22 mar. 2017

Mis Subrayados: Saga de La Cultura, Heinlein, Delany y Gaiman



Culture Series, Books 5-9 by Iain M. Banks.

-Excession:

But then, as she knew too well, the more fondly we imagine something will last forever, the more ephemeral it often proves to
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The cloud cane was a walking stick burning compressed pellets of a mildly and brief-acting psychotropic mixture; taking a suck on its pierced top cap was like sliding two distorting lenses in front of your eyes, sticking your head underwater and shoving a chemical factory up your nose while standing in a shifting gravity field.

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'Other people's are always the best problems to be involved with,'

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-Look to WindWard:

To hope as he was hoping, hoping against likelihood, against statistical probability, in that sense against the universe itself, was only to be expected, but it was also almost certainly forlorn. The animal in him craved something that his higher brain knew was not going to happen. That was the point he was impaled upon, the front on which he suffered; that struggle of the lower brain’s almost chemical simplicities of yearning pitched against the withering realities revealed and comprehended by consciousness. Neither could give up, and neither could give way. The heat of their battle burned in his mind.


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“I know. Sometimes what I feel is … I’m not sure … a feeble yearning for something I don’t have. Sometimes it is what I think people mean when they use the word envy, and sometimes it is real, raging jealousy. I almost hate her for having died without me.” He shook his head, hardly believing what he was hearing.

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“No, Custodian. I don’t think it will. Because I wouldn’t want to be the person who had felt as I do now and then walked—or drifted—away from that feeling until things felt better. That is precisely my problem. I prefer the idea of death to what I feel just now, but I would prefer to feel the way I do now forever than to feel better, because feeling better would mean that I am not the one who loved her anymore, and I could not bear that.”

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The point is: what happens in heaven?” “Unknowable wonderfulness?” “Nonsense. The answer is nothing. Nothing can happen because if something happens, in fact if something can happen, then it doesn’t represent eternity. Our lives are about development, mutation and the possibility of change; that is almost a definition of what life is: change.”

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-Matter:

Sorrow seems a common commodity, doesn’t it? ~ I believe the raw material is life, but happily there are other by-products.

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Later she would find that, as this was the Culture after all, of course there were people who embraced ugliness and even the appearance of deformity or mutilation just to be different or to express something inside that they felt ought to be broadcast to their peers; however – once she had passed over her initial sense of irritation and exasperation at such people (did they not, even if unknowingly, mock those truly afflicted, those with no choice in how hideous they looked?) – she realised that even that deliberate adoption of unsightliness displayed a kind of societal confidence, a thumbing of the collective nose at the workings of crude providence and the ancient tyranny, now itself long overthrown, of genetic aberration, gross injury and transmissible pestilence.

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In life you hoped to do what you could but mostly you did what you were told and that was the end of it.

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‘One hundred idiots make idiotic plans and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plan succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he’s a genius.’

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He came up to her and took one of her hands in his. “Djan Seriy,” he said quietly, “no matter what image of ourselves we try to project upon the world, upon others, even back upon ourselves, we are still all human, are we not?” She frowned. “Are we?” she said. “We are. And to be human, to be anything like human, is to know what one lacks, to know what what one needs, to know what one must look for to find some semblance of completeness amongst strangers, all alone in the darkness.” She looked into his languidly beautiful eyes and saw in them – well, being cold about it, more precisely in the exact set of his facial features and muscle state – a hint of real need, even genuine hunger. How close to fully, messily, imperfectly human did an avatoid have to be to pass the close inspection afforded by an equiv-tech civilisation like the Morthanveld? Perhaps close enough to have all the usual failings of meta-humanity, and the full quota of needs and desires. Whether he was a sophisticated avatar constructed from the cellular level up, a subtly altered clone of an original human being or anything else, Mr Quike, it seemed, was still very much a man, and in looking into his eyes and seeing that craving desperation, that anxious desire (with its undertone of pre-prepared sullenness, aching yearning ready to become hurt contempt on the instant of rejection), she was only experiencing what untold generations of females had experienced throughout the ages. And, oh, that smile, those eyes, that skin; the warm, enveloping voice. She thought, A real Culture girl would definitely say yes at this point. She sighed regretfully. However, I am still – deep down, and for my sins – both my father’s daughter and a Sarl. “Perhaps some other time,” she told him.

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Was it more honourable to starve than to steal? Many people would say yes, though rarely those who’d actually experienced an empty belly, or a child whimpering with its own hunger. Was it more honourable to starve than to steal when others had the means to feed you but chose not to, unless you paid with money you did not have? He thought not. By choosing to starve you became your own oppressor, keeping yourself in line, harming yourself for having the temerity to be poor, when by rights that ought to be a constable’s job. Show any initiative or imagination and you were called lazy, shifty, crafty, incorrigible. So he’d dismissed talk of honour; it was just a way of making the rich and powerful feel better about themselves and the powerless and poverty-stricken feel worse.

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-Surface Detail:

A good death. Well, he thought, given that you had to die, why want a bad one?

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Utility is seven-eighths Proximity.

