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.’