It’s a fact as immutable as the Third Law of Sod that there is no such thing as a good Grand Vizier. A predilection to cackle and plot is apparently part of the job spec.

High priests tend to get put in the same category. They have to face the implied assumption that no sooner do they get the funny hat than they’re issuing strange orders, e.g., princesses tied to rocks for itinerant sea monsters and throwing little babies in the sea.

This is a gross slander. Throughout the history of the Disc most high priests have been serious, pious and conscientious men who have done their best to interpret the wishes of the gods, sometimes disembowelling or flaying alive hundreds of people in a day in order to make sure they’re getting it absolutely right.

Terry Pratchett, Pyramids

I think the world just broke.

Nobody’s fault. Things get old. They go funny. They get stuck like a pump or run backwards like a pocketwatch. You just try and use an old pistol that ain’t been looked after. It might click and whine and stick. It might blow you clean dead.

Catherynne M. Valente, The Shoot-Out at Burnt Corn Ranch Over the Bride of the World, from The Bread We Eat in Dreams
Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front—
G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
For, as the wise say, a sensible man looks after his garden, and a coward looks after his money; a just man cares about his city and a crazy man cares about the government; and a wise man studies the thickness of fern-fronds. — Angelica Gorodischer, Kalpa Imperial, trans. Ursula K. Le Guin

For, as the wise say, a sensible man looks after his garden, and a coward looks after his money; a just man cares about his city and a crazy man cares about the government; and a wise man studies the thickness of fern-fronds. — Angelica Gorodischer, Kalpa Imperial, trans. Ursula K. Le Guin

This is directed toward the three of you who actually know me and/or care about what I think! Everyone else can go back to reblogging sad pictures of snowy highways immediately. I started a book blog yesterday, hooray for me. I’m going to post about The Quincunx this Sunday, so you will definitely want to catch that if you are among the microscopic minority of people who like me and enjoy the prose stylings of Charles Palliser (possibly just ohveda).



read and hold a book however the fuck you want. crease it, bend it, flex it, crack the spine, fold the pages. reading is meant to be a joy, and you should be able to read the words. love the book and it will love you back. if some ass is giving you shit by telling you not to fold the book over when reading, hit them in the face with that book.

also please stop giving me shit about reading on my little ipad and e-mailing me that dick article about the smell of books and its resemblance to vanilla extract and how basking in the bibliotrophic stench makes you a morally superior person. if you want to hoard books like a fucking freak who never got over flunking out of grad school, go for it, but dusty, moldy old books give me asthma attacks. i’ll cart my own library around on an sd card, and if i want your advice on the correct way to live i’ll ask for it. #BETTY HAD SOME BITTER BUTTER

One of the two legends about the founding of Ankh-Morpork relates that the two orphaned brothers who built the city were in fact found and suckled by a hippopotamus (lit. “orijeple,” although some historians hold that this is a mistranslation of “orejaple,” a type of glass-fronted drinks cabinet). Eight heraldic hippos line the bridge, facing out to sea. It is said that if danger ever threatens the city, they will run away.
Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
They who believe in the influences of the stars over the fates of men, are, in feeling at least, nearer the truth than they who regard the heavenly bodies as related to them merely by a common obedience to an external law. All that man sees has to do with man. Worlds cannot be without an intermundane relationship. The community of the centre of all creation suggests an interradiating connection and dependence of the parts. Else a grander idea is conceivable than that which is already imbodied. The blank, which is only a forgotten life, lying behind the consciousness, and the misty splendour, which is an undeveloped life, lying before it, may be full of mysterious revelations of other connexions with the worlds around us, than those of science and poetry. No shining belt or gleaming moon, no red and green glory in a self-encircling twin-star, but has a relation with the hidden things of a man’s soul, and, it may be, with the secret history of his body as well. They are portions of the living house wherein he abides.
George MacDonald, Phantastes: A Faerie Romance

abraham lincoln: vampire hunter [1 of ?]

I’ve been reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It isn’t very good! I feel badly about that, because I wanted it to be good — I love Abraham Lincoln, and vampire hunters — but there isn’t much you can do when an author positively refuses to oblige your irrational prejudice in his favor. The most annoying infringement so far is the unsophisticated prose; the book reads like a decently-researched YA novel. I’m about eighty pages in and absolutely sure Abe’s going to have a sexual awakening any moment now, for example, which fills me with a kind of dread I didn’t know it was possible to experience outside the spiny fences of a prisoner-of-war camp. Also the vampires are pretty uninspiring! Abe learns of their existence from his lazy, illiterate, untrustworthy, and much-hated father, in a stupid story Lincoln pére babbles incoherently to Abe in the middle of the night after Nancy Hanks has been dead for months (it turns out a vampire killed her, slowly, for almost no reason, while Dad sat around with his thumb in his ass). Abe’s first slaying isn’t impressive, either: He summons the apparently retarded vampire who killed his mother to the family home, kills him, mumbles something Dirty Harry-like about making more stakes to dispatch the inevitable torrent of vampire avengers come to get even for their fallen comrade, and then wanders off. Meanwhile, Abe is experiencing FEELS, RE: SLAVERY. And he has AN AXE. Yes, I am afraid it’s that kind of novel.

I’m going to finish it because I started it, and also because I literally cannot wait to see how vampires will be responsible for Mary Todd’s madness (probably she will see a vampire eat a baby, or something, and we’re off) and the death of Abe’s sons. Apparently they are also responsible for the entire institution of slavery! That sounds exciting. Anyway, updates will be forthcoming.

Lincoln deserves a much finer postmodernist literary-horror tribute, in my opinion, but I suppose it’s almost impossible to outmaneuver the horrorshow of history, especially in a context like this one. (And to out-write Lincoln, one of the most artfully original prose stylists in American letters.) Maybe the movie will be better?