The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is fantastic. It's volcanic and sexy and utterly unlike anything I've read before. It feels like the future in a dazzling way that has nothing to do with looking backward. It's been a long wait for a new novel from Mark Leyner, but worth it. Ten out of ten from me.
Volcanic action is essentially paroxysmal; yet Mr. Lyell will admit no greater paroxysms than we ourselves have witnessed-no periods of feverish spasmodic energy, during which the very framework of nature has been convulsed and torn asunder. The utmost movements that he allows are a slight quivering of her muscular integuments.
I felt like I was some kind of primitive spring-loaded machine, placed under far more tension than it had ever been built to sustain, about to blast apart at great danger to anyone standing nearby. I imagined my body parts flying off my torso in order to escape the volcanic core of unhappiness that had become: me.
He thought of trying to explain something he had recently noticed about himself: that if anyone insulted him, or one of his friends, he didn't really mind--or not much, anyway. Whereas if anyone insulted a novel, a story, a poem that he loved, something visceral and volcanic occurred within him. He wasn't sure what this might mean--except perhaps that he had got life and art mixed up, back to front, upside down.
He thought of trying to explain something he had recently noticed about himself: that if anyone insulted him, or one of his friends, he didn't really mind-or not much, anyway. Whereas if anyone insulted a novel, a story, a poem that he loved, something visceral and volcanic occurred within him. He wasn't sure what this might mean-except perhaps that he had got life and art mixed up, back to front, upside down.
I do not use airplanes. They strike me as unsporting. You can have an automobile accident-and survive. You can be on a sinking ship-and survive. You can be in an earthquake, fire, volcanic eruption, tornado, what you will-and survive. But if your plane crashes, you do not survive. And I say the heck with it.
More poignant for us, at Laetoli in Tanzania are the companionable footprints of three real hominids, probably Australopithecus afarensis, walking together 3.6 million years ago in what was then fresh volcanic ash. Who does not wonder what these individuals were to each other, whether they held hands or even talked, and what forgotten errand they shared in a Pliocene dawn?
Each of us, even the lowliest and most insignificant among us, was uprooted from his innermost existence by the almost constant volcanic upheavals visited upon our European soil and, as one of countless human beings, I can't claim any special place for myself except that, as an Austrian, a Jew, writer, humanist and pacifist, I have always been precisely in those places where the effects of the thrusts were most violent.
Anger clearly has its proper place at work, which is neither wholly absent nor ever present. The manager who is an emotional blank is just as hard to work for as the volcanic boss, and both can do great harm by setting an unhelpful example for what kind of emotional expression is expected and accepted.
The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland""a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth""can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth.
The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland-a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth-can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth.
Straight out of Blackpool, I'm William Regal. My rhymes so intense, they shouldn't be legal. My style is refined, not crude and crass. I'll keep you grounded, like volcanic ash. I'll take you down, rung by rung. I'm just like British Parliment; I'm completely hung. Straight-up gangsta trippin'. Yes, boy!
Somewhere in the sun-washed space between Southern California's hills of sand and the present desolate volcanic sprawl I was crossing, my legs had strengthened, but - invisibly - so had my will. The wisdom of my body had cultivated vibrantly since those sadness-drunken months after the rape when I'd felt so numbed by the hurt and shame that I didn't move further. No longer.
We're constantly re-evaluating the potential for life. We're finding it where we didn't think it could exist, such as volcanic vents and other extreme conditions like under arctic ice. We're finding life in these incredibly harsh and dynamic conditions, so we're having to re-evaluate our own ideas of what's possible on this planet alone.
From this height the sleeping city seems like a child's construction, a model which has refused to be constrained by imagination. The volcanic plug might be black Plasticine, the castle balanced solidly atop it a skewed rendition of crenellated building bricks. The orange street lamps are crumpled toffee-wrappers glued to lollipop sticks.