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I’m negotiating a tricky course between the minefield of personal honesty on one side and the rocky coast of operational security on the other – that’s as good a hint as I can afford to give you.

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He looked up at the stars some nights, wondering where she was. Don’t you feel guilty about leaving her? Do you feel guilty that you left her? How guilty do you feel, abandoning her there? Do you sleep well, with all that guilt? Do you dream about her? You must feel so guilty – would you do the same thing again? Would she have abandoned you there? He had been asked the same question in many slightly different guises many times and answered it as honestly as he could, each time.

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“Goodbye, Quar; this pleases me much more than it will hurt you.”

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-The Hydrogen Sonata:

For an instant there he’d despaired, thinking he’d never get to where he was going and she’d catch him, but now he thought, No, I can use this to my advantage. She’s the one who has to watch out. I’m going to win here, not her. Even upsets and what looked like misfortune could be turned to advantage if you had the right mind-set, the right attitude, if the universe was somehow always subtly on your side just because you fitted it better than anybody else, knew its true and secret workings better than anybody else.

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The Sublime. The almost tangible, entirely believable, mathematically verifiable nirvana just a few right-angle turns away from dear boring old reality: a vast, infinite, better-than-virtual ultra-existence with no Off switch, to which species and civilisations had been hauling their sorry tired-with-it-all behinds off to since – the story went – the galaxy had still been in metaphorical knee socks. The Sublime was where you went when you felt you had no more to contribute to the life of the great galactic meta-civilisation, and – sometimes more importantly, depending on the species – when in turn you felt that it had no more to offer you. It took a whole civilisation to do it properly, and it took a long, long time for most civilisations to come round to the idea, but there was never any hurry; the Sublime would always be there. Well, provided only that blind chance, your own stupidity or somebody else’s malevolence didn’t lead to your outright obliteration in the Real in the meantime.

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“What with you having so much of it. Memory, I mean.” The man rubbed his face with both hands. “Well, you’d be wrong,” he told her. “One of the things you have to do if you’re going to live a long time and not go mad is make sure your memories are properly … looked after. Managed.” “How do you even fit them in?” Cossont asked. “Are you basic-ally all computer, inside your head?” “Not at all,” QiRia said, his expression indicating he found the idea distasteful. “In some ways my brain is as it’s always been, just stabilised. Been like that for millennia. Though it does have a modified neural lace within it. Heavily modified; no comms. What I do have is extra storage. Not processing; storage. The two are sometimes confused.” “What,” Cossont asked, “is it remote, or—?” “No. It’s in me,” QiRia told her. “Throughout me. Vast amount of storage room in the human body, once you can encode in the appropriate bases and emplace a nano-wire read-out system through the helices. Started with connective tissue, then bones, now even my most vital organs have storage built in. Doesn’t detract from their utility in the least; improves it in some ways, in terms of bone strength and so on. Though I have noticed this body doesn’t float very well.” “You are weighed down by your memories, literally!” Sklom said, chortling. QiRia looked unimpressed at this as he held up one hand, extended a digit and inspected it. “Well yes. However, it also allows me to have more knowledge in my little finger than some people do in their whole body, literally.”

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“Yes,” QiRia said. “Where do you keep your memories of love, past lovers?” QiRia looked at her. “In my head, of course.” He looked away. “There are not so many of those, anyway,” he said, voice a little quieter. “Loving becomes harder, the longer you live, and I have lived a very long time indeed.” He fixed his gaze on her again. “I’m sure it varies across species – some seem to do quite well with no idea of love at all – but you soon enough come to realise that love generally comes from a need within ourselves, and that the behaviour, the … expression of love is what is most important to us, not the identity, not the personality of the one who is loved.” He smiled bleakly at Cossont. “You are young, of course, and so none of this will make any sense whatsoever.” His smile melted away, Cossont thought, like late spring snow over a morning. “I envy you your illusions,” he said, “though I could not wish their return.”

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“Indeed not. But my point is that it might be the only one that lets you cope with great age without becoming a devout hermit, and therefore represents a kind of filter favouring misanthropy. Nice people who are beginning to live to a great age – as it were – react with such revulsion to the burgeoning horrors that confront them, they generally prefer suicide. It’s only us slightly malevolent types who are able to survive that realisation and find a kind of pleasure – or at least satisfaction – in watching how the latest generation or most recently evolved species can re-discover and beat out afresh the paths to disaster, ignominy and shame we had naively assumed might have become hopelessly over-grown.” “So basically you’re sticking around to watch us all fuck up?” “Yes. It’s one of life’s few guaranteed constants.” Cossont thought about this. “If that’s true, it’s a bit sad.” “Tough. Life is sometimes.” “And you’re right: it doesn’t exactly show you in the best light.” “You’re supposed to admire me for my honesty.” “Am I?” she said, and reached over and turned the grey cube off.

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“One should never regret one’s excesses, only one’s failures of nerve.”

