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At the Cross-Time Jaunters’ Ball (1987)
- All page numbers from the reprint in Gardner Dozois (ed.), The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection, ISBN 0-312-01854-1
- From a half-open window came the sound of a drinking song, bellowed by male voices to the accompaniment of pounding pewter mugs. Merchants, home from the Bourse and ready to do their best to keep the price of malted barley high.
- p. 96
- I’ve had fellow critics tell me that, when they work in Shadow, they stay in the sleaziest fleabags they can find, because that makes the experience more “real.” I don’t find lice more real, in any ultimate sense, than satin sheets.
- p. 96
- I felt a surge of annoyance. The palace was a monstrosity. It had towers, with pennants snapping in the breeze. It had triumphal staircases. It had flying buttresses. It had colonnades. What it didn’t have was structure. It looked like an immense warehouse of architectural spare parts.
- p. 101
- Critics should never socialize with artists; it’s difficult enough to like their work in the first place.
- p. 101
- “Ah, ‘The Suffering Critic.’ The work to gladden the heart of any artist.”
- p. 106
- “Rye, beef, and mustard. There are some aesthetic verities that transcend reality. The field of gustatory ontology has been much neglected by philosophers.”
“So much the worse for ontology,” I said, settling down to lunch with as much grace as I could muster. I really was quite hungry.
“So much the worse for philosophers! All this Truth and Beauty stuff is fine, but it obscures the real issues. Rye bread! I try never to create a world in which it cannot be found. One must have an absolute aesthetic criterion to give an anchor to one’s life.”
There are worse ones, I suppose.
- p. 112