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By Orson Scott Card
p.34-35 “Let me tell you the most beautiful story I know.
A man was given a dog, which he loved very much,
The dog went with the man everywhere,
but the man could not teach it to do anything useful.
The dog would not fetch or point,
it would not race or protect or stand watch.
Instead the dog sat near him and regarded him,
always with the same inscrutable expression.
’That’s not a god, it’s a wolf,’ said the man’s wife,
‘He alone is faithful to me,’ said the man,
and his wife never discussed it with him again.
One day the man took his dog with him into his private
and as they flew over high winter mountains,
the engines failed
and the airplane was torn to shreds among the trees.
The man lay bleeding,
his belly torn open by blades or sheared metal,
steam rising from his organs in the corld air,
but all he could think of was his faithful dog.
Was he alive? Was he hurt?
Imagine his releif when the dog came padding up and regarded him with that same steady gaze.
After an hour the dog nosed the man’s gaping abdomen,
thetn began pulling out intestines and spleen and liver
and gnawing on them,
all the while studying the man’s face.
’Thank God,’ said the man.
’At least one of us will not starve’ “
from The God Whispers of Han Qing-jao
p.44 “Fortunately, you’ll eventually die no matter what,” said Jane. “That’s my one consolation, that by dying I’ll do no more than face the same doom that every other living creature has to face. Even those long-living trees. Even those hive queens, passing their memories along from generation to generation. But I, alas, will have no children. How could I? I’m a creature of mind alone. There’s no provision for mental mating.”
“Too bad, too,” said Miro, “because I bet you’d be great in the virtual sack.”
“The best,” Jane said.
p.70 “Oh, spare me the passive oriental woman routine,” said Peter. “Or the passive I-was-trained-to-be-a-sevant-and-you-sound-like-a-cruel-hearless-master manipulation through guilt. I know I’m a shit and I’m not going to change just because you look so downcast.”
“Then you could change because you wish not to be a shit any longer.”
p.73 “It’s a good thing I have not soul,” said Peter. “That’s the only thing that stops you from devouring it.”
“If I ever had your soul in my mouth,” said Wang-mu, “I would spit it out.”
p.98 “I’m an accomplice to treason though, right?” asked Wang-mu.
“And you’re also guilty of ruining a Japanese philosopher’s whole day.”
“Off with me head.”
p.129 “Do the gods of different nations
talk to each other?
Do the gods of Chinese cities
speak to the ancestors of the Japanese?
To the lords of Xibalba?
To Allah? Yahweh? Vishnu?
Is there some annual get-together
where they compare each other’s worshippers?
Mine will bow their faces to the floor
and trace woodgrain lines for me, says one.
Mine will sacrifice animals, say anoter.
Mine will kill anyone who insults me, says a third.
Here is the question I think of most often:
Are there any who can honestly boast
My worshippers obey my good laws,
and treat each other kindly
and live simple generous lives?”
p.140-141 If they could proclaim his true identity—Speaker for the Dead, authoer if the two—no, the three—great books of the Speaking; and Ender Wiggin, the Xenocide, both selves in the same frail flesh—oh, what shock waves would spread throughout the human universe.
Spread, widen, flatten, fade. Like all waves. Like all shocks. A note in the history books. A few biographies. Revisionist biographies a generation later. Encyclopedia entries. Notes at the end of the translations of his books. That is the stullness into which all great lives fade.
p.148 And then he said it aloud before he had even finished forming the thought, “This is the moment in all the videos when the couple that were screaming at each other suddenly look into each other’s eyes and embrace each other and laugh at their anger and then kiss each other.”
“Yeah, well, that’s the videos,” said Val. “If you lay a hand on me I’ll ram your testicles so far up inside your abdomen it’ll take a heart surgeon to get them out.”
p.162 “Just because your gods don’t exist doesn’t mean mine don’t.”
p.168-169 Yet dignity was not something he put on, it was not a façade, an impression he was trying to create. Rather it was that he moved in a perfect harmony with his surroundings. He had found the right speed for his steps, the right tempo for his arms to swing as he walking. He vibrated in consonance with the deep, slow rhythms of the earth. I am seeing how a giant walks the earth, thought Wang-mu. For the first time in my life, I have seen a man who in his body shows greatness.
p.273 “Miro, I’m so sorry. I always felt such pity for you humans because you could only think of one thing at a time and your memories were so imperfect and… now I realize that just getting through the day without killing somebody can be an achievement.”
“It gets to be a habit. Most of us manage to keep our body count quite low. It’s the neighborly way to live.”
p.278 “This emotion I’m feeling now, this is love, right?”
“I don’t know. Is it longing? Is it a giddy stupid happiness just because you’re with me?”
“Yes,” she said.
“That’s influenza,” said Miro. “Watch for nausea or diarrhea within a few hours.”
She shoved him, and in the weightless starship the movement sent him helplessly into midair until he struck another surface. “What?” he said, pretending innocence. “What did I say?”
p.287 “What I wonder,” said Olhado, “is what’s wrong with us, that we haven’t been asked to die in a noble cause.”
“I don’t know about noble causes,” said Grego, “but we do have a fleet aimed at us. That will do, I think, for getting us dead.”
p.350 I guess that means I’m human, thought Wang-mu. Not a god. Maybe just a beast after all. Part raman. Part varelse. But more raman than varelse, at least of her good days. Peter, too, just like her. Both of them part of the same flawed species, determined to join together to make a couple of more members of that species. Peter and I together will call forth some aiua to come in from Outside and take ontrol of a tiny body that our bodies have made, and we’ll see that child be varelse on some days and raman on others. On some days we’ll be good parents an some days we’ll be wretched failures. Some day’s we’ll be desperately sad and some days we’ll be so happy we can hardly contain it. I can live with that.
p.354 Changing the world is good for those who write their names in the lives of others, and hold the hearts of others as the treasure most dear.