Archive for the ‘quotes’ Category
Coots are racists. They are extremely unpleasant birds and once a coot (Troy Winters) made me so I angry that I punched him until both me and Troy were crying. It’s weird that they’re so different to moorhens who are actually a bloody good laugh.
Most so-called contemporary novels are freighted with nostalgia. Perhaps one reason for either loving or shunning science fiction is that it is relatively free of the poisons of forever looking back. It looks to the future, even when it looks with foreboding.
Brian Aldiss, 1996, preface to Helliconia.
…it is more as though the genres of the fantastic themselves have reached a state of exhaustion. In the main, there is no sense that the writers have any real conviction about what they are doing. Rather, the genre has become a set of tropes to be repeated and repeated until all meaning has been drained from them… The problem may be, I think, that science fiction has lost confidence in the future. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it has lost confidence that the future can be comprehended.
Paul Kincaid, 2012, review of 2012 best of the year anthologies.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
George R R Martin, ‘On Fantasy’
Anorak’s Almanac 241:87 – I would argue that masturbation is the human animal’s most important adaptation. The very cornerstone of our technological civilization. Our hands evolved to grip tools, all right – including our own. You see, thinkers, inventors, and scientists are usually geeks, and geeks have a harder time getting laid than anyone. Without the built-in sexual release value provided by masturbation, it’s doubtful that early humans would ever have mastered the secrets of fire or discovered the wheel. And you can bet that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein never would have made their discoveries if they hadn’t first been able to clear their heads by slapping the salami (or “knocking a few protons off the old hydrogen atom”). The same goes for Marie Curie. Before she discovered radium, you can be certain she first discovered the little man in the canoe.
It wasn’t one of Halliday’s more popular theories, but I liked it.
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One (2011)
The post-war overspill developments seen on the edges of many of our cities were planned down to every concrete walkway, subway and pathway. But their green squares and verges were soon criss-crossed with desire paths: a record of collective short-cuttings. In the winter, they turned to sludgy scars that spattered trousers and skirts and clung to shoes, and during hot summers they turned dusty and parched. Once established, they fell into constant use, footpaths which have never entered the literature. These footpaths of least resistance offer their own subtle resistance to the dead hand of the planner.
Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, 2011
I intended to review The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin but I am going to have to resign myself to the fact this isn’t happening. Before I throw my notes away, however, here is the source of a reference to page 78 which just says “horrible breakfast”:
He was not the thin, sharp-boned man he had been in the world of the seven billion; he was quite solid, in fact. But he ate a starving man’s meal, an enormous meal – hard-boiled eggs, buttered toast, anchovies, jerky, celery, cheese, walnuts, a piece of cold halibut spread with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickled beets, chocolate cookies – anything he found on his shelves. After this orgy he felt physically a great deal better.
Reflecting on some of the ideas in his great book Culture and Society, Raymond Williams observed that it was only when he “realised that no one ever used [the word] ‘community’ in a hostile sense” that he became suspicious of it. On that basis we should be suspicious of “the literary establishment”, because it is only used in a negative way – like a squash court wall again, something that exists in order to have stuff hurled against it.
Geoff Dyer on the literary establishment: “There is no such thing as the literary establishment. I know this because I am part of it.”
I’ve just started reading Martin Amis’s latest novel, The Pregnant Widow. It is very Amis-y. But, with my science fiction hat on, I was struck by the quotation from Alexander Herzen’s From The Other Shore (1848–1850) from which the novel takes its title:
The death of the contemporary forms of social order ought to gladden rather than trouble the soul. Yet what is frightening is that the departing world leaves behind it not an heir, but a pregnant widow. Between the death of the one and the birth of the other, much water will flow by, a long night of chaos and desolation will pass.
They rise from the granite, sun themselves a little on the unsheltered plateau and drop through air to their valleys. Or they cut their way out under wreaths of snow, escaping in a tumult. Or hang in tangles of ice on the rock faces. One cannot know the rivers till one has seen them at their sources; but this journey to the sources is not to be undertaken lightly. One walks among elementals, and elementals are not governable. There are awakened also in oneself by the contact elementals that are as unpredictable as wind or snow.
Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
Most of us live in a world where more and more places and things are signposted, labelled, and officially ‘interpreted’. There is something about all of this that is turning the reality of things into virtual reality. It is the reason why walking, cycling and swimming will always be subversive activities. They allow us to regain a sense of what is old and wild in these islands, by getting off the beaten track and breaking free of the official version of things.
Roger Deakin, Waterlog