He always had to use holy water—real holy water, from gallon jugs he filled from the silver urn at St. Anne’s—but though it impressed the customers, all he could see that it actually did was get stuff wet.
The Bible Repairman (p. 2)
Love isn’t in the category of normal things. Not any worthwhile kind of love, anyway.
A Soul in a Bottle (p. 37)
“And you’ve never married.”
“I don’t know any women well enough to hate ’em that much.”
The Hour of Babel (p. 61)
“Solipsism,” said Felise. “I thought that too, for a while, but it was so obvious that my cat didn’t think so, didn’t think I was the only thing in the universe, that I decided it wasn’t true.”
The Hour of Babel (p. 62)
You protect the ones you love. He clung to the thought. Even if they ignorantly resent you for it.
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 1999 by Del Rey Books
It struck Duffy that a touch of hysteria had sharpened the good fellowship tonight, as if the night wind whistling under the eaves carried some pollen of impermanence, making everyone nostalgic for things they hadn’t yet lost.
Chapter 6 (p. 86)
He felt as if someone far away below in the darkness was chipping away at the pillars of his mind, and the steady crack...crack...crack of it was the only sound in the universe.
Chapter 9 (p. 129)
The wages of courage is death, lad, but it’s the wages of everything else, too.
Chapter 10 (p. 140)
You’re still Brian Duffy. As much as you ever were. But you’re Arthur, too, and that kind of outshines everything else. Brandy and water tastes more like brandy than water, after all.
Chapter 13 (p. 178)
Trusting Merlin is like giving a migrant scorpion a lift inside your hat.
Chapter 14 (p. 183)
“How old are you, Brian? You ought to know by now that something always breaks up love affairs unless both parties are willing to compromise themselves. And that compromising is harder to do the older and less flexible and more independent you are. It just isn’t in you, Brian. You could no more get married now than you could become a priest, or a sculptor, or a greengrocer.”
Duffy opened his mouth to voice angry denials, then one corner turned up and he closed it. “Damn you,” he said wryly. “Then why do I want to, half the time?”
Aurelianus shrugged. “It’s the nature of the species. There’s a part of a man’s mind that can only relax and go to sleep when he’s with a woman, and that part gets tired of always being tensely awake. It gives orders in so loud a voice that it often drowns out the other components. But when the loud one is asleep at last, the others regain control and chart a new course.” He grinned. “No equilibrium is possible. If you don’t want to put up with the constant seesawing, you must either starve the logical components or bind, gag and lock away in a cellar that one insistent one.”
Duffy grimaced and drank some more brandy. “I’m used to the rocking, and I was never one to get motion-sick,” he said. “I’ll stay on the seesaw.”
Aurelianus bowed. “You have that option, sir.”
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 1997 by Ace Books
When they’d gone the old man turned around to watch the sun’s slow descent. The Boat of Millions of Years, he thought; the boat of the dying sungod Ra, tacking down the western sky to the source of the dark river that runs through the underworld from west to east, through the twelve hours of the night, at the far eastern end of which the boat will tomorrow reappear, bearing a once again youthful, newly reignited sun.
Or, he thought bitterly, removed from us by a distance the universe shouldn’t even be able to encompass, it’s a vast motionless globe of burning gas, around which this little ball of a planet rolls like a pellet of dung propelled by a kephera beetle. Take your pick, he told himself as he started slowly down the hill...But be willing to die for your choice.
Chapter 1 (pp. 3-4)
Say that again after you’ve been in the same spot and acted differently, old buddy. Maybe then I’ll be ashamed.
Chapter 7 (pp. 169-170)
I’ve learned that having a lot of money is more fun than not having a lot of money, and that once you’ve got it, it tends to grow all by itself, like a fire.
Chapter 14 (p. 341)
“You ever notice, Joe,” he asked, mechanically picking up the mug, “that it always takes a little more trouble to get something than the thing was really worth?”
Joe considered it. “Better than taking a lot of trouble and getting nothing.”
Dundee sipped the coffee. He didn’t seem to have heard Joe. “There’s so much weariness and fatigue in it all. For every action there is an equal...stupefaction. No, that might be bearable—it’s greater than the action.”
Chapter 14 (p. 342)
Certainly no valid answer is ever gained by excluding any factors of the problem; that was the Puritans’ error.
