The thing’s breath was unbelievable, like a dead animal soaked in sewage and garlic wine. Was that what the digestion of words smelled like?
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- “Etched on his cuirass was a stylized scroll, symbol of the Living Library, surmounted by the phrase Auvidestes, Gerani, Molokare. The words were Alaurin, the ancient language of formal scholarship, and they formed the motto of the Librarians: RETRIEVE. RETURN. SURVIVE.”
- ‘I am not out of breath,’ I said between gasps. ‘I appear to be out of breath because you assume that I should be but in fact I have no breath to be out of. You see, although you imagine my form, I exist independently from it. Although I appear to be a postman, I am not a postman. I have taken a form that is appropriate for this meeting but I can take any form. My form is meaningful; it is symbolic of my nature. Like a postman, I am a messenger.
- “then it hit him, a sensation that would have been familiar to any aspirant ever graduated from the High University. The inherent magic of all undergraduates— the magic of the last minute. The power to embrace any solution, no matter how insane or desperate.”
- This is my fault for being the departmental computer guy: when the machines break, I wave my dead chicken and write voodoo words on their keyboards until they work again.
- “To become wise, they would have to learn the true meaning of their own doctrines, symbols, and books, of which they at present merely know the outward form and the dead letter. They would have to form a much higher and nobler conception of God than to invest Him with the attributes of semi-animal man.”