Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
“You see,” Lardner said at the long bar of the Artist and Writers Restaurant, “Duke thought if his dream came true he would be a different person. He’s not unhappy about the dream. He’s unhappy that he is still the same man. Happens to a lot of us. We get somewhere we wanted and find we’re still ourselves.” (Roger Kahn, from The Boys of Summer)
If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of those you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. (Ernest Hemingway, from A Farewell to Arms)
What can be broken, should be broken. (Dimitri Pisarev, 1840-1868)
“I’d like to change the world, but I end up as entertainment. Whereas all you lovers” — he spoke the word contemptuously — “who couldn’t give a fuck about the world as long as you’re feeling passionate, you’re the ones who make the cities burn and the nations tumble. You’re the engines in the tragedy, and most of the time you don’t even know it.” (Clive Barker, from Imajica)
While we wait for chocolate malteds I notice a high-schooler sitting at the counter exchanging looks with the girl next to him. She’s gorgeous, and I’m not the only other one who notices it. The girl behind the counter waiting on them is also watching with an anger she thinks no one else sees. Some kind of triangle. We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives. (Robert M. Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Society had tamed the erratic fellow by co-opting him into the mainstream. For its largest threats, society reserves success. (Richard Powers, from Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance)
“Concentration-camp existence … taught us that the whole world is really like a concentration camp,” wrote Tadeusz Borowski. “The weak work for the strong, and if they have no strength or will to work – then let them steal, or let them die. … There is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally – for pleasure. … The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power …” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)
They hated Thomas for his courage, his brief moment as a bird. Everybody has dreams about flying. Thomas flew.
One of his dreams came true for just a second, just enough to make it real. (Sherman Alexie, from “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”)
“It is something so monstrous it is past sin and becomes necessity,” he said. (Greg Bear, from “Petra”)
The thousands stand and chant. Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces going down. People dangle teabags over hot water in white cups. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.
The future belongs to crowds. (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
One need only admit that public tranquility is in danger and any action finds a justification. (Leo Tolstoy, from War and Peace)
“The more civilized we become, the more horrendous our entertainments,” Frex said. (Gregory Maguire, from Wicked)
Now hang our bloody colours by Damascus,
Reflexing hues of blood upon their heads,
While they walk quivering on their city walls,
Half-dead for fear before they feel my wrath.
Then let us freely banquet, and carous
Full bowls of wine unto the god of war,
That means to fill your helmets full of gold,
And make Damascus’ spoils as rich to you
As was to Jason Colchos’ golden fleece.
And now, Bajazeth, hast thou any stomach?
You can just forward my mail to me in Hell, okay?
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