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Jaroslav Kalfař is a Czech-American science fiction writer.
Spaceman of Bohemia (2017)
- All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Little, Brown & Company ISBN 978-0-316-27343-5
- The sections in the novel are not numbered. They are numbered here for ease of reference
- All italics in the original
- The organization of religion is self-defeating, a trap for sin.
- Chapter 3, “A Very Deep Fall” (p. 31)
- His conviction is a compulsion not subject to self-preservation.
- Chapter 3, “A Very Deep Fall” (p. 36)
- For what it’s worth, the sociocultural rituals of your society seem to be in conflict with biological reality.
- Chapter 4, “The Secrets of Humanry” (p. 40)
- The greatness of a nation is in its symbols, its gestures, in doing things that are unprecedented. It’s why the Americans are falling behind—they built a nation on the idea of doing new things, and now they’d rather sit and pray that the world won’t make them adapt too much.
- Chapter 4, “The Secrets of Humanry” (p. 47)
- The body must not be violated. This is the greatest truth of the universe.
- Chapter 4, “The Secrets of Humanry” (p. 57)
- In one book, your father is a hero. In another book, he is a monster. The men who don’t have books written about them have it easier.
- Chapter 5, “The Iron Shoe” (p. 65)
- I have visited a few astronauts, but all three either ignored me or prayed. The senseless chanting, I confess, repulsed me.
- Chapter 6, “Deep Surveillance” (p. 91)
- His presence was soothing, but his existence incomprehensible.
- Chapter 8, “Rusalka” (p. 110)
- Death would be so much easier to dance with if it weren’t surrounded by the clutter of civilization.
- Chapter 8, “Rusalka” (p. 126)
- I wonder which group I belong to. Can I be with the youth, the hedonists turning Prague into a playground of the Old Continent? Or does my destination, the science department of Univerzita Karlova, put me in with that other dreaded group, the adults, those who get up in the morning and know exactly how their day will unravel, those who live on the exchange system of work, awaiting their grave with quiet politeness?
- Chapter 9, “Prague in Spring” (p. 133)
- Being of use to the world doesn’t always mean having your name in the papers...My plea to you is, think beyond celebrity. Do you think Tesla cared if he had his picture taken? Think of whether you’re any good to anyone, truly.
- Chapter 9, “Prague in Spring” (p. 139; ellipsis represents elision of examples)
- The universe assigned the tasks of speaking and kissing to the lips because there is never a need to do both at the same time.
- Chapter 9, “Prague in Spring” (p. 150)
- What did you expect? the core asked me. No, I asked that of myself. Another projection. My desperation to ascribe personality and will to capricious outcomes of chaos. The true kings of the world, elements and particles, had no agenda except movement.
- Chapter 10, “The Claw” (p. 152)
- I wanted the basic needs of human existence—satiation of hunger, good health, love—to take on the shapes of small fruits we could plant and harvest. But who would be the plantation owners, and who the harvesters?
- Chapter 13, “Astronaut Dies for Country” (p. 192)
- “My father never did anything else after that,” Valerie said. “Mostly, he became a drunk. But a man only needs one thing to be proud of. It will carry him through the rest of his life.”
- Chapter 14, “No Penelope” (p. 216)
- I couldn’t exist here. In the world that had come into being due to my absence.
- Chapter 14, “No Penelope” (p. 239)
- Thus we never see the true State of our Condition, till it is illustrated to us by its Contraries; nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.
- Chapter 14, “No Penelope” (p. 239)
- “Do you feel free?”
“I feel like I’ve lost too much.”
“Freedom can feel that way.”
- Chapter 14, “No Penelope” (p. 240)
- In this future, we were free of systems. Other humans went on to become symbols, sacrificed their lives to serve. Other humans handled the torture, the coups, the healing. We simply sowed, harvested, and drank a bit before dinner. No one tried to take what was ours. We had too little. We were invisible, and in this slower life we were our own gods.
- Chapter 16, “Even the Sun Burns” (p. 271)