And silence. She liked the silence most of all. The silence in which the body, senses, the instincts, are more alert, more powerful, more sensitized, live a more richly perfumed and intoxication life, instead of transmuting into thoughts, words, into exquisite abstractions, mathematics of emotion in place of violent impact, the volcanic eruptions of fever, lust and delight.
Throughout the early Christian period, every great calamity - famine, earthquake, and plague - led to mass conversions, another indirect influence by which epidemic diseases contributed to the destruction of classical civilization. Christianity owes a formidable debt to bubonic plague and to smallpox, no less than to earthquake and volcanic eruptions.
I saw bubbling lava, and at the same moment I saw a reflection of a certain kind of inner turmoil. Because at the moment I looked into that crater, I slipped, and a large piece of volcanic rock took a hole out of my leg. The scar is still there 20, 30 years later. But it's one of those things that reminds you of the kind of risk or the kind of moment in order to push yourself.
what are you looking for? There is no Truth. There's only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust,stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend?
Nothing grows among its pinnacles; there is no shade except under great toadstools of sandstone whose bases have been eaten to the shape of wine glasses by the wind. Everything is flaking, cracking, disintegrating, wearing away in the long, inperceptible weather of time. The ash of ancient volcanic outbursts still sterilizes its soil, and its colors in that waste are the colors that flame in the lonely sunsets on dead planets.
I suppose it is submerged memories that give to dreams their curious air of hyper-reality. But perhaps there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream seems, paradoxically, much clearer. A pond becomes a lake, a breeze become a storm, a handful of dust is a desert, a grain of sulphur in the blood is a volcanic inferno. What manner of theater is it, in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter and audience?
Sebald Winfried Georg
I suppose it is submerged realities that give to dreams their curious air of hyper-reality. But perhaps there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream seems, paradoxically, much clearer. A pond becomes a lake, a breeze becomes a storm, a handful of dust is a desert, a grain of sulphur in the blood is a volcanic inferno. What manner of theater is it, in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter and audience?
Teenagers are bored. By everything. Show a teenager an actual volcanic eruption, in progress, featuring giant billowing clouds of smoke, hot rocks raining from the sky, lava flows destroying entire villages, etc., and the teenager, eyebrows arched with sarcasm, will look at you and say, "Gee, this is swell," then return to the rental car, turn on his portable CD player, and listen to a band called Stomach Contents.
Do these fuels result always and necessarily in one way from the decomposition of a pre-existing organic substance? Is it thus with the hydrocarbons so frequently observed in volcanic eruptions and emanations, and to which M. Ch. Sainte-Claire Deville has called attention in recent years? Finally, must one assign a parralel origin to carbonaceous matter and to hydrocarbons contained in certain meteorites, and which appear to have an origin foreign to our planet? These are questions on which the opinion of many distinguished geologists does not as yet appear to be fixed.
The fact that this chain of life existed [at volcanic vents on the seafloor] in the black cold of the deep sea and was utterly independent of sunlight-previously thought to be the font of all Earth's life-has startling ramifications. If life could flourish there, nurtured by a complex chemical process based on geothermal heat, then life could exist under similar conditions on planets far removed from the nurturing light of our parent star, the Sun.
Life is also busy transporting and overturning the soils of earth, the stones, and the minerals. The miles-long drifts of sea kelp that float along our coasts may carry hundreds of tons of volcanic boulders held in their roots. I have followed these streams of life over 300 km, and seen them strand on granite beaches, throwing their boulders up on a 9,000 year old pile of basalt, all the hundreds of tons of which were carried there by kelp.
What we want is another sample of life, which is not on our tree of life at all. All life that we've studied so far on Earth belongs to the same tree. We share genes with mushrooms and oak trees and fish and bacteria that live in volcanic vents and so on that it's all the same life descended from a common origin. What we want is a second tree of life. We want alien life, alien not necessarily in the sense of having come from space, but alien in the sense of belonging to a different tree altogether. That is what we're looking for, "life 2.0."
