“A weird wave of electricity surged through my fingers where they touched him. I snatched my hand back, staring at the digits. The charged feeling dissipated within me, but increased in the air around us, swirling and darkening. I tentatively touched his arm again, and the energy shot into me once more. It was like focused euphoria.”
“Hey,” I said. “Don’t I get a backpack?”
“No, boss,” said Snix. “You get something better. You’re the commander of this operation, so you, uh …” He looked around and then picked up something from under the driver’s seat of the Camaro. “You get this special Inter-Modal Communications Module. With it, you can monitor and direct our incursion.”
He handed me what looked like an espresso cup.
“This looks like an espresso cup,” I said.
“It’s designed to look like that,” said Snix. “Camouflage, boss. It’s all about camouflage. Okay, men. Are you ready?” (Christopher Bunn)
Hilarious and irreverent short-story about Santa and the elves.
Sharon looked at him as thought he’s just suggested she take up pole dancing. “You think the five of us, here in an unmarked office, with no reason to be here except a mysterious phone message, and a dead body just happens to be in the other office, aren’t going to become the immediate persons of interest to the cops, no matter how he died? You think they’re going to believe how we all ended up here on the basis of some strange phone message from god knows who, for an unspecified interview for an unnamed, unknown company none of us sent a résume to? I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that shit in my life.” (p. 61)
If you really come down to any large story that interests people, or holds their attention for a considerable time, the stories are practically always are human stories, and the stories are practically always about one thing aren’t they: Death and the inevitability of death. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Identifying a ruling class and state posed no such problem. The upper and usually senior ranks of the various corporate bodies, patricians and patriarchs or the merchant houses, administrators of cooperatives, guildmasters and latifundists, heads of religious orders and philosophical schools, retired courtesans, professors emeritus, and so on and so forth, formed what was blatantly called the Electorate, who just as blatantly elected the Senate and staffed its administration, and that was that. Volkov had no scruples about elites – having been part of one – and was surprised to find himself shocked by the sheer effrontery of the Republic’s lack of the forms of democracy. All his experience had been with people who insisted on at least the illusion of popular rule, and it was disquieting to encounter a people who seemed satisfied with the substance of self-government in everyday life while letting his politics and statecraft go on over their heads – as it almost always and everywhere did, of course. (Ken MacLeod)
So on a sunny summer afternoon, it was not unusual to see a priest walking up and down on the edge of a field for an hour or so, his hands waving, his mouth working, extolling the tenets of Catholicism to children who were hidden from sight. (Gifford MacShane)
“You chose Moreus over me,” she said. “Over all of us. You know what, the more I think about it, the easier it is to understand. That’s not so hard to forgive, after all.”
“It isn’t?” Gauce said, surprised.
“No, it isn’t. I mean, I’d choose Moreus over you any time.”
“You knew my brother?” Gauce asked, his shoulders slumping.
“Oh, no. Never met him.”
Location 6191 of 9046
It’s not like you’ll find any gods of wisdom or thinking here. Not that there are many gods of thinking. It’s counter-intuitive. Plenty of gods of making noise and hitting things, but there’s plenty of mortals who do that. To be fair, I suppose the proportion of thinking gods to hitting gods probably matches the proportions among their worshippers.
“She felt into the Unity for all the energy hidden in the air, where people live and love and the threads of life swell into one pattern.
In every room – every single room – her breaking heart was not alone.
A thousand upon a thousand snowfalls, and the city weeps in the dark, alone.”
“In the beginning was the word,” said a dry voice right behind him.
“It was the Egg,” corrected another voice. “I distinctly remember. The Great Egg of the Universe. Slightly rubbery.”
“You’re both wrong, in fact. I’m sure it was the primordial slime.”
A voice by Rincewind’s knee said: “No, that came afterwards. There was firmament first. Lots of firmament. Rather sticky, like candyfloss. Very syrupy, in fact -”
“In case anyone’s interested,” said a crackly voice on Rincewind’s left, “you’re all wrong. In the beginning was the Clearing of the Throat -” “-then the word -”
“Pardon me, the slime -”
“Distinctly rubbery, I thought -”
There was a pause. Then a voice said carefully. “Anyway, whatever it was, we remember it distinctly.”
(Picture found on Chris Brecheen‘s website – Paul Kidby artist)
“My day began with half a dozen bluebirds beating themselves to death against my window, leaving little bloody commas on the glass to mark their passing.”
(Picture by Lifllane)
“It was very bad if the council had resorted to recruiting men. By tradition men were our last line of defense, their physical strength bent toward the single and most important task of protecting our homes and children.”
“Princess,” Bernice corrected. “Nope. Not gonna do it. Once a princess has been rescued from the place of sacrifice by a sword-carrying hero willing to fight the dragon, she’s off-limits.” She turned to Antirrhinum. “Did I get that right?”
“Perfect.” He nodded approvingly.
“But-but aren’t you allowed to eat the hero who freed her?” Ubri demanded.
“So there’s your sword-carrying hero.” The Gorgorian jabbed a finger at Arbol. “Eat her!”
Bernice considered this option. “Mmmmnope. Can’t do it.”
“Why not?” Ubri’s face was crimsom.
“Because she’s the princess who was rescued from the place of sacrifice and you don’t eat a properly rescued princess.”
Trick Number 6: The Pendejo Game
When you, the outsider, come close to subverting my power through the sheer strength of your moral arguments or through organized mass protest, I will give you an audience. I will listen to you, sometimes for the first time, and will seem engaged. At critical points in your analysis I will claim I do not know what you are talking about and will ask you to elaborate ad nauseam. I will consistently subvert your efforts at dialogue by “claiming we do not speak the same language.” I will assert that many of our differences, if not all, are due to our different ways of communicating. I will ask you to educate me and spend your energies in finding ways of saying things so that I can understand. I will not do the same for you. Instead of using your resources to advance your causes, I will see you like a rat in a cage running around trying to find ways to explain the cage to me, while I hold the key to open the door. At the same time, I will convince you that I have no ill intentions toward you or those like you. I am simply not informed. The claim of ignorance is one of my most powerful weapons because, while you spend your time trying to enlighten me, everything remains the same. The “Pendejo Game” will also allow me to gain intimate knowledge of your psyche, which will perfect my understanding of how to dominate you.
Before Inari could protest, he slid his arms around her waist and lifted her up towards the ceiling. She grasped the edge of the opening and hoisted herself through, feeling uncomfortably exposed in the rags of her dressing gown.
“Please don’t look at me,” she said, embarrassed.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” the demon replied gallantly. She was sure he was lying,”…