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 Dhalgren. By Samuel R. Delany

Somewhere I can never tell you about, Nicole mused- Because each of us is the sum of all we have ever experienced. Only the very young have a clean slate. The rest of us must live forever with everything we have ever been. She slid her arm through Richard's. And must have the good sense to know when to keep it private.

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Did Tak's voice veer, once more, toward that unsettling tone? Only by suggestion, he realized, and realized too: The longer he stayed, the less of that tone he would hear. Whatever request for complicity, in whatever labyrinth of despair, it made of the listener, whatever demand for relief from situations which were by definition un-relievable, these requests, these demands could only be made of the very new to such labyrinths, such situations. And time, even as he munched flat bread, was erasing that status. "The rest of the country, it's fine."

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"You've got some nerve thinking you were ever any crazier than anybody else."

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"Look, about… being nuts." He felt self-righteous and shy, looked at the doubled fist of flesh, hair, horn and callous pressed into his groin; it suddenly seemed weighted with the bones in it. "You're not, and you never have been. That means what you see, and hear, and feel, and think… you think that is your mind. But the real mind is invisible: you're less aware of it, while you think, than you are of your eye while you see… until something goes wrong with it. Then you become aware of it, with all its dislocated pieces and its rackety functioning, the same way you become aware of your eye when you get a cinder in it. Because it hurts… Sure, it distorts things. But the strange thing, the thing that you can never explain to anyone, except another nut, or, if you're lucky, a doctor who has an unusual amount of sense—stranger than the hallucinations, or the voices, or the anxiety—is the way you begin to experience the edges of the mind itself… in a way other people just can't."

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And what have I invested in interpreting disfocus for chaos? This threat: The only lesson is to wait. I crouch in the smoggy terminus. The streets lose edges, the rims of thought flake. What have I set myself to fix in this dirty notebook that is not mine? Does the revelation that, though it cannot be done with words, it might be accomplished in some lingual gap, give me right, in injury, walking with a woman and her dog, to pain? Rather the long doubts: That this labor tears up the mind's moorings; that, though life may be important in the scheme, awareness is an imperfect tool with which to face it. To reflect is to fight away the sheets of silver, the carbonated distractions, the feeling that, somehow, a thumb is pressed on the right eye. This exhaustion melts what binds, releases what flows.

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First rule of behavior in the literary community: never condemn a man in the living room for any indiscretion he has put on paper.

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"The aesthetic equation," Newboy mused. "The artist has some internal experience that produces a poem, a painting, a piece of music. Spectators submit themselves to the work, which generates an inner experience for them. But historically it's a very new, not to mention vulgar, idea that the spectator's experience should be identical to, or even have anything to do with, the artist's. That idea comes from an over-industralized society which has learned to distrust magic—"

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He did not demand a name. What does this confidence mean? Long in her ease and reticence, released from an effort to demand and pursue, there is an illusion of center. Already, presounded, I am armed with portents of a disaster in the consciousness, the failure to suspect, to inspect. Is she free here, or concerned with a complex intimacy dense to me? Or I excuse myself from her, lacking appellation. Some mesh, flush, terminal turned here through the larynx's trumpet. The articulate fear slips, while we try to measure, but come away with only the perpetual angle of distortion, the frequency of an amazed defraction.

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If only you didn't remember all those other, endless, elderly ladies with their water-color sets, the old men with their privately printed poems, whom one had, out of politeness, brought flowers for or invited out to dinner, as well, even though their heads were wrapped in tin foil and they babbled ceaselessly about Poetry and Truth. After all, they were nice in a useless sort of way, which is, after all, the only way to be truly nice.

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He read. What had come to him as images (among which he had pecked with tongue tip and pen point) returned, shocked, luminous—sometimes more, sometimes less luminous than memory, but so rich he thrust them out with his tongue to keep from trying to eat them.

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Sometimes, I just feel that you've made me feel very good—that one hurts most. Because I look at you and I see how much you hurt and I can't think of anything to do."

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 The cat who walked through doors. By Robert Heinlein:

"Kidd, when you're off someplace, working, or wandering around, what do you remember when you remember me?" He shrugged. "A lot of this. A lot of holding each other, and talking." "Yeah," and he heard a smile shape her voice, "which is a lot of the most beautiful part. But we do other things. Remember those too. That's cruel of me to ask when you're going through this, isn't it? But there's so much you don't see. You walk around in a world with holes in it; you stumble into them; and get hurt. That's cruel to say, but it's hard to watch."

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Confound it, promises a woman makes in bed should not be binding.

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“Beating her husband to death is every married woman’s privilege… as long as she does it in private.

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POSSIBLE ACTIONS “When in Danger or in Doubt. Run in Circles. Scream and Shout.” “Does that help?” asked Gwen. “Every time! Ask any old military

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Every closet has a skeleton. This is a natural law-so find it in each case.

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There are accepted polite modes for almost any inquiry, from proposing adultery to a previously chaste wife to soliciting a bribe.

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They said they thought I was dead. Perhaps I am. I can no longer recall.

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That’s an excuse in itself, chum- whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve been, is all, totally, one hundred percent, your own fault. All.