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in August 2008 by Tachyon Publications
He was dizzy, and it occurred to him that Newton must have been right when he’d said that light consisted of particles, for today he could feel them hitting him.
Chapter 3 (p. 51)
The church has become a more...exclusive club since the founder’s day, it’s clear. No doubt the Devil is more hospitable.
Chapter 10 (p. 129)
Every ruler wants to maintain the status quo.
Interlude “Summer, 1818” (p. 170)
Processions of priests and religiosi have been for several days past praying for rain; but the gods are either angry, or nature is too powerful.
Chapter 17 (p. 285; quoting from the journal of Edward Williams)
The landlord crossed himself when they checked in, but an English ten-pound note for a week’s lodging overcame whatever superstitious misgivings the man may have had.
Chapter 17 (p. 285)
“God help us,” said Crawford softly.
“If there is one.” Byron grinned. “A whole lot of ghastly things have turned out to be possible, remember.”
Chapter 20 (p. 330)
She’s probably only now beginning to be able to think for herself, he thought. And she’ll be hating it. Will she acknowledge the responsibilities that she can now clearly see, or will they be so appalling that she’ll just want to return to the selfless haze?
Chapter 24 (p. 372)
He tried to put more conviction into his voice than he felt, and he mentally cursed any God that there might be, for having made this coming ordeal not only tremendously difficult and dangerous, but possibly pointless too.
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 2003 by Perennial
It wasn’t fair, but fairness was something you had to go get; it wasn’t delivered like the mail.
Chapter 8 (p. 77)
Gambling was the place where statistics and profound human consequences met most nakedly, after all, and cards, even more than dice or the numbers on a roulette wheel, seemed able to define and perhaps even dictate a player’s...luck.
Chapter 8 (p. 79)
I’m really willing to try to believe you’re not crazy, but you gotta help me a little, you know?
Chapter 37 (p. 374)
He thought about crossing his fingers, but clasped her hand instead.
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 2007 by Orb ISBN 0-765-31752-4
People in 1900 didn’t think that radium could hurt you, just carrying a chip of it in your pocket like a lucky rock, and then one day their legs fell off and they died of cancer. Not believing something is no help if you turn out to be wrong.
Chapter 4 (p. 28)
Sukie had always said that the Alice books were the Old and New Testaments for ghosts—which Pete had never understood; after all, Lewis Carroll hadn’t been dead yet when he’d written them.
Chapter 6 (p. 44)
In the early eighties, savvy Japanese had been scouring Melrose for old leather jackets and jukeboxes, and nervous tourists would drive by to look at the punks with green mohawks; now the funny hairstyles looked as if they’d been done at the Beverly Center. Like a government-subsidized avant-garde, Sullivan had thought as he’d tooled his old van down the crowded avenue, affluent disenfranchisement is just galvanic twitching in a dead frog’s leg.
Chapter 15 (p. 100)
It’s important to feel good about yourself. This morning I met somebody I really like—me.
Chapter 34 (p. 253)
“This is very pretty,” said Elizalde...
“It’s morbid,” snapped Sullivan. “Burying a bunch of dead bodies, and putting a fancy marker over each one so the survivors will know where to go and cry. What if the markers got rearranged? You’d be weeping over some stranger. Not some stranger, even, some cast-off dead body of a stranger, like a pile of fingernail clippings or old shoes, or the dust from inside an electric razor. What’s the difference between coming out here to think about dead Uncle Irving, and thinking about him in your own living room? Okay, here you can sit on the grass and be only six feet above his inert old body. Would it be better if you could dig a hole, and sit only one foot above it?” He was shaking. “Everybody should be cremated, and the ashes should be tossed in the sea with no fanfare at all.”
“It’s a sign of respect,” said Elizalde angrily. “And it’s a real, tangible link. Think of the Shroud of Turin! Where would we be if they had cremated Jesus?”
“I don’t know—we’d have the Ashtray of Turin.”
Chapter 40 (p. 308; ellipsis represents a minor elision of description)
Bradshaw sighed and swallowed, feeling the volatile coldness in his throat and trying to remember what tequila tasted like. Pepper and turpentine, as far as he could recall.
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 2013 by William Morrow
All wrong. The words seemed in this moment to describe Hale’s whole life.
Chapter 7 (p. 182)
Your policy here, and in all the Arab states, has been to get out as much oil as you could, before the indigenous peoples looked around and noticed that they were living in the twentieth century.
