Keith Roberts

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Keith John Kingston Roberts (20 September 19355 October 2000) was an English science fiction author.


Pavane (1968)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published by Del Rey Impact Books. All ellipses in the original.
  • The years had a way of piling themselves one atop the next, unnoticed and uncounted; that was how young men turned into old ones.
    • First measure “The Lady Margaret” (pp. 15-16)
  • A death was more than an ending; it was like pulling a thread from a richly patterned cloth.
    • First measure “The Lady Margaret” (p. 17)
  • “Confession,” he said, “must be sincere. It must come from the heart. False confession, made to avoid the pain of Questioning, is useless to Church and God alike. Our aim is salvation; the salvation of the souls of these poor wretches in our charge, if necessary by the breaking of their bodies. Set against this, all else is straw in the wind.”
    • Third measure “Brother John” (pp. 108-109)
  • He like the Church he serves is blind and empty and vainglorious. This God they prattle on about, where’s His justice, where’s His compassion? Does it please Him to see dying people hounded in His name, does He snigger at His bumbling priests, is He satisfied when men drop dead chopping stone out for His temples, twisted little God dying tepid-faced on a cross....She thought, I’ll go out and look for other gods, and maybe they’ll be better and anyway they can’t be worse.
    • Fourth measure “Lords and Ladies” (p. 169)
  • She said faintly, “Are you...real?”
    Amusement showed in his face. “Real?” he said. “Define reality and I can answer you.” He waved a hand. “Look into solid earth, into rock, and see the galaxies of all Creation. What you call reality melts; there is a whirling, a spinning of forces, a dance of motes and atoms. Some of them we call planets, one of them is Earth. Nothingness within nothingness enclosing nothing, that is reality. Tell me what you want, and I can answer.”
    • Fourth measure “Lords and Ladies” (p. 170)
  • The waves were indifferent, and the wind; and the rocks neither knew nor cared who owned them, Christ’s Vicar or an English King.
    • Fifth measure “The White Boat” (p. 179)
  • She curled her lip. She had discovered cynicism.
    • Fifth measure “The White Boat” (p. 194)
  • “I was arguing with Father Sebastian the other day,” she said thoughtfully. “I quoted the thing about giving all you have to the poor. He said that was all very well but you had to come to terms with the Scriptures and realize there had to be teachers and leaders for the people’s own good. It seemed an awful get-out to me, and I couldn’t help saying so. I told him if the Church would sell half her altar plate she could buy shoes for everybody in the country, and a lot else besides; and that if the Pope would make a start in Rome I’d see about getting rid of a few job lots of furniture down in Corfe. I’m afraid he didn’t take very kindly to it. I know it was wrong of me but he annoys me sometimes; he’s so pious, and it seems to mean so very little. He’d walk miles in the snow to pray for a sick child, he’s a very good man; but if there was more money about to start with, maybe the child wouldn’t have been taken ill. It all seems so unnecessary....”
    • Sixth measure “Corfe Gate” (p. 223)
  • She stopped dead; and the look in her eyes showed plainly she’d just received the import of a crude lesson in economics.
    • Sixth measure “Corfe Gate” (p. 224)
  • It’s a terrible thing, being afraid. It’s like an illness; like wanting to fall down, and not being able to faint. You see you never get used to it. You live with it and live with it and every day it’s worse; and one day it’s the worst of all. I thought, when it...happened, I wouldn’t be afraid. But I was wrong....
    • Sixth measure “Corfe Gate” (p. 260)

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