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Rule had seemed happily loose and carefree. But I had learned. A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it-it keeps him upright.

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But, damn it all, animism is sheer superstition. (Except about weapons.)

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Dear, you look charming in that pose. Tristram Shandy was right; a woman looks her best with her skirts flung over her head.” “I don’t think Tristram Shandy ever said that.” ‘Then he should have. You have lovely legs, dear one.”

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“Bee Jay Seventeen here. Captain Midnight speaking. I read you. Hong Kong.” “Why in hell don’t you stay on channel thirteen. Bee Jay? You missed your checkpoint. Wave off. I can’t bring you down.” “Nobody can. Captain Hives; I am down. Emergency landing. Computer malfunction. Gyro malfunction. Radio malfunction. Jet malfunction. Loss of visibility. On landing we fell off our jacks. Fuel gone and attitude impossible for lift off anyhow. And now the air scavenger has quit.” There was a fairly long silence. “Tovarishch, have you made your peace with God?” “I’ve been too bloody busy!”

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could have been used to tempt Saint Anthony.

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But I was right! So? What has being “right” got to do with staying married?

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Find her! Maybe she’ll forgive me. Women seem to have almost unlimited capacity for forgiveness. (Since it is usually a man who needs forgiveness, this must be a racial survival trait.)

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Hell, no! Shrinks are the blind leading the blind; even the best of them are dealing from a short deck. Anyone who consults a shrink should have his head examined.

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“Life lost some of its beauty when truth drugs replaced thumb screws and hot irons.”

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“confidential” means only that it takes money or power to break the rules.

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“I’m sure she is, Minerva. But she can’t expect to tease me and threaten me, and still expect me to stand up in front of a judge or a priest or somebody and promise to love, honor, and obey her. I’m not sure I want to obey her anyhow.” The computer voice answered, “You won’t have to promise to obey, Dickie boy; I’ll train you later. Just simple things. Heel. Fetch. Sit up. Lie down. Roll over. Play dead. I don’t expect anything complex out of a man.

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“God moves in mysterious ways, dear; for every masochist He creates a sadist; marriages are made in Heaven.”

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‘the word “love” designates a subjective condition in which me welfare and happiness of another person are essential to one’s own happiness.’

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I suppose you could say that none of it would have happened if Hazel had not tried to manipulate me (and had, and did, and would) … but a wife’s unique right, fixed by tradition, to manipulate her own husband runs unbroken and invariant at least back to Eve and the Apple. I will not criticize a sacred tradition.

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And he comes from a culture in which jealousy was the commonest mental disorder.

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Don’t Try TOO Hard; You Might Succeed

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Go to your own funeral and you’ll soon learn who your real friends are.”

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-Trigger Warning. By Neil Gaiman.


“In the killing business one should never kill first and ask questions afterwards. That tends to annoy people.”

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me?’ I looked at her. At her face, and her posture, at her eyes. She was everything I had ever dreamed of in a woman. Everything I had been missing in other women.

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‘Sometimes I think that truth is a place. In my mind, it is like a city: there can be a hundred roads, a thousand paths, that will all take you, eventually, to the same place. It does not matter where you come from. If you walk towards the truth, you will reach it, whatever path you take.’ ‘You are wrong. The truth is a cave in the black mountains. There is one way there, and one only, and that way is treacherous and hard, and if you choose the wrong path you will die alone, on the mountainside.’

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I am old now, or at least, I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I’ve seen, such that I see nothing for the first time. A bonny girl, her hair fiery red, reminds me only of another hundred such lasses, and their mothers, and what they were as they grew, and what they looked like when they died. It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.

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He no longer looked sleepy. ‘A fool, am I?’ He was ready to fight. It is good to make people who are ready to fight angry. I said, ‘Not a fool. No. For I have met fools and idiots, and they are happy in their idiocy, even with straw in their hair. You are too wise for foolishness. You seek only misery and you bring misery with you and you call down misery on all you touch.’

11 nov. 2016

Una memoria sobre Leonard Cohen.




Tenía 15 años, había salido de la secundaria. En vez de optar por una beca y convertirme en seminarista de La Salle, decidí optar por esperar el fin de la huelga en la UNAM y entrar a la preparatoria en una de sus escuelas. El año era 1999.

Había pasado meses sin estudiar ni hacer nada, tanto que durante 30 días no salí de mi casa y cambié mi horario; vivía de noche, dormía de día. Tenía todo, libros, una computadora, mi restirador y materiales de dibujo, una tele grande, una videocasetera, un estéreo y una hamaca. No necesitaba nada más.

Hace poco en una charla aprendí que las personas tienen diferentes formas de amar y querer ser amados, que la mía siempre ha sido compartir. Que otras personas aman en privado, en aceptación del mundo y sus personas, en rescatar. Que es en esa forma de amar que secretamente también es el amor que desean recibir 

En aquellos entonces había un programa de radio que me encantaba, era los miércoles a las diez de la noche. Se trataba de la transmisión completa de un disco sin comerciales, sólo entre cada pista se detenían a contar de que trataba la canción, de donde provenía. Fue una vez que sonó un recopilado de Leonard Cohen, More of the best of Leonard Cohen.

