Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
After a gloomy silence, he told me a story: “I was sitting in a taxi, and the driver said to me, oh, we have to thank the whites for many things. They brought roads, bridges, tall buildings, things we didn’t know how to do. Before, we lived very poor lives. Well, I didn’t argue with him. What’s the point? That would be an argument without end. I mean, it is now dogma in all our schools that the African people lived in mystic harmony with nature, that they somehow intuitively understood the interdependence of ecological systems, without ever having to articulate them. As well articulate the air you breathe, when it is merely self-evident! Huh! I come from such a village. Perhaps some people can watch someone smearing dung on a floor and talk about the sophisticated reuse of materials, but I tell you, once they try concrete they never go back to dung. Live in natural harmony with the African wildlife, did they? Didn’t kill all the game? They would have if they could. They didn’t because they couldn’t. Look what happens when you give them AK-47s! No more elephants!”
“What did you say to the cab driver?” I asked when he’d wound down.
“Oh, I didn’t argue,” the professor said. “I just asked him where he lived. He lived in a slum in Harare. I asked him if he preferred the village. He said he did. But he can’t make any money there. So that what I told him. That’s what the white man really brought to Africa. The idea of money. The rest is all frills.” (Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle, from Into Africa)
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Critics are like medical students: they always think a writer is suffering from the very disease they happen to be studying at the time. (Milorad Pavić, from A Landscape Painted With Tea)
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For them it might stave off what he could not help but see with clarity: that the world was silent and cold and bare and that in this lay its terrible beauty. (David Guterson, from Snow Falling on Cedars)
Those slightly heavy, slightly watery eyes are enough to make me realize that the drama between the two has not yet ended: he continues coming to this café every evening to see her, to open the old wound again, perhaps also to know who is walking her home this evening; and she comes to this café every evening perhaps deliberately to make him suffer, or perhaps hoping that the habit of suffering will become for him a habit like any other, that it will take on the flavor of the nothingness that has coated her mouth and her life for years. (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
Life is like invading Russia. A blitz start, massed shakos, plumes dancing like a flustered henhouse; a period of svelte progress recorded in ebullient despatches as the enemy falls back; then the beginning of a long, morale-sapping trudge with rations getting shorter and the first snowflakes upon your face. The enemy burns Moscow and you yield to General January, whose very fingernails are icicles. Bitter retreat. Harrying Cossacks. Eventually you fall beneath a boy-gunner’s grapeshot while crossing some Polish river not even marked on your general’s map. (Julian Barnes, from Talking It Over)
“Everything bleeds, Pie. Even God. Maybe especially God. Or else why did He hide Himself away?” (Clive Barker, from Imajica)
“Am I ever going to be told what you really think you’re doing?”
“You have been told.”
“Lie upon lie.”
“Perhaps that’s our way of telling the truth.” But then, as if she knew she had smiled once too often, she looked down and added quickly, “Maurice once said to me – when I had just asked him a question rather like yours – he said, ‘An answer is always a form of death.’ ” (John Fowles, from The Magus)
For Vida, that moment was the beginning of happiness, and in that happiness, like some kind of disease, the beginning of her titanic jealousy, which stayed with her forever and finally drove her to her grave. Because one dies of happiness sooner than of misery. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted With Tea)
There was no hope for an empire that lost the will to prosecute the grand and awful business of adventure. (Michael Chabon, from Gentlemen of the Road)
“I was in the Resistance,” he went on. “There were thirty Germans for every one of us, and they came here like beasts, not soldiers – shooting children, hanging women, cutting off people’s hands – but we never surrendered.” He put a cigarette between his lips and turned back to the sea. “There is nothing good about war, even if you survive.” (Nicholas Christopher, from The Bestiary)
Our nation has grown by its need for the unnecessary — another name for human progress. (Daniel Boorstin, from Cleopatra’s Nose)
Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead. (Raymond Chandler, from The Big Sleep)
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said. (A. A. Milne, from Winnie-the-Pooh)
Actually, his statement in its entirety was, “The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
Casanova is back, baby! And it’s at Marvel, through their Icon imprint. Whoo-bleepin’-hoo!!!!!!!!!
Sadly, it will probably sell many, many, many more copies even though the original was $1.99 per issue and this … won’t be (to be fair, the issues will be combined, so the price won’t be too prohibitive). But damn, this is a great comic book. I already own the damned issues and I may have to buy them again. Seriously – I’m so freakin’ stoked for this.
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