You who are dead ... tonight you will disport yourselves for my pleasure. Food and wine will pass between your dead lips, though you will not taste it. Your dead stomachs will hold it within you, while your dead feet take the measure of a dance. Your dead mouths will speak words that will have no meaning to you, and you will embrace one another without pleasure. You will sing for me if I wish it. You will lie down again when I will it.... Let the revelry begin.
Dwelling beside a body of water is tonic for the weary psyche. Sea smells, sea birds, seawrack, sands - alternately cool, warm, moist and dry - a taste of brine and the presence of the rocking, slopping bluegraygreen spit-flecked waters, has the effect of rinsing the emotions, bathing the outlook, bleaching the conscience.
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The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either.
Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it happened yesterday, though, you can nod or chuckle, as the case may be. You've crossed through nothingness or dream to another island in Time.
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I guess you have to be a little arrogant to be a writer. I decided early on that just because a lot of other writers were bothered by getting bad reviews didn't really mean that the things were particularly important. By the same token, the good ones didn't mean all that much either. So I just forget about reviews and I wrote what I wanted.
Then every man would be as a god, you see. The result of this, of course, would be that there would no longer be any gods, only men. We would give them knowledge of the sciences and the arts, which we possess, and in so doing we would destroy their simple faith and remove all basis for their hoping that things will be better-for the best way to destroy faith or hope is to let it be realized.
In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I sometimes fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils; and on that great Day of which the prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on the day the world is utterly cleansed of evil, then I too will go down into darkness, swallowing curses. Until then, I will not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.
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Then the one called Raltariki is really a demon?" asked Tak. "Yes-and no, " said Yama, "If by 'demon' you mean a malefic, supernatural creature, possessed of great powers, life span and the ability to temporarily assume virtually any shape-then the answer is no. This is the generally accepted definition, but it is untrue in one respect." "Oh? And what may that be?" "It is not a supernatural creature." "But it is all those other things?" "Yes." "Then I fail to see what difference it makes whether it be supernatural or not-so long as it is malefic, possesses great powers and life span and has the ability to change its shape at will." "Ah, but it makes a great deal of difference, you see. It is the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, between science and fantasy-it is a matter of essence. The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable.
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You are one of the few successful persons I know." "Me? Why?" "You know precisely what you are doing and you do it well." "But I don't really do much of anything." "And of course the quantity means nothing to you, nor the weight others place upon your actions. In my eyes, that makes you a success." "By not giving a damn? But I do, you know." "Of course you do, of course you do! But it is a matter of style, an awareness of choice-
I was not always that way, but perhaps the shadow Earth, where I spent so many years, mellowed me a bit, and maybe my hitch in the dungeons of Amber reminded me somewhat of the quality of human suffering. I do not know. I only know that I could not pass by the hurt I saw on the form of someone much like someone who had once been a friend.
Time means a lot to me, paperwork wastes it, and I have always been a firm believer in my right to do anything I cannot be stopped from doing. Which sometimes entails not getting caught at it. This is not quite so bad as it sounds, as I am a decent, civilized, likable guy. So, shading my eyes against the blue and fiery afternoon, I began searching for ways to convince the authorities of this. Lying, I decided, was probably best.
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Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant -you just don't know which. You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place. Trust your demon.
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Good evening, Lord Corwin, ' said the lean, cadaverous figure who rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around it. Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?' A rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful.' You enjoy this duty?' He nodded. I am writing a philosophical romance shot through with elements of horror and morbidity. I work on those parts down here.
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Collins and Morales represent a segment of society which, if attacked with the weapons society sanctions, one finds buffered by innumerable layers of law, bureaucracy, lies, evasions. They rest secure within their palaces, confident that they possess defenses against all possible attacks within the rules of the game, yet willing to violate those rules themselves... We both know that although it is not listed in the rules, a player can end the game by kicking over the board and throttling his opponent.
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Years have passed, I suppose. I'm not really counting them anymore. But I think of this thing often: Perhaps there is a Golden Age someplace, a Renaissance for me sometime, a special time somewhere, somewhere but a ticket, a visa, a diary-page away. I don't know where or when. Who does? Where are all the rains of yesterday? In the invisible city? Inside me? It is cold and quiet outside and the horizon is infinity. There is no sense of movement. There is no moon, and the stars are very bright, like broken diamonds, all.
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I feel obligated to point out, though, that I have always been a sucker for ideas I find aesthetically pleasing. The cosmic sweep of the thing - an interstellar kula chain - affirming the differences and at the same time emphasizing the similarities of all the intelligent races in the galaxy - tying them together, building common traditions... The notion strikes me as kind of fine.
