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N.K. Jemisin quotes (showing 1-30 of 220)

“In a child's eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“We can never be gods, after all--but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“But love like that doesn't just disappear, does it? No matter how powerful the hate, there is always a little love left, underneath.
Yes. Horrible, isn't it?”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
“It is blasphemy to separate oneself from the earth and look down on it like a god. It is more than blasphemy; it is dangerous. We can never be gods, after all - but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“There's truth even in tainted knowledge, if one reads carefully.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“Fortunately, where reason failed, blind panic served well enough.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“True peace required the presence of justice, not just the absence of conflict.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Killing Moon
“And once upon a time I wondered: Is writing epic fantasy not somehow a betrayal? Did I not somehow do a disservice to my own reality by paying so much attention to the power fantasies of disenchanted white men?

But. Epic fantasy is not merely what Tolkien made it.

This genre is rooted in the epic — and the truth is that there are plenty of epics out there which feature people like me. Sundiata’s badass mother. Dihya, warrior queen of the Amazighs. The Rain Queens. The Mino Warriors. Hatshepsut’s reign. Everything Harriet Tubman ever did. And more, so much more, just within the African components of my heritage. I haven’t even begun to explore the non-African stuff. So given all these myths, all these examinations of the possible… how can I not imagine more? How can I not envision an epic set somewhere other than medieval England, about someone other than an awkward white boy? How can I not use every building-block of my history and heritage and imagination when I make shit up?

And how dare I disrespect that history, profane all my ancestors’ suffering and struggles, by giving up the freedom to imagine that they’ve won for me.”
N.K. Jemisin
“The priest's lesson: beware the Nightlord, for his pleasure is a mortal's doom. My grandmother's lesson: beware love, especially with the wrong man.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“This means, in a way, that true light is dependent on the presence of other lights. Take the others away and darkness results. Yet the reverse is not true: take away darkness and there is only more darkness. Darkness can exist by itself. Light cannot.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms
“Tell them they can be great someday, like us. Tell them they belong among us, no matter how we treat them. Tell them they must earn the respect which everyone else receives by default. Them them there is a standard for acceptance; that standard is simply perfection. Kill those who scoff at those contradictions, and tell the rest that the dead deserved annihilation for their weakness and doubt. Then they'll break themselves trying for what they'll never achieve”
N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
“Love betrayed has an entirely different sound from hatred outright.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms
“You are what your creators and experiences have made you, like every other being in this universe. Accept that and be done; I tire of your whining.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“You're very lucky... Friends are precious, powerful things - hard to earn, harder still to keep. You should thank this one for taking a chance on you.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms
“Once upon a time there was a

Once upon a time there was a

Once upon a time there was a

Stop this. It's undignified.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“...and when I lift my head to scream out my fury, a million stars turn black and die. No one can see them, but they are my tears.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“You are Insignificant. One of millions, neither special nor unique. I did not ask for this ignominy, and I resent the comparison.
Fine. I don't you like you, either.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“So here is why I write what I do: We all have futures. We all have pasts. We all have stories. And we all, every single one of us, no matter who we are and no matter what’s been taken from us or what poison we’ve internalized or how hard we’ve had to work to expel it –

– we all get to dream.”
N.K. Jemisin
“Determination could easily become obsession.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“There is nothing foolish about hope.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“Rising from the dead? Glowing at sunrise? What did that make him, the god of cheerful mornings and macabre surprises?”
N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms
tags: gods
“Suffering is part of life,' she said. 'All the parts of life are jumbled up together; you can't separate out just the one thing.' She parred his hand again, kindly. 'I could let you kill me now, lovely man, and have peace and good dreams forever. But who knows what I get instead, if I stay? Maybe time to see a new grandchild. Maybe a good joke that sets me laughing for days. Maybe another handsome young fellow flirting with me.' She grinned toothlessly, then let loose another horrible, racking cough. Ehiru steadies her with shaking hands. 'I want every moment of my life, pretty man, the painful and the sweet alike. Until the very end. If these are all the memories I get for eternity, I want to take as many of them with me as I can.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Killing Moon
“There is a strange emptiness to life without myths.

I am African American — by which I mean, a descendant of slaves, rather than a descendant of immigrants who came here willingly and with lives more or less intact. My ancestors were the unwilling, unintact ones: children torn from parents, parents torn from elders, people torn from roots, stories torn from language. Past a certain point, my family’s history just… stops. As if there was nothing there.

I could do what others have done, and attempt to reconstruct this lost past. I could research genealogy and genetics, search for the traces of myself in moldering old sale documents and scanned images on microfiche. I could also do what members of other cultures lacking myths have done: steal. A little BS about Atlantis here, some appropriation of other cultures’ intellectual property there, and bam! Instant historically-justified superiority. Worked great for the Nazis, new and old. Even today, white people in my neck of the woods call themselves “Caucasian”, most of them little realizing that the term and its history are as constructed as anything sold in the fantasy section of a bookstore.

These are proven strategies, but I have no interest in them. They’ll tell me where I came from, but not what I really want to know: where I’m going. To figure that out, I make shit up.”
N.K. Jemisin
“Any woman can face the world alone, but why should we have to?”
N.K. Jemisin, The Shadowed Sun
tags: women
“J. R. R. Tolkien, the near-universally-hailed father of modern epic fantasy, crafted his magnum opus The Lord of the Rings to explore the forces of creation as he saw them: God and country, race and class, journeying to war and returning home. I’ve heard it said that he was trying to create some kind of original British mythology using the structure of other cultures’ myths, and maybe that was true. I don’t know. What I see, when I read his work, is a man trying desperately to dream.

Dreaming is impossible without myths. If we don’t have enough myths of our own, we’ll latch onto those of others — even if those myths make us believe terrible or false things about ourselves. Tolkien understood this, I think because it’s human nature. Call it the superego, call it common sense, call it pragmatism, call it learned helplessness, but the mind craves boundaries. Depending on the myths we believe in, those boundaries can be magnificently vast, or crushingly tight.”
N.K. Jemisin
“Home is what you take with you, not what you leave behind.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
tags: home
“Loneliness is a darkness of the soul”
N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms
“I remembered Nahadoth's lips on my throat and fought to suppress a shudder, only half succeeding. Death as a consequence of lying with a god wasn't something I had considered, but it did not surprise me. A mortal man's strength had its limits. He spent himself and slept. He could be a good lover, but even his best skills were only guesswork - for every caress that sent a woman's head into the clouds, he might try ten that brought her back to earth.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“The shadows of Ina-Karekh are the place where nightmares dwell, but not their source. Never forget: the shadowlands are not elsewhere. We create them. They are within.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Killing Moon

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