"And yes, [apocalyptic texts] are disturbing texts, but partly because they represent a genre we just aren't familiar with. Sort of like if sci-fi cea"And yes, [apocalyptic texts] are disturbing texts, but partly because they represent a genre we just aren't familiar with. Sort of like if sci-fi ceased a genre two thousand years from now but Battlestar Galactica was still able to be seen, and the people in the year 4000, rather than understanding it to be a commentary about hubris and what it means to be human, saw it as a prediction of the future and waited around staring at the sky anticipating Cylon attacks" (p. 57).
"We may be used to hearing some Christians say 'let's keep Christ in Christmas,' but my friend Joy Carroll Wallis wrote an essay called 'Keeping Herod in Christmas,' and I have to say I'm with her, because the world into which Christ was born was certainly not a Norman Rockwell painting...the story of the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents is as much a part of Christmas and Epiphany as are shepherds and angels" (p. 77).
"Here's my image of Ash Wednesday: If our lives were a long piece of fabric with our baptism on one end and our funeral on another, and we don't know the distance between the two, then Ash Wednesday is a time when that fabric is pinched in the middle and the ends are held up so that our baptism in the past and our funeral in the future meet" (p. 113).
"But the 'cool' part of me was never what attracted the people who stayed. The bug-eyed kid with no friends brought them in. The girl who ate all her lunches alone in middle school...I had been attracting people like me all along. I was just too arrogant, or too defensive, to admit it" (p. 122-123).
"God loves Candy now. With dirty feet. Not just after she manages to start making better decisions, not after she washes them herself. God loves us now...Sometimes just the simple experience of knowing this, of knowing that our sin is not what defines us, can finally set us free" (p. 135).
"'I'm so sorry,' I replied. 'But sometimes Jesus just hunts your ass down, and there's nothing you can do about it.'" (p. 146).
"Sometimes I wonder if that is what faith is: risking an openness to something bigger than ourselves --something from which we are made and yet without which we are not complete, our origin and our completion" (p. 149).
"If there's an idea that helps you understand the meaning behind actual stuff, then it's great. If it doesn't, I don't give a shit about it" (p. 208)....more
A flat "disc" world; characters who SPEAK IN ALL CAPS; an anthropomorphic Death; even a turtle large enough to be mistaken for an island (though not nA flat "disc" world; characters who SPEAK IN ALL CAPS; an anthropomorphic Death; even a turtle large enough to be mistaken for an island (though not nearly so large as Great A'Tuin). Oh, and the unique Pratchett humor--though it's more on the level of twice a page than every other sentence at this stage. These are just the more obvious examples of Terry Pratchett's early experimentation with settings, styles, and motifs in this 1981 sci-fi novel that he'd continue to really like, and refine into hallmarks of his later fantasy work. The "big questions" that Pratchett would continue to explore in his later works come through as well--such as interspecies relationships among sapient beings (i.e., "what does it really MEAN to be 'friends' with an 'alien'?, etc.). Don't get me wrong, this is a standalone book that is worth reading on its own merits, and not just as part of an attempt to explore the--shall we say--"strata" of Pratchett's early thought. I think the worldbuilding and specifically sci-fi work he does in this book is clever, even while I simultaneously think--"Yeah, I can see why he switched to fantasy--sustaining a 'discworld' in the real universe is a hell of a lot of work!"
I will note that Pratchett's treatment of the main human character's sexuality is problematic in regards to the multiple unchallenged assertions by her male companion that she could "always" trade sex for survival on the disc, if all else failed. But I note this in the context of him crafting two strong, complex, and otherwise-not-defined-by-sexuality-in-the-male-gaze female characters to be the two MAIN characters in the storyline. So I have the concern described above, but I'm generally pleased by Pratchett's crafting of the female main characters in this work....more
"In reality all you've written about are men who have betrayed Jesus but then weep tears of regret after the cock crows three times. You've always avo"In reality all you've written about are men who have betrayed Jesus but then weep tears of regret after the cock crows three times. You've always avoided writing about the mob, intoxicated with pleasure as they hurled stones at him" (p. 228)....more
"She had all the elements of power save the motive for doing anything in particular" (p. 146).
"She remembered the rector in Mrs. VWEB DuBois is woke.
"She had all the elements of power save the motive for doing anything in particular" (p. 146).
