Justin Cronin

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Author Justin Cronin at the 2012 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas

Justin Cronin (born 1962) is an American author, known for writing The Passage Trilogy.


  • Before she became the Girl from Nowhere-the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years-she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.
  • I feel as if I've entered a new era of my life. What strange places our lives carry us to. What dark passages.
    • Dr. Jonas Lear
  • It was possible, he understood, for a person's life to become just a long series of mistakes, and that the end, when it came, was just one more mistake in a chain of bad choices. The thing was, most of these mistakes were actually borrowed from other people. You took their bad ideas, and for whatever reason, made them your own.
  • Richards remembered the day - that glorious and terrible day - watching the planes slam into the towers, the image repeated in endless loops. The fireballs, the bodies falling, the liquefaction of a billion tons of steel and concrete, the pillowing clouds of dust. The money shot of the new millennium, the ultimate reality show broadcast 24-7. Richards had been in Jakarta when it happened, he couldn't even remember why. He'd thought it right then; no, he'd felt it, right down to his bones. A pure, unflinching rightness. You had to give the military something to do of course, or they'd all just fucking shoot each other. But from that day forward, the old way of doing things was over. The war - the real war, the one that had been going on for a thousand years and would go on for a thousand thousand more - the war between Us and Them, between the Haves and the Have-Nots, between my gods and your gods, whoever you are - would be fought by men like Richards: men with faces you didn't notice and couldn't remember, dressed as busboys or cab drivers or mailmen, with silencers tucked up their sleeves. It would be fought by young mothers pushing ten pounds of C-4 in baby strollers and schoolgirls boarding subways with vials of sarin hidden in their Hello Kitty backpacks. It would be fought out of the beds of pickup trucks and blandly anonymous hotel rooms near airports and mountain caves near nothing at all; it would be waged on train platforms and cruise ships, in malls and movie theaters and mosques, in country and in city, in darkness and by day. It would be fought in the name of Allah or Kurdish nationalism or Jews for Jesus or the New York Yankees - the subjects hadn't changed, they never would, all coming down, after you'd boiled away the bullshit, to somebody's quarterly earnings report and who got to sit where - but now the war was everywhere, metastasizing like a million maniac cells run amok across the planet, and everyone was in it.
  • It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.
  • As long as we remember a person, they're not really gone. Their thoughts, their feelings, their memories, they become a part of us.
    • Bradford J. Wolgast
  • Mankind had built a world that would take a hundred years to die. A century for the last light to go out.
  • His gaze widened, then taking in the entirety of the camp. All these people: they were trapped. And not merely by the wires that surrounded them. Physical barricades were nothing compared to the wires of the mind. What had truly imprisoned them was one another. Husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and companions: what they believed had given them strength in their lives had actually done the opposite. Guilder recalled the couple who lived across the street from his townhouse, trading off their sleeping daughter on the way to the car. How heavy that burden must have felt in their arms. And when the end swept down upon them all, they would exit the world on a wave of suffering, their agonies magnified a million times over by the loss of her. Would they have to watch her die? Would they perish first, knowing what would become of her in their absence? Which was preferable? But the answer was neither. Love had sealed their doom. Which was what love did. Guilder's father had taught that lesson well enough.
    • Book II: The Familiar, Ch. 18
  • The mind works wondrously; it is capable of astonishing feats. It is the only machine in nature capable of thinking one thing while knowing its opposite. The bright, busy surface of life - that is the key. How easily it distracts us, like a magician who waves a wand with one hand while, with the other, he plucks a rabbit from his vest. Here is the golden morning, we say; here is the beautiful sea. Here is my beautiful home, my adoring wife, my morning cup of coffee, and my refreshing daybreak swim. We look no deeper into things because we do not desire this; neither are we meant to. That is the design of the world, to trick us into believing it is one thing, when it's entirely another.
    • Book I: The Last Beautiful Day, Ch. 1
  • It came as a pleasant shock to me, how the man I'd known as a rather dry intellectual transformed himself so completely into a craftsman - a man who actually made things that the world could put to practical use. Which only goes to show that people are more complicated than they let on, and that even tragedy (sometimes only tragedy) can open the door to who we really are.
    • Book I: The Last Beautiful Day, Ch. 2
  • As one moves out to sea, the world's dimensions change. While things on land grow distant, the sea increases in its expanse, made bluer and wilder; there is a taste of something grand in it. It makes one seem small but also connected to larger forces, part of a great planetary flow. I felt deeply inside the present moment, as if I'd entered a more authentic state of being.
    • Book II: The Storm, Ch. 9
  • In gravity's grip, one ceases to experience gravity at all. One feels oneself floating, untethered to the world's binding force; it is as free a state of being as one can experience in life.
    • Book IV: The Nursery, Ch. 25
  • A new sensation swept my body, strange and still. I would know death in this place. What did it mean, to die in a dream? Would it be the same? Would it be a plunge into unbeing, or would I yet find myself passing into some new realm? And the thought came to me that maybe Thea had been right after all, that it was and always would be impossible to know what was dream and what was not; that all creation was boxes within boxes within boxes, each the dream of a different god.
    • Book VII: The Man Who Broke the Sky, Ch. 39
  • So, at the last, a confession. I was the one who did it.
    Not the Nursery; that was Elise. But the rest of it. The Annex. The drones and watchmen. The splendid houses and grand edifices and endless, temperate days for the privileged few to pass in gentle ease while the unacknowledged masses labored in the shadows of their masters' pleasure. The dream of Prospera may have been Elise's; the design was mine from the start.
    Why did I do it? What thought possessed me that I should make one person's happy dream another's ceaseless nightmare? Better to ask: Who, having slumbered centuries in paradise, would willingly awaken to build a life from nothing, to hew it from the rock and ice of an alien world? To the colonists I say: I gave you what you needed, which was a weight to push against. A life you would be glad to leave, and a life to make you ready.
    Do you hate me for this? Surely I have earned your loathing. I will not ask you for forgiveness. For such a crime as mine, there can be no pardon, save for God's alone.
    • Book VIII: The Departed, Ch. 40
  • And to you, the sleepers in my keeping: you have lived for countless lifetimes, you shall live for countless more. They will be different from the ones you've always known; your days of idleness and ease are gone. This is not a punishment - far from it. It is my gift to you, that you should be redeemed.
    I will give you childhood, so that you might know innocence.
    Age, so you will know the prize of youth.
    Children, so that you will care for the future.
    Toil, so that you will know the value of a day.
    The body's failings, so that you will know its worth.
    Death, so that you will cherish the bittersweet beauty of life.
    We are, each of us, born a sparkling soul, clothed only in our newness; now you will learn to be another.
    • Book VIII: The Departed, Ch. 40
  • We are indeed such stuff as dreams are made on, our little life rounded with a sleep.
    Thus I beam this tale into the cosmos; this message in a bottle, tossed into heaven's waves. Perhaps there is no one to receive it. Perhaps there is but one mind left to listen: the mind behind all things, like a face beneath the painter's canvas. Whoever you are, in whatever form you take - time, matter, light - I ask one thing only: that you leave us as we are. Let us sleep, and dream, and do the work of being human.
    • Book VIII: The Departed, Ch. 40
  • He returns to the helm. A perfect stillness lies around him; all is bathed in starlight. He could easily doze off himself, so profound is his contentment. How like a dream it all is, he thinks; a perfect dream, this life. He sits that way for a time, watching over his beloveds as they sleep, and, when the moment seems right, brings the bow around, finds the air to fill his sail, and steers his boat towards home.
    • Epilogue: The Faces in the Stars
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