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It was almost a mystical experience. I do not know how else to put it. My mind outran time as he neared, and it was as though I had an eternity to ponder the approach of this man who was my brother. His garments were filthy, his face blackened, the stump of his right arm raised, gesturing anywhere. The great beast that he rode was striped, black and red, with a wild red mane and tail. But it really was a horse, and its eyes rolled and there was foam at its mouth and its breathing was painful to hear. I saw then that he wore his blade slung across his back, for its haft protruded high above his right shoulder. Still slowing, eyes fixed upon me, he departed the road, bearing slightly toward my left, jerked the reins once and released them, keeping control of the horse with his knees. His left hand went up in a salute-like movement that passed above his head and seized the hilt of his weapon. It came free without a sound, describing a beautiful arc above him and coming to rest in a lethal position out from his left shoulder and slanting back, like a single wing of dull steel with a minuscule line of edge that gleamed like a filament of mirror. The picture he presented was burned into my mind with a kind of magnificence, a certain splendor that was strangely moving. The blade was a long, scythe like affair that I had seen him use before. Only then we had stood as allies against a mutual foe I had begun to believe unbeatable. Benedict had proved otherwise that night. Now that I saw it raised against me I was overwhelmed with a sense of my own mortality, which I had never experienced before in this fashion. It was as though a layer had been stripped from the world and I had a sudden, full understanding of death itself.
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He continued to move forward, skirting a pocket of radiation that had not died in the four years since last he had come this way. They came upon a place where the sands were fused into a glassy sea, and he slowed as he began its passage, peering ahead after the craters and chasms it contained. Three more rockfalls assailed him before the heavens split themselves open and revealed a bright-blue light, edged with violet. The dark curtains rolled back toward the Poles, and the roaring and the gunfire reports diminished. A lavender glow remained in the north, and a green sun dipped toward the horizon at his back. They had ridden it out, and he killed the infras, pushed back his goggles, and switched on the normal night lamps. The desert would be bad enough, all by itself. Something big and batlike swooped through the tunnel of his lights and was gone. He ignored its passage. Five minutes later it made a second pass, this time much closer, and he fired a magnesium flare. A black shape, perhaps forty feet across, was illuminated, and he gave it two five-second bursts from the fifty-calibers, and it fell to the ground and did not return again. To the squares, this was Damnation Alley. To Hell Tanner, this was still the parking lot.
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If it will give you any satisfaction in the end, I still care for you. Either there is no such thing as love, or the word does not mean what I have thought it to mean on many different occasions. It is a feeling without a name, really-better to leave it at that. So take it and go away and have your fun with it. You know that we would both be at one another's throats again one day, as soon as we run out of common enemies. We had many fine reconciliations, but were they ever worth the pain that preceded them? Know that you have won and that you are the goddess I worship-for are not worship and religious awe a combination of love and hate, desire and fear?
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After a while the business end of writing takes too much of the writing time. Better to pay someone ten percent and find that you're still more than ten percent ahead in the end. Which is true. My present agent says that he always feels that a good agent during the course of a year should earn back for his client at least the ten percent he takes by way of commission, so the client's really nothing out. And what he should ideally do is make him more money than the ten percent.
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Nick swore he'd die with this boots on, on some exotic safari, but he found his Kilimanjaro in a hospital on Earth, where they'd cured everything that was bothering him, except for the galloping pneumonia he'd picked up in the hospital. That had been, roughly, two hundred and fifty years ago. I'd been a pallbearer.
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I walked among Shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably manlike, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice-sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother. I felt like the dee-jay of your choice.
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Good evening, Lord Corwin,' said the lean, cadaverous figure who rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around it. Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?' A rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful.' You enjoy this duty?' He nodded. I am writing a philosophical romance shot through with elements of horror and morbidity. I work on those parts down here.
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A bizarrerie of fires, cunabulum of light, it moved with a deft, almost dainty deliberation, phasing into and out of existence like a storm-shot piece of evening; or perhaps the darkness between the flares was more akin to its truest nature swirl of black ashes assembled in prancing cadence to the lowing note of desert wind down the arroyo behind buildings as empty yet filled as the pages of unread books or stillnesses between the notes of a song.
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If you ever loved anything in your life, try to remember it. If you ever betrayed anything, pretend for a moment that you have been forgiven. If you ever feared anything, pretend for an instant that those days are gone and will never return. Buy the lie and hold to it for as long as you can. Press your familiar, whatever its name, to your breast and stroke it till it purrs.
I worked out a book which I thought was just straight science fiction -- with everything pretty much explained, and suddenly I got an idea which I thought was kind of neat for working in a mythological angle. I'm really struggling with myself. It would probably be a better book if I include it, but on the other hand I don't always like to keep reverting to it. I think what I'm going to do is vary my output, do some straight science fiction and some straight fantasy that doesn't involve mythology, and composites.
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I read Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha' while I was writing 'Lord of Light' along with many other things. It seemed a good time to read it so I could see what he had to say about Buddha. In my first chapter, I was thinking in terms of the big battle scene in the 'Mahabarata.' It helped me in visualizing the battle in my novel.
I have a fondness for technology. It's great to spend hours puttering around with mechanical things gotten from junkyards and visualizing what their use might be. Especially if you come across a gadget or tool and you don't know what it is and you try to figure it out. I'm fascinated by processes, whatever they might be.