Conocía una canción de Cohen, The Future, porque la película Nature Born Killers me había encantado, es con la canción con la que termina la cinta. Buscaba aprender inglés y en eso se me derramaban las horas, buscando canciones, traduciéndolas, buscado su significado, y The Future había sido un impacto.

Una a una sonaron las canciones con esa voz profunda y triste, con sus teclados simples y su llamado a imagenes de mujeres fantasmas en Viena y el honor de ser su esclavo, sobre la torre de la canción y Hank Williams. Debía tener ese disco.

Sólo he comprado dos discos compactos en mi vida, uno cuando tenía catorce años, los demás han sido regalos, robos, promociones de estaciones de radio, obsequios de músicos amateurs soñando con un oído extranjero y extraño que encuentre vida y arte en ellos.

Escuché More of the Best of Leonard Cohen cientos y cientos de veces; Aún tenía esa fascinación infantil donde la repetición no hace más que enriquecer todo.

Memoricé cada letra y cambio de voz, me interesó saber quien era Hank Williams, quien era Lorca. 

Aquella noche de muchas en infinita soledad y oscuridad de 1999 Leonard Cohen compartió arte conmigo, me enseñó poesía, y de otra música, y de historia, y de mujeres, cuando yo quien había pasado doce años en una escuela exclusiva para caballeros no sabía nada de eso, con todo y que dibujaba figuras femeninas en mis paredes tal vez intuyendo un hambre que ahora se mantiene incompleta.

Núnca he amado más que compartiendo una experiencia y mucho más arte. En una habitación oscura con una película enfrente y el calor de un hombro al lado de un ser querido, en el suspiro compartido contemplando una pintura, en la sonrisa al sonar una canción, sentado en una mesa con un lapíz de color y una mujer de hermosos ojos haciendo el mismo ejercicio que es un dibujo. Leonard Cohen compartió arte en mi vida, y me mostró mucho más, por  eso amo a Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen me amó.

Él lo decía "No hay cura para el amor".

10 ago. 2016

Mis Subrayados

Son of Tree and Other Stories por Jack Vance





If the Past is a house of many chambers, then the Present is the most recent coat of paint.
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It was a narrow passionate face, wide across high cheekbones, with flat cheeks slanting down to a prow of a chin. The nose was long and straight, the forehead broad. The eyes were flat black disks in narrow expressionless sockets, the brows ink-black, the hair an ink-black mop of ringlets, artfully disarranged. It was a clever, cruel face, full of fascination, overrich, overripe, without humor or sympathy—the face of a feral animal only coincidentally human.
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Humility is impossible when the object of your love is fearing for your safety.
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“I think we can find some, Lord Smith.” Joe turned to Hableyat. “They don’t wear many clothes. That’s paint on them!” Hableyat appeared to be amused. “Of course. Haven’t you always known that the Belands wore more paint than clothes?” “No,” said Joe. “Clothes I’ve always taken for granted.” “That’s a grave mistake,” said Hableyat pompously. “When you’re dealing with any creature or manifestation or personality on a strange planet—never take anything for granted! When I was young I visited the world Xenchoy on the Kim and there I made the mistake of seducing one of the native girls. A delicious creature with vines plaited into her hair. I remember that she submitted readily but without enthusiasm. “In my most helpless moment she attempted to stab me with a long knife. I protested and she was dumbfounded. Subsequently I found that on Xenchoy only a person intending suicide will possess a girl out of wedlock and since there is no onus either on suicide or impudicity he so achieves humanity’s dream, of dying in ecstasy.” “And the moral?” “It is certainly clear. Things are not always what they seem.”
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The answer evidently was this: all of human history is condensed into each individual lifetime. Each man can enjoy the triumphs or suffer the defeats of all the human race. Charlemagne died a great hero, though his empire immediately split into fragments. Each man must win his personal victory, achieve his unique and selfish goal. Otherwise, hope could not exist.
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The noblemen looked blank. “We must be practical,” said Matagan. “As Lord Oufia put it, sewage is sewage. And what avail are schools?” “To teach children the elements of technical weaponry,” explained Hack. “They learn to calculate effective weapon ranges, to read scales and gauges. They gain an understanding of warfare and raiding methods of the past, including, as an incidental, universal history.”


