimes, that's the point. I'm not an adrenaline junkie--it's just that I know that awesome experiences don't come from staying in the simulators.
- from "The Reward, the Details, the Devils, the Due" by Larry Dixon in Finding Serenity

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There are so many impatient people in the world. It seems everyone wants something right this second. We don't want to wait in lines, we get fidgety when our food takes too long to cook, and we have no tolerance whatsoever for anyone who holds us up from doing anything we want to do the moment we want to do it. I'm bothered right now that I'm having to wait till the end of this sentence to see what word I end up on. On, who knew? It's particularly hard to wait for things that are days or weeks or even months away. Calendars mock you, clocks pester you, and the rotation of the Earth seems to slow by at least 40 percent. I suppose, however, that if you were preparing to take over the world and you needed one final piece to fall into place, but that piece had to be slowly dragged over the dirt so that it didn't die, that would be really hard to wait for. I'd feel sorry for whoever that happened to, but then again they were trying to take over the world and all.
- from "Chapter Four: Look at Me, I'm a Chapter Heading" in Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra by Obert Skye

Sunday, March 13, 2011

He was setting back in a swivel chair in front of a rolltop desk and he had him a dime novel he was reading. It was about some daredevil who kept rescuing fair maidens from Indians or whatever. What the fair maiden was doing where she was always puzzled me, and I was never so lucky. Most of the maidens I came upon were most unfair.
- from The Proving Trail by Louis L'Amour

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I'm wondering whether a similar fixation on erotic outrageousness isn't also a running theme in Canadian literature: after all, the Governor General's Award has twice been given to novels that feature a woman having sex with a bear (Marian Engel's Bear and Douglas Glover's Elle).
- from "Sex, Prose, and the Veggie Aisle" by Jeet Heer | The Walrus Blog

Saturday, March 05, 2011

[We] trap out the beaver, subtract the Mandan, infect the Blackfeet and the Hidatsa and the Assiniboin, overdose the Arikara; call the land a desert and hurry across it to get to California and Oregon; suck up the buffalo, bones and all; kill off nations of elk and wolves and cranes and prairie chickens and prairie dogs; dig up the gold and rebury it in vaults somewhere else; ruin the Sioux and Cheyenne and Arapaho and Crow and Kiowa and Comanche; kill Crazy Horse, kill Sitting Bull; harvest wave after wave of immigrants' dreams and send the wised-up dreamers on their way; plow the topsoil until it blows to the ocean; ship out the wheat, ship out the cattle; dig up the earth itself and burn it in power plants and send the power down the line; dismiss the small farmers, empty the little towns; drill the oil and natural gas and pipe it away; dry up the rivers and springs, deep-drill for irrigation water as the aquifer retreats. And in return we condense unimaginable amounts of treasure into weapons buried beneath the land which so much treasure came from--weapons for which our best hope might be that we will someday take them apart and throw them away, and for which our next-best hope certainly is that they remain humming away under the prairie, absorbing fear and maintenance, unused, forever.
- from Great Plains by Ian Frazier

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Arzach is a strangely garbed, yellow-faced, cone-headed man, astride a huge pterodactyl-like bird.
- from "Flying to the Moon in French and American Science Fiction" by Danièle Chatelain and George Slusser

Monday, February 28, 2011

The hand of man is now too slow for the demons of his curiosity, but the power of steam comes to his assistance.
- Charles Babbage

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the first years of the twenty-first century, Canadians seem to have rediscovered their North. A combination of battles over sovereignty, the race for northern resources, and the daunting prospect of an Arctic stripped of much of its summer ice cover by global warming has put the Arctic back on the national agenda. What makes the matter particularly compelling is that the United States is involved one way or another in all these issues, so that they have become intermingled with the neurotic anti-Americanism that is the evil twin of Canadian nationalism.
- from "The New North in Canadian History and Historiography" by Kenneth S. Coates and William R. Morrison

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nevertheless, for all its power to affect beliefs and circumstances, class stratification did not supersede sex stratification. The routine assignment of women to the classes of their husbands and fathers by contemporaries and social scientists has reflected women's subordination within patriarchal society and the fact of their primary identification by sex. Yet, since no model of social stratification exists that takes into account both the relationship of women and men within the family and the results of the unequal ownership of the means of production, there is no easy alternative to identifying wives and husbands as members of the same class. Thus, while class designation may sometimes be useful, it remains a fundamentally imperfect method of indicating a woman's relationship to a capitalist male hierarchy. Accordingly, in this volume, the terms "working class" and "middle class" should be regarded as a guide to the status and power of women's families rather than as a reliable measure of women's ability to command resources or to share in full the values of male capitalist society.
- from The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Woman in English Canada, 1919-1939 by Veronica Strong-Boag