And as for the vague something - was it a sinister or a sorrowful, a designing or a desponding expression? - that opened upon a careful observer, now and then, in his eye, and closed again before one could fathom the strange depth partially disclosed; that something which used to make me fear and shrink, as if I had been wandering amongst volcanic-looking hills, and had suddenly felt the ground quiver, and seen it gape: that something, I, at intervals, beheld still; and with throbbing heart, but not with palsied nerves. Instead of wishing to shun, I longed only to dare - to divine it; and I thought Miss Ingram happy, because one day she might look into the abyss at her leisure, explore its secrets and analyse their nature.
We need to reach the millions who live in cities, the hundreds of thousands in industrial centers, the tens of thousands in medium-sized towns, the thousands in small towns, and the hundreds in villages -- all these at once. Like a volcanic eruption, a spiritual revolution needs to spread through the country, to spur people to crucial decisions. People have to recognize the futility of splitting life up into politics, economics, the humanities, and religion. We must be awakened to a life in which all of these things are completely integrated.
By death the moon was gathered in Long ago, ah long ago; Yet still the silver corpse must spin And with another's light must glow. Her frozen mountains must forget Their primal hot volcanic breath, Doomed to revolve for ages yet, Void amphitheatres of death. And all about the cosmic sky, The black that lies beyond our blue, Dead stars innumerable lie, And stars of red and angry hue Not dead but doomed to die.
The Brinktown jail is one of the most ingenious ever propounded by civic authorities. It must be remembered that Brinktown occupies the surface of a volcanic butte, overlooking a trackless jungle of quagmire, thorn, eel-vine skiver tussock. A single road leads from city down to jungle; the prisoner is merely locked out of the city. Escape is at his option; he may flee as far through the jungle as he sees fit: the entire continent is at his disposal. But no prisoner ever ventures far from the gate; and, when his presence is required, it is only necessary to unlock the gate and call his name.
No weekends for the gods now. Wars flicker, earth licks its open sores, fresh breakage, fresh promotions, chance assassinations, no advance. Only man thinning out his own kind sounds through the Sabbath noon, the blind swipe of the pruner and his knife busy about the tree of life... Pity the planet, all joy gone from this sweet volcanic cone; peace to our children when they fall in small war on the heels of small war - until the end of time to police th eearth, a ghost orbiting forever lost in our monotonous sublime.
you make me laugh, with your metaphysical anguish, its just that you're scared silly, frightened of life, of men of action, of action itself, of lack of order. But everything is disorder, dear boy. Vegetable, mineral and animal, all disorder, and so is the multitude of human races, the life of man, thought, history, wars, inventions, business and the arts, and all theories, passions and systems. Its always been that way. Why are you trying to make something out of it? And what will you make? what are you looking for? There is no Truth. There's only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust, stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend?
Haven't you got it through your head that human thought is a thing of the past and that philosophy is worse than Bertillon's guide to harassed cops? You make me laugh with your metaphysical anguish, it's just that you're scared silly, frightened of life, of men of action, of action itself, of lack of order. But everything is disorder, dear boy. Vegetable, mineral and animal, all disorder, and so is the multitude of human races, the life of man, thought, history, wars, inventions, business and the arts, and all theories, passions and systems. It's always been that way. Why are you trying to make something out of it? And what will you make? What are you looking for? There's no truth. There's only action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction. Life. Life is a crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust, stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. What can you do about it, my poor friend?
And now that we exercise so comprehensive a medical and technological mastery over whole regions or nature at whose mercy our ancestors lived out their lives, we enjoy the unprecedented luxury of being able to render the 'natural' at once remote and benign. It is we who summon it, rather than the reverse, and we do so at our pleasure; it dwells with us, not we with it. We are free to sentimentalize or romanticize it, or even weave a veil of empty and unthreatening sanctity around it - until the moment when disease, age, infirmity, or random violence suddenly defeats us, or fire, flood, tempest, volcanic eruption, or earthquake surprise us by vaulting past our defenses. Then nature astonishes and horrifies us with its power, immensity, and sublime indifference. Even at such times, though, it is unlikely that we truly hate it; ours is a disenchanted world because it is one from which our love, reverence, dread, and hatred have all been irrevocably alienated. Nature for us is a single, internally consistent thing, an event, lovely and enticing, then terrible and pitiless, abundant and destructive at once, but moved neither by will nor by intelligence; it is sheer fact.
