The City & the City Quotes

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The City & the City The City & the City by China Miéville
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The City & the City Quotes Showing 1-30 of 35
“Books are always obviously having conversations with other books, and some times they're amiable and sometimes not.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“Is it more childish and foolish to insist that there is a conspiracy or that there is not?”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“He walked with equipoise, possibly in either city. Schrödinger’s pedestrian.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“We would never call inexplicable little insights 'hunches,' for fear of drawing the universe's attention. But they happened, and you knew you had been in the proximity of one that had come through if you saw a detective kiss his or her fingers and touch his or her chest where a pendant to Warsha, patron saint of inexplicable inspirations, would, theoretically, hang.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“There is no case,” he told her. “There’s a series of random and implausible crises that make no sense other than if you believe the most dramatic possible shit. And there’s a dead girl at the end of it all.”
China Miéville, The City & The City
“From that historically brief quite opaque moment, came the chaos of our material history, an anarchy of chronology, of mismatched remnants that delighted and horrified investigators.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“While yes we can both agree the sudden recovery of this footage smells not a little, and that we appear to be bits of tinfoil-on-string to some malevolent government kitten, yes yes yes but, Borlu, however they've come by this evidence, this is the correct decision.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“You cannot train yourself to successfully and sustainedly unsee and unhear — you do them all the time, but they also fail, repeatedly, and you cheat, repeatedly, in all sorts of small ways. The book mentions that several times. It is absolutely about absolute fidelity to those particular urban protocols, exaggerations or extrapolations of the ones that I think are all around us all the time in the real world; but it's also about cheating them, and failing them, and playing a little fast and loose, which I think is an inextricable part of such norms.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
tags: cities
“His fidelity to the cliche transcended the necessity to communicate.”
China Mieville, The City & the City
“Interstiality is a theme that is simultaneously genuinely interesting and potentially quite useful, and also a terrible cliché, so if you're going to use it, it helps to be at least respectfully skeptical about the wilder claims of its theoretical partisans, I think.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“…where the two cities are close up they make for interference patterns, harder to read or predict. They are more than a city and a city; that is elementary urban arithmetic.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“Like any dissidents they were neurotic archivists. Agree, disagree, show no interest in or obsess over their narrative of history, you couldn't say their didn't shore it up with footnotes and research.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“A common form of establishment, for much of Besźel’s history, had been the DöplirCaffé: one Muslim and one Jewish coffeehouse, rented side by side, each with its own counter and kitchen, halal and kosher, sharing a single name, sign, and sprawl of tables, the dividing wall removed. Mixed groups would come, greet the two proprietors, sit together, separating on communitarian lines only long enough to order their permitted food from the relevant side, or ostentatiously from either and both in the case of freethinkers. Whether the DöplirCaffé was one establishment or two depended on who was asking: to a property tax collector, it was always one.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“Volunteering’s an early and strong indication that you’re not suited,” he said.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“But pass through Copula Hall and she or he might leave Beszel, and at the end of the hall come back to exactly (corporeally) where they had just been, but in another country, a tourist, a marvelling visitor, to a street that shared the latitude-longitude of their own address, a street they had never visited before, whose architecture they had always unseen, to the Ul Qoman house sitting next to and a whole city away from their own building, unvisible there now they had come through, all the way across the Breach, back home.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“...If she were studying Orciny, and there might be excellent reasons to do so, she'd be doing her doctorate in Folklore or Anthropology or maybe Comp Lit. Granted, the edges of disciplines are getting vague. Also that Mahalia is one of a number of young archaeologists more interested in Foucault and Baudrillard than in Gordon Childe or in trowels.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“We are all philosophers here where I am, and we debate among many other things the question of where it is that we live. On that issue I am a liberal. I live in the interstice yes, but I live in both the city and the city.”
China Miéville, The City & The City
“If the techs are on it we're fine, but Briamiv and his buddy could fuck up a full stop at the end of a sentence.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
tags: humour
“But here’s the problem you’re not addressing. While yes we can both agree the sudden recovery of this footage smells not a little, and that we appear to be bits of tinfoil-on-string to some malevolent government kitten, yes yes yes but, Borlú, however they’ve come by the evidence, this is the correct decision.”
China Miéville, The City & The City
“At the social/political/ juridical, etc., level, the organizing principle was less to do with games and more to do with the nature of taboos—enormously powerful, often enormously arbitrary, and (crucially) regularly quietly broken, without undermining the fact of the taboo itself. That last element, I think, is sometimes underestimated in the discussions of cultural norms, where they are both asserted and breached. Both those elements are foundational.

— author interview”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“This is called data mining." She said the last words in English.
"Which of us is the canary?”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“The early years of a Bes (and presumably an Ul Qoman) child are intense learnings of cues. We pick up styles of clothing, permissible colours, ways of walking and holding oneself, very fast. Before we were eight or so most of us could be trusted not to breach embarrassingly and illegally, though licence of course is granted children every moment they are in the street. I was older than that when I looked up to see the bloody result of that breaching accident, and remember remembering those arcana, and that they were bullshit. In that moment when my mother and I and all of us there could not but see the Ul Qoman wreck, all that careful unseeing I had recently learned was thrown.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“There are parts where even individual trees are crosshatched, where Ul Qoman children and Besz children clamber past each other, each obeying their parents' whispered strictures to unsee the other.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“It's not just us keeping them apart. It's everyone in Beszel and everyone in Ul Qoma. Every minute, every day. We're only the last ditch: it's everyone in the cities who does most of the work. It works because you don't blink. That's why unseeing and unsensing are so vital. No one can admit it doesn't work. So if you don't admit it, it does. But if you breach, even if it's not your fault, for more than the shortest time ... you can't come back from that.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“These kind of rare situations were when one might glimpse Breach, performing what they did. Accidents and border-perforating catastrophes. The 1926 Earthquake, a grand fire. (There had once been a fire grosstopically close to my apartment. It had been contained in one house, but a house not in Besel, that I had unseen. So I had watched footage of it piped in from Ul Qoma, on my local TV, while my living-room windows had been lit by the fluttering red glow of it.) The death of an Ul Qoman bystander from a stray Bes bullet in a stickup. It was hard to associate those crises with this bureaucracy.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“shit, shit, shit.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“My task is changed: not to uphold the law, or another law, but to maintain the skin that keeps law in place. Two laws in two places, in fact.”
China Miéville, The City & The City
“The early years of a Bes (and presumably an Ul Qoman) child are intense learnings of cues. We pick up styles of clothing, permissible colours, ways of walking and holding oneself, very fast. Before we were eight or so most of us could be trusted not to breach embarrassingly and illegally, though licence of course is granted children every moment they are in the street.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“They looked like people-shaped clay in the moments before God breathed out.”
China Miéville, The City & the City
“«Si riferisce ai loro poteri magici? Vorrei, lo vorrei tanto. Ma anche così questi scavi sono incomparabili. La cultura materiale non ha nessun senso. Non esiste nessun’altra parte al mondo in cui si possa riportare alla luce quelli che sembrano oggetti della tarda antichità con bordi taglienti, reperti in bronzo bellissimi e compositi mischiati con materiale palesemente neolitico. Con questa roba è come se la stratigrafia andasse a farsi benedire. È stata usata come prova contro il matrix di Harris... erroneamente, ma capirà perché. Ecco perché questi scavi sono così popolari fra i giovani archeologi.”
China Miéville, The City & the City

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