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Forever Peace por Joe Haldeman




“When you run with the wolves, you shouldn’t complain of sore feet.
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"It takes all kinds of people to make a world," my mother always says. Fewer kinds to make an army.
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There was a long article about the pros and cons of a euthanasia lottery for the elderly, which was scary enough even when you only got half the words.
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A horrible practical whisper told me to wait until after the operation. But I decided that buying the gift was more for me than for her, anyhow. A commercial kind of substitute for prayer.
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Amelia had told him I was "sick," but hadn't elaborated. I suggested we call it food poisoning. Alcohol is a sort of a food.
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"Ah, men. Never get any real action before sundown." She waved with two fingers and walked away, the silk artfully revealing and concealing with every step, a flesh metronome.
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Most of these people were only ten or twelve years younger than me. It seemed impossible, an unbridgeable chasm. But maybe I was never quite in that world— chatter, giggle, flirt—even when I was their age. I had my head in a book or a console all the time. The girls I had sex with back then were in the same voluntarily cloistered minority, glad to share quick relief and get back to the books. I'd had terrible earthshaking loves before college, like everybody, but after I was eighteen or nineteen I settled for sex, and in that era there was plenty of it. Now the pendulum was swinging back to the conservatism of Amelia's generation.
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I shocked myself by wondering whether I could live like that, and in the same instant shocked myself again by admitting I could. Relationships emotionally limited, temporarily passionate. And then back to real life for awhile, until the next one.
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The undeniable lure of that extra dimension—feeling her feeling you, thoughts and sensations twining together—in my heart I'd built a wall around that, labeled it "Carolyn," and shut the door. But now I had to admit that it had been pretty impressive just with a stranger; however skilled and sympathetic, still a stranger, with no pretending about love.
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"You were a Jesuit?" "Franciscan. We run a close second in being pains in the ass."
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maybe war is an inevitable product of human nature. Maybe to get rid of war, we have to become something other than human.
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"Some are born crazy," Amelia said. "Some achieve craziness. We had craziness thrust upon us."
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"We're not likely to convert many of them, and some of them like to serve God by murdering the godless."
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"Poor Lalo; poor Ray. They didn't suspect what a monster you were." "Of course not. Men just see me as a receptacle for their lust. Why should they fear a cunt?"

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A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ por Walter M. Miller




"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't someone after you."
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“No. Just say that anyone who wishes to study here will be welcome, in spite of the poor lighting. Thon Maho, especially. Or Thon Esser Shon with his six ingredients. Men must fumble awhile with error to separate it from truth, I think-as long as they don’t seize the error hungrily because it has a pleasanter taste. Tell them too, my son, that when the time comes, as it will surely come, that not only priests but philosophers are in need of sanctuary-tell them our walls are thick out here.”
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The Poet could not remember ever fearing death, but he had often suspected Providence of plotting the worst for him as to the manner of his dying when the time came to go. He had expected to rot away, Slowly and not very fragrantly. Some poetic insight had warned him that he would surely die a blubbering leprous lump, cravenly penitential but impenitent. Never had be anticipated anything so blunt and final as a bullet in the stomach, and with not even an audience at hand to hear his dying quips. The last thing they had heard him say when they shot him was: “Oof!”-his testament for posterity. Ooof!-a memorabile for you, Domnissime.
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“The APLAC?” “The APLAC. Sell it to an atheist. No, that wouldn’t be kind. Sell it as junk. I’m through with it. Why, for Heaven’s sake, did Abbot Boumous-may his soul be blessed-ever buy the silly contraption?” “Well, Domne, they say your predecessor was fond of gadgets, and it is convenient to be able to write letters in languages you yourself can’t speak.” “It is? You mean it would be. That contraption-listen, Brother, they claim it thinks. I didn’t believe it at first. Thought, implying rational principle, implying soul. Can the principle of a ‘thinking machine’-man-made-be a rational soul? Bah! It seemed a thoroughly pagan notion at first. But do you know what?” “Father?” “Nothing could be that perverse without premeditation! It must think! It knows good and evil, I tell you, and it chose the latter. Stop that snickering, will you? It’s not funny. The notion isn’t even pagan. Man made the contraption, but he didn’t make its principle. They speak of the vegetative principle as a soul, don’t they? A vegetable soul? And the animal soul? Then the rational human soul, and that’s all they list in the way of incarnate vivifying principles, angels being disembodied. But how do we know the list is comprehensive? Vegetative, animative, rational-and then what else? That’s what else, right there. That thing. And it fell. Get it out of here-But first I’ve got to get a radiogram off to Rome.”
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Now Lucifer again. Is the species congenitally insane, Brother? If we’re born mad, where’s the hope of Heaven? Through Faith alone? Or isn’t there any? God forgive me, I don’t mean that. Listen, Joshua-”

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THE FOREVER MACHINE por Mark Clifton y Frank Riley


Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?
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"Perhaps," he murmured aloud, "to believe in the inevitable triumph of rationality might, in itself, be no more than another expression of those same superstitions which we deplore in the ignorant. It is apparently an occupational disease, perhaps a fatal one, for the scientist to be too sanguine about eventual rule by reason. There is so little evidence
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"But this is only a machine," they would say. "It cannot be held morally responsible for arriving at the only logical answers possible, even though such answers do not support your political bias. Logical rationality is neither subversive nor non-subversive. It is simply a statement of fact. You may destroy the machine, but your verbal public whippings and pillories cannot incurably damage its psyche. It is only a machine."
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There is an odd peculiarity to the scientific mind. Block off an area where it may not go for speculative consideration, and immediately every line of research seems to lead into that area. A small boy may sometimes survive for hours with no thought for the cookie jar, but forbid him to touch it and he can think of nothing else.
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"Every man surrounds his mind with a framework of screen mesh," Joe said conversationally, "composed of his prejudgments, preconceptions of what is acceptable to him. Everything he receives must filter through it."
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"... when another eye is opened by which man perceives things hidden in others . . . perceives all that will be . . . perceives things that escape the perceptions of reason. . .
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He poised his fingers over the keyboard again. But no sentences formed into his mind to flow through his fingers. What would happen to his popularity with his audience if he implied that the beloved scientific method was a single value, only one way of interpreting reality? Were the disciples of science sufficiently scientific to question their own articles of faith? And what did he mean even by these questions? He felt his inspiration slipping away from him in chaos and confusion.
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AMONG OTHERS por Jo Walton



