Monday, December 31, 2012

And yet he felt forebodings. Some nameless threat lurked just around the corner of the world for the sun to rise again. The feeling had been gnawing at him, as annoying as a swarm of hungry insects that buzzed about one's face in the desert sun. There was the sense of the imminent, the remorseless, the mindless; it coiled like a heat-maddened rattler, ready to strike at rolling tumbleweed.
- from A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

When he said good-evening you felt that it was a good evening and that it was partly his doing that it was.
- from The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

And it occurred to me that maybe we're not meant to get along, like maybe someone took a wrong turn in even thinking that should be anyone's goal. That in bouncing off each other we get to see stuff.
- from The Vacation by Polly Horvath

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Robots in space have several clear advantages over astronauts: they are cheaper to launch; they can be designed to perform experiments of very high precision without interference from a cumbersome pressure suit; and since they are not alive in any traditional sense of the word, they cannot be killed in a space accident. Nevertheless, until computers can simulate human curiosity and human sparks of insight, and until computers can synthesize information and recognize a serendipitous discovery when it stares them in the face, robots will remain tools designed to discover what we already expect to find. Unfortunately, profound insights into nature lurk behind questions we have yet to ask.
- from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thursday afternoons can be tough. You've about had it with the week but the week hasn't had it with you.
- from When the Circus Came to Town by Polly Horvath

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Our catalogue of exoplanets is growing apace. After all, the known universe harbors a hundred billion galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars.
- from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Go ahead and think about that for a minute. I'll wait.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

"I know." She sighed. "We'll all say that. We'll all go on and make the place safe. Roads, cities. New sky, new soil. Until it's all some kind of Siberia or Northwest Territories, and Mars will be gone and we'll be here, and we'll wonder why we feel so empty. Why when we look at the land we can never see anything but our own faces."
- from Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why was the judgment of the disapproving so valuable? Who said that their good opinions tended to be any more rational than those of generally pleasant people?
- from Austenland by Shannon Hale

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Singing? I would be singing? I don't think I had sung a note in my life up to this point. I really don't. I may have hummed an Anne Murray song or two. Who didn't do that? "Snowbird" was the only song on Canadian radio for eleven years.
- from Falling Backwards by Jann Arden

Thursday, January 05, 2012

My Friends

The man above was a murderer, the man below was a thief;
And I lay there in the bunk between, ailing beyond belief;
A weary armful of skin and bone, wasted with pain and grief.

My feet were froze, and the lifeless toes were purple and green and gray;
The little flesh that clung to my bones, you could punch it in holes like clay;
The skin on my gums was a sullen black, and slowly peeling away.

I was sure enough in a direful fix, and often I wondered why
They did not take the chance that was left and leave me alone to die,
Or finish me off with a dose of dope—so utterly lost was I.

But no; they brewed me the green-spruce tea, and nursed me there like a child;
And the homicide he was good to me, and bathed my sores and smiled;
And the thief he starved that I might be fed, and his eyes were kind and mild.

Yet they were woefully wicked men, and often at night in pain
I heard the murderer speak of his deed and dream it over again;
I heard the poor thief sorrowing for the dead self he had slain.

I'll never forget that bitter dawn, so evil, askew and gray,
When they wrapped me round in the skins of beasts and they bore me to a sleigh,
And we started out with the nearest post an hundred miles away.

I'll never forget the trail they broke, with its tense, unuttered woe;
And the crunch, crunch, crunch as their snowshoes sank through the crust of the hollow snow;
And my breath would fail, and every beat of my heart was like a blow.

And oftentimes I would die the death, yet wake up to life anew;
The sun would be all ablaze on the waste, and the sky a blighting blue,
And the tears would rise in my snow-blind eyes and furrow my cheeks like dew.

And the camps we made when their strength outplayed and the day was pinched and wan;
And oh, the joy of that blessed halt, and how I did dread the dawn;
And how I hated the weary men who rose and dragged me on.

And oh, how I begged to rest, to rest—the snow was so sweet a shroud;
And oh, how I cried when they urged me on, cried and cursed them aloud;
Yet on they strained, all racked and pained, and sorely their backs were bowed.

And then it was all like a lurid dream, and I prayed for a swift release
From the ruthless ones who would not leave me to die alone in peace;
Till I wakened up and I found myself at the post of the Mounted Police.

And there was my friend the murderer, and there was my friend the thief,
With bracelets of steel around their wrists, and wicked beyond belief:
But when they come to God's judgment seat—may I be allowed the brief.


- from Ballads of a Cheechako by Robert Service

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

But Ransom knew a little psychology and had heard of the hunted man's irrational instinct to give himself up--indeed, he had felt it himself in dreams.
- from Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis