Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
“Stories have no point if they don’t absorb our terror.” (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
Has the world lost its joy? Is that why we’re in such a mess? (Madeleine L’Engle, from A Swiftly Tilting Planet)
In short, Roberto privately concluded, if you would avoid wars, never make treaties of peace. (Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before)
‘Once giants walked the earth,’ she repeated, emphatically. ‘Yes, titans absolutely, it’s a fact.’
Three mothers creaked and swung with expressions of fascinated absorption upon their smiling faces; but Raza Hyder took no notice, closed his eyes, grunted from time to time. ‘Now the pygmies have taken over, however,’ Bilquis confided. ‘Tiny personages. Ants. Once he was a giant,’ she jerked a thumb in the direction of her somnolent husband, ‘you would not believe to look, but he was. Streets where he walked shook with fear and respect, even here, in this very town. But, you see, even a giant can be pygmified, and he has shrunk now, he is smaller than a bug. Pygmies pygmies everywhere, also insects and ants – shame on the giants, isn’t it? Shame on them for shrinking. That’s my opinion.’ (Salman Rushdie, from Shame)
“Truth, Vinicius, dwells somewhere so high that the gods themselves cannot see it from the top of Olympus. To you, carissime, your Olympus seems higher still, and, standing there, you call to me, ‘Come, you will see such sights as you have not seen yet!’ I might. But I answer, ‘I do not have feet for the journey.’ And if you read this letter to the end, you will acknowledge, I think, that I am right.” (Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Quo Vadis)
“We took unremarkable men: usual bankers, run-of-the-mill priests, ordinary soldiers and statesmen and wives – and sacramentalized their mediocrity. We smoothed their noons with strings divisi! We pierced their nights with chittarini! We gave them processions for their strutting – serenades for their rutting – high horns for their hunting, and drums for their wars! Trumpets sounded when they entered the world, and trombones groaned when they left it! The savour of their days remains behind because of us, our music still remembered while their politics are long forgotten. Tell me, before you call us servants, who served whom? And who, I wonder, in your generation, will immortalize you?” (Antonio Salieri, from “Amadeus” by Peter Shaffer)
But novelists write for countless reasons: for money, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement: as skilled furniture makers enjoy making furniture, as drunkards like drinking, as judges like judging, as Sicilians like emptying a shotgun into an enemy’s back. I could fill a box with reasons, and they would all be true, though not true of all. Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create as real as, but other than the world that is. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
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