as if, instinctively, they knew that when the machinery of opinion control got to working again, they could not resist it. Like alcoholics, knowing that when the ready-made drink of easily adopted opinion was placed before them they could not resist it, they pled with Kennedy to keep sober and get them safely home. It was the few would at first subtly, by slightly slanted news releases, by vocal inflections in reading supposedly unbiased copy, begin to formulate public opinion. Through the use age-old drama being played out again. As soon as they were able to reconcile differences among themselves, the self-appointed of semantics, the few would become the many. As always, just one drink would lead into a total drunk.
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My goodness, Robert Silverberg must have egg all over his face. But I bet he doesn’t care. (If I’d written Dying Inside I wouldn’t mind how much of a fool of myself I made about anything ever again. It might be the most depressing book in the world, I mean it’s right up there with Hardy and Aeschylus, but it’s also just so brilliant.)
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It seems poetry has moved on since Chesterton. Who knew?
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What I mean is, when I look at other people, other girls in school, and see what they like and what they’re happy with and what they want, I don’t feel as if I’m part of their species. And sometimes—sometimes I don’t care. I care about so few people really. Sometimes it feels as if it’s only books that make life worth living, like on Halloween when I wanted to be alive because I hadn’t finished Babel 17. I’m sure that isn’t normal. I care more about the people in books than the people I see every day. Sometimes Deirdre gets on my wick so much I want to be cruel to her, to call her Dreary the way everyone does, to yell at her that she’s stupid. I only don’t out of sheer selfishness, because she’s practically the only one who talks to me. And Gill, sometimes Gill gives me the creeps. Who could help wanting to Impress a dragon in preference? Who wouldn’t want to be Paul Atreides?
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Carpenter says in the Inklings book that Lewis meant Aslan to be Jesus. I can sort of see it, but all the same it feels like a betrayal. It feels like allegory. No wonder Tolkien was cross. I’d have been cross too. I also feel tricked, because I didn’t notice all this time. Sometimes I’m so stupid—but Aslan was always so much himself. I don’t know what I think about Jesus, but I know what I think about Aslan.
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back at the lights with the sky not quite dark. It makes me melancholy to remember, but a little bit of the security and excitement comes through from the way I was feeling in the memory. Memories are like a big pile of carpets, I keep them piled up in one big pile in my head and don’t pay much attention to them separately, but if I want to, I can get back in and walk on them and remember. I’m not really there, not like an elf might be, of course. It’s just that if I remember being sad or angry or chagrined, a little of that feeling comes back. And the same goes for happy, of course, though I can easily wear out the happy memories by thinking about them too much. If I do, when I’m old all the bad memories will still be sharp, because of pushing them away, but all the good ones will be worn out.
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This proves that just reading it isn’t enough. After all, the devil can quote scripture.)
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I finished it at Leominster, and after that read Four Quartets again and got drunk on the words. I could just copy out pages and pages of it. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it means, but that’s part of the joy of it, putting the images together into coherence. There’s a story in there just the same as there is in “Young Lochinvar,” but it isn’t on the surface much at all. I’m so glad I have my own copy. I can read them again and again. I can read them again and again on trains, all my life, and every time I do I’ll remember today and it will connect up. (Is that magic? Yes, it is a sort of magic, but it is more just reading my book.)
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Nobody who offers to lend me Zelazny could be as black as he’s been painted.
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“I just wondered.” He sounded tentative and uncertain, as if he wished he hadn’t asked. He didn’t move away. “It’s just, the first time I saw you, I felt as if you were seeing right into me. And when I heard you’d said your mother was a witch, I thought—you know, did you ever read so much SF that you start thinking you don’t know quite what’s impossible any more? Where you’re ready to start admitting hypotheses that you know are screwy, but…” he trailed off.
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I helped Miss Carroll stamping and shelving some new books. They all looked awful, being of the category of books about teenagers with problems—drugs, or abusive parents, or boyfriends who push for sex, or living in Ireland. I hate books like that. For one thing they’re all so relentlessly downbeat, and despite that you just know everyone will overcome all their problems in the end and start to Grow Up and Understand How the World Works. You can practically see the capitals. I’ve read half a ton of Victorian children’s books, because we had them lying around at home, Elsie Dinsmore and Little Women and Eric, or Little by Little and What Katy Did. They’re by different authors, but they all share the same kind of moralising. In the exact same way these Teen Problem books share the same kind of moralising, only it’s neither so quaint nor so clearly stated as the Victorian ones. If I have to have a book on how to overcome adversity give me Pollyanna over Judy Blume any day, though why anyone would read any of them when the world contains all this SF is beyond me. Even just within books written for children, you can learn way more about growing up and ethical behavior from Space Hostages or Citizen of the Galaxy.
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I almost started it on the train, but I was very good and not only finished Charisma but started Doorways in the Sand. Having a whole fat new Heinlein I haven’t read a word of is such a lovely feeling. Like a reward. I feel all bouncy and happy when I think of it sitting there waiting for me.
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“I don’t care if you see Shirley, as long as I know about it,” I said. “… I think.” I was really clear on the theory of this from Heinlein, I wasn’t quite so sure about the practice.
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THE END OF ALL THINGS  por John Scalzi


