The Odds and Ends Shelf: Heavy Time

The dockside air went straight to the back of the throat and stung the sinuses, icy cold and smelling of volatiles. It tasted like ice water and oil and it cut through coats and gloves the way the clean and the cold finally cut through the stink Bird smelled in his sleep and imagined in the taste of his food. Time and again you got in from a run and the chronic sight of just one other human face, and when you looked at all the space around you and saw real live people and faces that weren’t your face—you got the sudden disconnected notion you were watching it all on vid, drifting there with only a tender and a hand-jet between you and a dizzy perspective down the mast—worse than EVAs in the deep belt, a lot dizzier.

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Odds and Ends Shelf: The Dark Forest

“That would be great,” he said, and nodded. “The … the thing you call a belief proposition. I’ve written it here. I want to believe this.” He pulled a neatly folded piece of paper from his breast pocket.

Keiko Yamasuki wanted to explain that according to the PDC resolution, the mental seal was only permitted to operate on one proposition, the one written on the monument at the gate. It had to be done exactly as written, and any alteration was prohibited. But Hines gently stopped her. He wanted to take a look at the proposition the man had submitted first. Unfolding the paper, he read what was written on it:

Katherine loves me. She has never and will never have an affair!

Keiko Yamasuki stifled a laugh, but Hines angrily crumpled up the paper and tossed it in the drunken man’s face. “Get the hell out!”

(The following article has major spoilers for The Three Body Problem and moderate spoilers for The Dark Forest. Both books are good; read them first if you want.)
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Odds and Ends Shelf: The Night Gwen Stacy Died

“In stories, those who hope to do harm call attention to themselves. They kidnap public figures; they steal potent potions from scientific labs and unleash monsters of their own creation on the general populace. But what about the small and quiet criminals who hope to make no noise in their work? How to save someone from himself?” Continue reading “Odds and Ends Shelf: The Night Gwen Stacy Died”

Odds and Ends Shelf: The Picture of Dorian Grey

“All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.”

“I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.”

“The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”

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Odds and Ends Shelf: The Golem and the Jinni

For three days the rains came and went, three days of infuriating confinement. If the Jinni had been able to go outside, and chase himself to the ends of the earth, then his growing obsession with the world of men might have dissipated, and he might have gone to visit the jinn habitations of his youth, as planned. But when the clouds exhausted themselves and the Jinni at last emerged to a newly washed landscape, he found that all thoughts of returning to his own people had vanished with the oceans.
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Odds and Ends Shelf: World War Z and The Grace of Kings

“Now that I have seen the larger world, I wish to change it, as does Mata. But while he wishes to restore the world to a state that never was, I wish to bring it to a state that has not yet been seen.” Continue reading “Odds and Ends Shelf: World War Z and The Grace of Kings”