He keeps going, going, going on; his people groan and fall one after the other, but he keeps on going, going and in the end, perishes himself, but still remains the despot and tsar of the desert because the cross over his grave is visible to caravans thirty-forty miles away and reigns over the wasteland.
The desert could not be claimed or owned-it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names... Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape.
In recent weeks it has come to my attention that many caravans have met with disaster; they have not gotten through." I grunted wisely. "Probably ran out of water. That's the thing about deserts. Dry." "Indeed. A fascinating analysis. But survivors reaching Hebron report differently: monsters fell upon them in the wastes." "What, fell upon them in a squashed-them kind of way?" "More the leaped-out-and-slew-them kind. (...)
These days, we've got booksellers in cities, in deserts, and in the middle of a rain forest; we've got travelling bookshops, and bookshops underground. We've got bookshops in barns, in caravans and in converted Victorian railway stations. We've even got booksellers selling books in the middle of a war. Are bookshops still relevant? They certainly are. All bookshops are full of stories, and stories want to be heard.
In keeping with the Laws of the Prophet Bubba and the Code of the UIL, as set forth in the Book of First Downs, as the sun sets on Friday nights the rites of the Texas state religion are celebrated: high school, smash-mouth football. 'And lo, the children of Jim Bob do take to the roads in caravans and they do go up unto the stadium by tribes, the Indians of Groveton, the Panthers of Lufkin, the Mustangs of Overton, and the very Wildcats of Palestine, and who shall withstand the traffic jams thereof?' Thus is it written, and so it is and shall be.
Markham Shaw Pyle
Every age has its dreams, its symbols of romance. Past generations were moved by the graceful power of the great windjammers, by the distant whistle of locomotives pounding through the night, by the caravans leaving on the Golden Road to Samarkand, by quinqueremes of Nineveh from distant Ophir . . . Our grandchildren will likewise have their inspiration-among the equatorial stars. They will be able to look up at the night sky and watch the stately procession of the Ports of Earth-the strange new harbors where the ships of space make their planetfalls and their departures.
Arthur C. Clarke
Oh, it's mysterious lamplit evenings, here in the galaxy, one after the other. It's one of those nights when I wander from window to window, looking for a sign. But I can't see. Terror and a beauty insoluble are a ribband of blue woven into the fringes of garments of things both great and small. No culture explains, no bivouac offers real haven or rest. But it could be that we are not seeing something. Galileo thought that comets were an optical illusion. This is fertile ground: since we are certain that they're not, we can look at what scientists are saying with fresh hope. What if there are really gleaming castellated cities hung upside-down over the desert sand? What limpid lakes and cool date palms have our caravans passed untried? Until, one by one, by the blindest of leaps, we light on the road to these places, we must stumble in darkness and hunger.