John Crowley (born 1 December 1942) is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction, most famous as the author of Little, Big (1981), which received the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
- The world is founded on a pillar which is founded on the Deep.
- The Deep (1975)
- What they learned [...] was to speak on the phones in such a way that your hearer couldn't help but understand what you meant, and in such a way that you, speaking, had no choice but to express what you meant, they learned to make speech — transparent, like glass, so that through the words the face is seen truly.
- Engine Summer (1979), chapter 1.4
- You ask for her secret, though you might not know that's what you're about; and she can't tell you without learning it herself. And she wants not to learn that secret.
- Engine Summer (1979), chapter 3.2
- One winter night when he was a boy … he first saw a ring around the moon. He stared up at it, immense, icy, half as wide as the night sky, and grew certain that it could only mean the End of the World. He waited thrilled in that suburban yard for the still night to break apart in apocalypse, all the while knowing in his heart that it would not: that there is nothing in this world not proper to it and that it contains no such surprises.
- Bk. 1, Ch. 1
- O great wide beautiful wonderful World
With the wonderful waters around you curled
And the beautiful grass upon your breast
O World you are beautifully dressed.
- Bk. 1, Ch. 2
- He knew there must be a Ring, and he patted his pocket where he had it; he thought there should be a Best Man, though when he wrote so to Daily Alice she wrote that they didn't believe in that; and as for Rehearsals, she said when he mentioned them, "Don't you want it to be a surprise?"
- Bk. 1, Ch. 4
- It seems to him that he extends backwards (or is it forwards?) without beginning (or is it end?) and he can't just now remember whether the great tales and plots which he supposes he knows and forever broods on lie in the to-come or lie dead in the has-been. But then suppose that's how secrets are kept, and age-long tales remembered, and unbreakable curses made too.
- Bk. 1, Ch. 4
- There wasn't any answer to that. So he tried harder, and the question got more circumstantial and tentative, and at the same time more precise and exact; and still there were no answers, only the fuller and fuller form of the question, evolving as Auberon had described to her all life evolving, reaching out limbs and inventing organs, reticulating joints, doing and being in more and more complex yet more and more compact and individuated ways, until the question, perfectly asked, understood its own answerlessness.
- Bk. 2, Ch. 1
- Seeing a woman's child is like seeing a woman naked, in the way it changes how her face looks to you, how her face becomes less the whole story.
- Bk. 2, Ch. 3
- She wondered whether her head were so big as to be able to contain all this starry universe, or whether the universe were so little that it would fit within the compass of her human head. She alternated between these feelings, expanding and diminishing. The stars wandered in and out of the vast portals of her eyes, under the immense empty dome of her brow; and then Smoky took her hand and she vanished to a speck, still holding the stars as in a tiny jewel box within her.
- Bk. 2, Ch. 4
- The immense laughter of Bruno when he understood that Copernicus had inverted the universe — what was it but joy in the confirmation of his knowledge that Mind, in the center of all, contains within it all that it is the center of? … the Universe exploded into infinitude, a circle of which Mind, the center, was everywhere and the circumference nowhere. The trick-mirror of finitude was smashed, Bruno laughed, the starry realms were a jewelled bracelet in the hand.
- Bk. 3, Ch. 4
- Sophie's hard first question to the cards had not, precisely, gone without an answer, it had been transmuted into questions about the question. It had branched and rooted like a tree, growing questions like buds, and then at some moment all the questions had become one question: what tree is this?
- Bk. 3, Ch. 4
- Just as a lamp waved in darkness creates a figure of light in the air, which remains for as long as the lamp repeats its motion exactly, so the universe retains its shape by repetition: the universe is Time's body. And how will we perceive this body? And how operate on it? Not by the means we perceive extension, relation, color, form — the qualities of Space. … No: but by the means we perceive duration and repetition and change: by Memory.
- Bk. 4, Ch. 3
- This was the problem: if what had to be discovered lay in the what-was-to-be, then they could discover that easily enough. It was what-had-been that was hard to keep in mind. That's the way it is for beings who are immortal or nearly so; they know the future, but the past is dark to them; beyond the present year is the door into aeons-ago.
- Bk. 4, Ch. 3
- "Love is a myth", Grandfather Trout said. "Like summer."
"In winter," Grandfather Trout said, "summer is a myth. A report, a rumor. Not to be believed in. Get it? Love is a myth. So is summer."
- Bk. 5, Ch. 4
- Lately Marge's memory had grown weak, which is to say that it no longer contained the past time on deposit there, it was not strong enough to keep shut up the moments, the mornings and evenings, of her long life, its seals broke, and her memories ran together mingling, indistinguishable from the present. Her memory had grown incontinent with age.
- Bk. 6, Ch. 3
- The vastest point, the center, the infinity — Faëry, where the gigantic heroes ride across endless landscapes and sail sea upon sea and there is no end to possibility — that circle is so tiny it has no doors at all.
- Bk. 6, Ch. 4
Four Freedoms (2009)
- There is a philosophical, or metaphysical position that can be taken–maybe its a scientific hypothesis–that the past cannot in fact exist. Everything that can possibly exist exists now. Things now may be expressive of some conceivable or describable past state of affairs, yes:but that's different from saying this this former state actually somehow exists in the form of "the past". Even in our memory[...]there is no past:no scenes preserved with all their sights and sounds. Merely fleeting states of mind, myriad points assembled for a moment to make a new picture (but "picture" is wrong too, too full, too fixed) of what we think are former states of things: things that once were, or may have been the case.
- We weren't where we were in those times because we had been thrown or moved there. We didn't think so. We felt we had impelled ourselves, like the faring pioneers and immigrants driving their wagons or pushing their barrows who somewhere somehow along the way stopped and settled. [...] True, in some places we stayed on where our fathers and mothers and grandfathers had first settled, but even so we were caught up in that motion if our parents and grandparents had happened to settle in places that those on the move were now headed for or drawn to—seemingly blown to, you might think seeing them, as by those cosmic tornadoes that lift a boy on a bicycle or a chicken coop full of chickens or a ford car with Gramps and Gram inside and set it down unharmed somewhere else.
- Part One, Chapter 5
- Prosper Olander had never been in a cathedral, but now he felt something like that, the experience of entering suddenly a space so large, so devoted to a single purpose, that the insides of the heart are drawn for a moment outward and into it, trying to fill it, and failing.
- Part One, Chapter 5
- Prosper's earliest memory was of hearing the enormous Hoover starting up somewhere in the house, brand-new then possibly, anyway unknown to him, an inexplicable noise at once a roar and shriek and coming closer; moving away; closer again, and evidently seeking him out where he lay in bed. Then to find the great gray floor-sucker thing entering his room, manipulated by his grim-faced mother, therefore not dangerous at all, maybe.
- Part Two, Chapter 2
- "Listen," she said. "I get off in an hour. Sit in the back. I'll see you then."
As though they'd agreed to this a long time ago. That was the sign, he was as yet unused to noticing it but he was learning: that sensation that the future has already happened and is only bringing itself about in staging these present moments.
- Part Two, Chapter 7
- You went around back, where in the playground kids were dangling from the jungle gym waiting for mothers; connie could feel their cold skinned knees and barked knuckles–Bunce always said that imagining pain and discomfort was worse for her than the real thing when it came, which it almost never did.
- Part Three, Chapter 1
- She couldn't see that, though, because the haze out at sea erased the ship long before it could beyond the horizon, drawing after it the other ships. Diane felt the thread of connection between her and Danny drawn out infinitely thin, until it broke with a hurt to her heart she'd known she'd have to feel, but worse than she thought it would be.
- Part Four, Chapter 2