David Bentley Hart
The calm skies that drifted above us lulled us into thinking this traversee would be smooth, but after several hours, the unsteady sea had taken its toll on me and after a light lunch and a brief swim in the open sea failed to do so, I attempted to remedy my mal de mer with rest. When I awoke, the sun had already set and the cool air and soft light of twilight helped recalibrate my disoriented thoughts. Although my seasickness had subsided, I lay starboard side facing the heavens - that were now a deep shade of purple - so as to not provoke another episode. We set to anchoring behind several large volcanic pillars just a stone's-throw away from where the Tyrrhenian Sea kissed the east of the island. A handful of wishes scattered the skies as we approached the shores of Aci Trezza. As these stars traced their dying song across the void above, part of me felt ashamed for even entertaining the notion of wishing upon a star, but that voice was speedily silenced by words He had once shared with me in Scotland: 'There is always some truth to fiction.
The right place; that was what he was looking for. The right place. Place was all important, place meant everything. Take this rock... "Take you, rock," he said. He squinted at it. Ah yes, here we have the nasty big flat rock, sitting doing nothing, just amoral and dull, and it sits like an island in the polluted pool. The pool is a tiny lake on the little island, and the island is in a drowned crater. The crater is a volcanic crater, the volcano forms part of an island in a big inland sea. The inland sea is like a giant lake on a continent and the continent is like an island sitting in the seas of the planet. The planet is like an island on the sea of space within its system, and the system floats within the cluster, which is like an island in the sea of the galaxy, which is like an island in the archipelago of of its local group, which is an island within the universe; the universe is like an island floating in a sea of space in the Continua, and they float like islands in the Reality, and... But down through the Continua, the Universe, the Local Group, the Galaxy, the Cluster, the System, the Planet, the Continent, the Island, the Lake, the Island... the rock remained. AND THAT MEANT THE ROCK, THE CRAPPY AWFUL ROCK HERE WAS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, THE CONTINUA, THE WHOLE REALITY!
Iain M. Banks
Are these black cats like the hare?" "No. They're smaller; they only want me to play with them. Fly away with them to a place on the other side of the moon. There's a garden there, all silvery-gold, and the cats and hares dance and jump round and round. They can jump so much farther than they can on earth; it's like flying, and they love it so. Sometimes I've felt as if I'd like to dance and jump through the air too, they looked so happy, and I've thought maybe if I did I wouldn't be afraid any more, but when I look they're all dancing round a Figure that sits still in the middle of the garden. A big black Figure with a hood on. And It hasn't got any face. Its face is so awful that It keeps it covered. And then I get so terribly afraid. And everything stops." "And you see all that in the picture?" "I don't know." She hesitated again. "I think it's partly dreams. After I've thought they were at the windows - the cats and the big hare. They sit there and watch, you see, after I've gone to sleep. But they don't come often. I don't usually know what's there." She came closer and whispered, her blue eyes earnest and weird, "I don't think it's an animal hare. I think it's Aunt Sarai's hare, that maybe it came from hell. It isn't swearing to say that word just as the name of a place, is it? That's why people used to be so scared of witches' black cats, isn't it, because they thought they weren't earth-cats, they were from the devil? Mother says there isn't any hell or any witches. But Aunt Sarai was a witch; that's why she can come back. I think they've all been witches here; the house is mad because mother wouldn't be; that's why it wants me now." Carew said, "It was all dreams, Betty. There is no hell. There is no garden on the other side of the moon. It's a dead world, full of volcanic craters, with no air for anything to grow in or breathe. A hare frightened you and, being nervous, you've had nightmares about it - pictures that fear paints on your mind just as an artist would on canvas, with paints and brushes. "Every dream is now a movie we make for ourselves in our sleep...