Chapter 7 (pp. 184-185)
Which perspective is true? he thought. Which do I want to be true?
Chapter 10 (p. 285)
Your skull in gold will be more valuable than others, being solid all through.
Chapter 12 (p. 345)
Let us quickly be finished with the business of dying, to save the trouble of making dinner.
Chapter 12 (p. 345)
He remembered his dismay at finding himself committed to a hand of cards without having honestly looked at the stakes, fourteen years ago. Had he been doing it again? But if the stakes were too frightening to consider, and the game was already lost, what value could there be in clear comprehension?
All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published in 2013 by William Morrow
“Hey,” Bozzaris said, “nobody’s human.” It was an old Mossad line, a mixture of “nobody’s perfect” and “I’m only human.”
Chapter 4 (p. 58)
Lepidopt didn’t know if he was one of those pipe smokers who always had the thing in his mouth and talked around the stem, or one of the ones who was always fiddling with it in his hands, tamping it and relighting it and shoving a pipe cleaner down it; they were different sorts of men.
Chapter 8 (p. 118)
“That’s me, that old guy, that old drunk guy! Who claimed he was my dad? Like, me from the future?”
“One future, not the future. There isn’t any the future.”
Chapter 22 (p. 313)
“We’re going to have a séance. Oren, open the whisky, if you would, and pour each of us a full glass.”
“First sensible remark all night,” said Charlotte.
Chapter 24 (p. 339)
“When you get to where I am—”
“I’ll never get to where you are. I’ll make better choices.”
“Choices! You don’t get choices, you get...situations that you react to—the actual cumulative you reacts, with whatever half-ass wiring you’ve got at the time, not some hovering ‘soul.’ You’re a mercury switch—if the spring tilts you to the right degree, you complete a circuit, and if it’s got metal fatigue, it tilts you less, and you don’t. You don’t have free will, sonny.”
“Of course I do, of course you do, what kind of excuse—”
“Bullshit. If—” The older Marrity was panting. “If a scientist could know every last detail of your physiology and life experiences, he could predict with absolute accuracy every ‘choice’ you’d make in any moral quandary.”
Quandary! To Marrity the sentence sounded as if it had been prepared ahead of time. Not for talking to me, he thought, this old wretch couldn’t have anticipated talking to me—he must have cooked it up for his own solace.
“Laplace’s determinist manifesto,” came another man’s languid voice from the background. “it overlooks Heisenberg’s uncertainty.”
“Okay,” said the older Marrity furiously, “then it’s probability and statistics that dictate what we’ll do! But it’s not—”
“It’s a sin,” said Marrity, breathing deeply himself. To Daphne he projected a vague cluster of images—hugging her, holding her hand—and he was able to have more confidence in his reassurance now.
“Said the fourth domino to the twenty-first!” exclaimed the older Marrity, laughing angrily. “‘Ah, wilt Thou with predestination round / Enmesh me and impute my fall to sin?’”
Chapter 24 (pp. 345-346)
By the dim yellow glow of the overhead bulb, Lepidopt stared at the bomb and the time machine, and he tried to imagine what might go wrong.
All page numbers from the hardcover first edition published by William Morrow
Gabriel scowled through his glasses. Why were ghosts such imbeciles? Who could be blamed for striving, at any cost, to avoid forever the decay-of-self that death was?
Part 1, Chapter 4 (p. 71)
“William will marry eventually,” he said in a quieter tone. He’ll try to have children—he doesn’t believe any of this.”
“Not even in God,” said Maria sadly, shaking her head, “who is our only hope.”
“And an unhelpfully remote and theoretical hope, at that,” Gabriel snapped.
Part 1, Chapter 4 (p. 80)
I’m not a joiner. Any time you work with people, they turn out to be inept clowns.
Part 1, Chapter 8 (p. 141)
“She chose to reject me!”
That wasn’t a choice, lad—that was an empty gun saying click.”
Part 1, Chapter 10 (p. 184)
After a few seconds, he said, “You’re devout, aren’t you? Some species of Christian, I imagine?”
She smiled faintly. “Yes.”
“I would say that was a mark against your intelligence, but since you’re both nice girls, I won’t say it. But you assume a sequel to this life, one in which noble sacrifices are rewarded, or at least noted. I’m convinced that no note is taken at all, and that, as far as any one of us is concerned, the universe comes to an end at the moment of his death.”