”Now maybe I wouldn’t do it, but I was a child then,” said Oryx more softly. ”Why are you so angry?”
”I don’t buy it,” said Jimmy. Where was her rage, how far down was it buried, what did he have to do to dig it up?
”You don’t buy what?”
”Your whole fucking story. All this sweetness and acceptance and crap.”
”If you don’t want to buy that, Jimmy,” said Oryx, looking at him tenderly, “what is it that you would like to buy instead?”
- from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, pg 167
”[…] and I said to myself: Aha. George used to have a way of coping.”
”When?” I said, confused. ”You mean, when I was a kid?”
”Have you ever heard,” you said, “of the idea of the shadow self?”
Sure, I told you. It was one of the Jungian archetypes—one of the symbols of the collective unconscious. That was pretty much all I remembered from college.
”Not bad. Do you know what function it plays, in analysis?” you asked. I shook my head. You continued. ”The shadow is a frequent figure in dreams. It can appear as a kind of doppelgänger; an evil twin. It embodies our repressed desires. The dark stuff. The shameful stuff. The you-want-to-fuck-your-mother stuff.”
- from A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans, pg 48
Nursing a bottle from a half-floor above, Johnny Jukes stared at her and knew. She was all edges. She stood erect on the wall, like the scabbard of a sword. She did not slouch. Her clothes were crisp, like whole numbers. They were dark, except for her boots, which were red. Thorn of love. A screeching solo tore off a dozen dancers’ heads.
- from The Brains of Rats (short stories) by Michael Blumlein, pg 67
”Courtesy is the manner the strong adopt toward the weak. It is the recognition of their dominance.”
”Sometimes I am meek,” I said. ”Sometimes I’m quite shy.”
She gave me an exasperated look, as though I were a child who had strained the limits of her patience. ”You are a man, and men are outcasts. You are outcasts from the very world you made. The world you built on the bodies of other species. Of women.”
I did not want to argue with her. In a way she was right. Men have tamed the world.
- from The Brains of Rats (short stories) by Michael Blumlein, pg 15
Once the cells in a biological machine stop working, it can never be started again. It goes into a cascade of decay, falling toward disorder and randomness. Except in the case of viruses. They can turn off and go dead. Then, if they come in contact with a living system, they switch on and multiply.
- from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 194
C.J. had spoken longingly of finding the African termite queen, the glistening white sac that was half a foot long and as thick as a bratwurst, bursting with eggs and creamy insect fat, the queen you ate alive and whole, and she was said to twitch as she went down your throat.
-from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 188
He saw virus particles shaped like snakes, in negative images. They were white cobras tangled among themselves, like the hair of Medusa. They were the face of nature herself, the obscene goddess revealed naked. This life form thing was breathtakingly beautiful. As he stared at it, he found himself being pulled out of the human world into a world where moral boundaries blur and finally dissolve completely. He was lost in wonder and admiration, even though he knew that he was the prey.
- from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 149
One room in the hospital had not been cleaned up. No one, not even the nuns, had had the courage to enter the obstetric ward. When Joel Breman and the team went in, they found basins of foul water standing among discarded, bloodstained syringes. The room had been abandoned in the middle of childbirths, where dying mothers had aborted fetuses infected with Ebola. The team had discovered the red chamber of the virus queen at the end of the earth, where the life-form had amplified through mothers and their unborn children.
- from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 95
Occasionally they came to villages, and at each village they encountered a roadblock of fallen trees. Having had centuries of experience with the smallpox virus, the village elders had instituted their own methods for controlling the virus, according to their received wisdom, which was to cut their villages off from the world, to protect their people from a raging plague. It was reverse quarantine, an ancient practice in Africa, where a village bars itself from strangers during a time of disease, and drives away outsiders who appear.
- from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 94
”Nine out of ten humans killed? And you’re not bothered.”
A look of mysterious thoughtfulness crossed his face. ”A virus can be useful to a species by thinning it out,” he said.
A scream cut the air. It sounded nonhuman.
He took his eyes off the water and looked around. ”Hear that pheasant? That’s what I like about the Bighorn River,” he said.
”Do you find viruses beautiful?”
”Oh, yeah,” he said softly. ”Isn’t it true that if you stare into the eyes of a cobra, the fear has another side to it? The fear is lessened as you begin to see the essence of the beauty. Looking at Ebola under an electron microscope is like looking at a gorgeously wrought ice castle. The thing is so cold. So totally pure.” He laid a perfect cast on the water, and eddies took the fly down.
- from The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, pg 92