"She remembered the rector in Mrs. Vanderpool's library, and his question that revealed unfathomable depths of ignorance: 'Really, now, how do you account for the distressing increase in crime among your people?'" (p. 214).
"He realized that in Bles and Zora he was dealing with a younger class of educated black folk, who were learning to fight with new weapons...They must be crushed, and crushed quickly" (p. 239).
Picked up and put down more than once - another one for the donation pile. I typically have a hard time ploughing through collections of nonfiction esPicked up and put down more than once - another one for the donation pile. I typically have a hard time ploughing through collections of nonfiction essays that are all by one author....more
I read a couple chapters a few years ago, lost interest, and never picked it back up again, so I'm clearing it off my shelf as part of my pre-New YearI read a couple chapters a few years ago, lost interest, and never picked it back up again, so I'm clearing it off my shelf as part of my pre-New Year's cleaning. Fun fact: Although I didn't finish his book, I have met Rev. Scotty in passing and liked him....more
"It occurred to me that there was something false about the way Mary was so often depicted as a passive sufferer. I no longer believed that. Mary is n"It occurred to me that there was something false about the way Mary was so often depicted as a passive sufferer. I no longer believed that. Mary is not passive. The image we've been shown has truth, but it is a limited truth...A woman rising up against authority, a woman strong and fearless, a ferocious woman, an independent woman, an heroic woman, a physically courageous woman--to have seen Mary this way would not have served the social order. I began to imagine Mary very differently...This is a Mary that we need now, a fierce Mary, a terrific Mary, a fearsome Mary, a protectress who does not allow her children to be hunted, tortured, murdered, and devoured" (p. 275).
"The witness is one who looks, who does not turn away, who does not despair or give up, who is willing to be called upon, who will speak up and testify in public, who will take an oath, who will bind themselves to the truth, 'so help me God,' to the community, for the community, for without the witness there can be no community" (p. 277).
"Standing in the auditorium doorway, it occurred to me that we, myself included, rush to aid the Tibetans in their struggle with the Chinese, not seeing that what the Chinese are doing to the Tibetans, we have already done to the Native Americans. We've killed their people, their languages, broken treaties, stolen lands, usurped them, displaced them, imprisoned them, plied them with alcohol, low-paying, unsafe jobs, very much like what the Chinese have done and continue to do to the Tibetans" (p. 329).
"When Stacey Merkt was indicted, she gave a statement that I read years ago and have never forgotten: 'We United States citizens will have no excuse. We will never be able to say, "I never saw, I never heard, I never knew"--that we set a house on fire and locked the door'" (p. 265)....more
Got twenty pages in...and was like, nah. Not in the mood today for yet another story of a white male hero with super-abilities and a melodramatic pastGot twenty pages in...and was like, nah. Not in the mood today for yet another story of a white male hero with super-abilities and a melodramatic past shot to the top of an overrefined caste system, "freedom fighter" or no--nor for writing that feels like someone creating a book-length version of a sci-fi TV show while sitting on their couch with a pencil and pad.
Also, this feels to me like some weird combination of The Hunger Games and Harry PotterEnder's Game* with a protagonist that reminds me of Kvothe (in The Name of the Wind). Set on Mars, of course.
*Footnote: You know, the classic "let-me-go-away-to-wizarding/battle-school-or-whatevs"-type book.
“You know I used to hang around in the theater an’ that,” said Sardines quietly. “And you pick up stuff in the theater. And the thing is . . . Look, w“You know I used to hang around in the theater an’ that,” said Sardines quietly. “And you pick up stuff in the theater. And the thing is . . . Look, what I’m saying is, you’re the leader, right? So you got to act like you know what you’re doing, okay? If the leader doesn’t know what he’s doing, no one else does, either.” “I only know what I’m doing when I’m dismantling traps,” said Darktan. “All right, think of the future as a great big trap,” said Sardines. “With no cheese.” “That is not a lot of help!”
Dangerous Beans raised his head. “Because, you see, you just think for many rats,” he said. “But you don’t think of them. Nor are you, for all that you say, the Big Rat. Every word you utter is a lie. If there is a Big Rat, and I hope there is, it would not talk of war and death. It would be made of the best we could be, not the worst that we are. No, I will not join you, liar in the dark. I prefer our way. We are silly and weak sometimes. But together we are strong. You have plans for rats? Well, I have dreams for them.”...more