Captain Sophia Coloma looked every inch of what she was, which was the sort of person who was not here to put up with your shit
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“Fair enough,” Brous said. “It sounds like you’re having a moment of existentialist crisis here, Hart, if you don’t mind me saying.” “Maybe I am,” Hart said. “I’m trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. A nice thing to wonder about when you’re thirty.”
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That’s it, you no longer have official favorite-cousin status. Rachel is back on top.” “I thought she owed you money,” Hirsch said. “Yes, but you owe me a beer,” Lowen said.
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“I’ve met a lot of people in the diplomatic corps who were in love with the sound of their own voice, but this guy. He and his voice should just get a room.”
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There’s a saying: “May you live in interesting times.” To begin, it’s a curse. “Interesting” in this case uniformly means “Oh god, death is raining down upon us and we shall all perish wailing and possibly on fire.” If someone wanted to say something nice to you, they wouldn’t tell you to live in “interesting” times. They would say something like, “I wish you eternal happiness” or “May you have peace” or “Live long and prosper” and so on. They wouldn’t say “Live in interesting times.” If someone is telling you to live in interesting times, they are basically telling you they want you to die horribly, and to suffer terribly before you do. Seriously, they are not your friend. This is a tip I am giving you for free.
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Second, the curse is almost always ascribed to the Chinese, which is a flat-out lie. As far as anyone can tell it appeared in English first but was ascribed to the Chinese, probably due to a combination of casual racism and because someone wanted to be a shithole of a human being but didn’t want it to be marked down against them personally. A sort of “Hey, I’m not saying this, those terrible Chinese are saying it, I’m just telling you what they said” maneuver. So not only are they not your friend, they may be also a bigot and passive-aggressive. That said, the Chinese do have a saying from which it is alleged that the bigoted passive-aggressive curse may have been derived: “,” which, roughly translated, means “It’s better to be a dog in peace, than a man in war.” Which is a maxim which is neither bigoted nor passive-aggressive, and about which I find a lot to agree with.
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THE SHEPHERD´S CROWN por Sir Terry Pratchett



Sorvalh smiled, and it was terrifying, and glorious. “And so we learn how simple it is to change the history of the universe,” Sorvalh said. “All you need is for every other thing to have gone so horribly wrong first.”
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Being dead didn’t mean you couldn’t get angry, oh no.
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and as Jeannie grew to become a wise old kelda, the word ‘belt’ would no longer signify something to hold up her kilt but just something to mark her equator.
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Of course, there always was such a lot to do. So many people never seemed to think about the consequences of their everyday actions. And then a witch on her broom would have to set out from her bed in the rain at the dead of night because of ‘I only’ and its little friends ‘I didn’t know’ and ‘It’s not my fault’. I only wanted to see if the copper was hot . . . I didn’t know a boiling pot was dangerous . . . It’s not my fault – no one told me dogs that bark might also bite.
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‘Being a witch is a man’s job: that’s why it needs women to do it.’
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And they were very aware that he knew exactly how to make a short word like ‘suffer’ turn into a very long experience.
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The music was playing in Fairyland – a harmonious melody, notes spiralling into the empty air, where a lazing elf perched on a slender branch near the top of a blossoming tree allowed himself the pleasure of turning each note into a colour, so that they danced above their heads, delighting the court. It doesn’t take much to delight an elf. Hurting something is usually top of their list, but music comes a close second.
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 ‘Oh, I understand all that,’ Mrs Proust said. ‘But this is today. It’s soon going to be tomorrow and things can change. Things are changing, especially for you young people, when you both want to do different things. Just do the work you find in front of you and enjoy yourself. After all, you are both still young, so you still have options for the future.
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RAMA  II por Sir Arthur C. Clarke y Gentry Lee


don’t know; a faith-shaking secret … that’s just in theory. In practice, people don’t believe for good reasons anyway, they just believe and that’s it, like we don’t love for good reasons, we just love because we need to love.
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Somewhere I can never tell you about, Nicole mused- Because each of us is the sum of all we have ever experienced. Only the very young have a clean slate. The rest of us must live forever with everything we have ever been. She slid her arm through Richard's. And must have the good sense to know when to keep it private.
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