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352 pages, Kindle Edition
First published July 10, 2018
Neko’s familiar dreams lay open above me. Twists of color, scattered images: buildings, imagined cities, the people on the subway. She twitched among incomplete ideas. They spilled over the edges of everyday reality, coloring directions that she wasn’t able to travel. (Aphra is speaking of her Nisei internee "sister" from the camps.)
He separated his hands, unraveling finger from finger. (Ron Spector, gay FBI agent, is described here. He is a man torn and mended one too many times.)
A pale man, gangling in a tweed jacket, walked hunched as if against blistering wind, arms tight across his chest. He caught sight of an awning marked in Chinese characters and shuddered, hurrying on. (Lovecraft cameo! And bloody well perfect!)
Doesn’t Nyarlathotep tell even you to ask the most dangerous questions, and travel as far as you need, wherever you need, to find the answers?
(Nyarlathobuddha, sounds like to me.)
To accept, without trying to change, the errors of the universe. Worse, though, to let our haven enforce the illusion that the universe can always be altered. Architecture as debate. Very much my thrice-mate’s style. (Spoken by one of the Outer Ones allied with Aphra about the leader of the Outer Ones's opposition.)
We seek the civilizations capable of living with difference, who can look on the vast and variable universes without fear, who can recognize wisdom wherever it’s found.
They boast of all they’ve learned, but write nothing down and call their work finished when all they’ve done is talk. They see everything and learn nothing; they are an embarrassment to Nyarlathotep.
New York is full of immigrants and the United States is used to taking them in—we may be able to help you.
The city’s rhythm was constant when I paid it mind, but fickle in its effects. It could buoy me with excess energy, then wear me out a moment later with the pace of its million heartbeats.
Outside, the breeze brought relief: still rich with sweat and trash, but topped with the remnant of sugared pastry and the homesick scent of hot dogs.
New York, for all its height and humanity, was a breath from the ocean, and would pass in a geological instant.
We needed Nnnnnn-gt-vvv’s passivist faction to reassert their influence and to hold sway over what their species did on Earth.
You think we don’t understand family, but we do. We recognize many kinds of family, many kinds of connections that matter. We understand duties beyond obedience, and loyalty that can transcend species. We’re not the demons you think, tempting children away from the safe shadow of the gravestone. We serve a greater purpose too.
Ïa, Cthulhu, help me sleep in the shadow of others’ dreams. Teach me patience in the shadow of frustrated desire. Teach me stillness in the shadow of ever-changing threats.
What I find most interesting about this particular pattern of themes and the way they emerge in the novel is that the author presents a potential solution to a very real problem. We all want the world to be a better place. We want to vanquish oppression and fear, and be really, truly free. But in order to do that, we first need to be open and honest with the people around us about who we are and what we are, while at the same time being accepting of those differences. However, to get to that point, we need to work at it, because that’s just how the world works: nothing of true value can be had for free. We cannot simply wish a better world into being, nor can we start from scratch. We have to work with what we have – and since this imperfect, uncaring world is all we’ve got, we might as well start here, with what we can change: ourselves.