If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

Category: Fiction

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

“But how did it work? The bargain? How could the city last?”

“Go home.”

His question unanswered, Hassan stumbles homeward, picking his way in a series of child’s shortcuts across the bomb sites and the rubble of Baghdad. And, though his stomach hurts (for fasting is easy, this Ramadan; and food is hard to come by) his head is held high and his eyes are bright. For behind his eyes are towers and jewels and djinn, carpets and rings and wild afreets, kings and princes and cities of brass.

And he prays as he walks (cursing his one weak leg the while), prays to Allah (who made all things) that somewhere, in the darkness of dreams, abides the other Baghdad (that can never die), and the other egg of the Phoenix.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

Imagine a thousand fireflies of every shape and color; Oh, that was Baghdad at night in those days.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

Cain: It was my mystery and you gave it away!
Abel: Buhbut Cain, it’s not one of the big secrets. It’s not important.
Cain: That’s not the point! I keep telling you: it’s the mystery that endures. Not the explanations. A good mystery can last for ever.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

Cain: So here we are, all three of use. Just like the old days. And we’ve even got an audience. Let’s tell stories.
Eve: I’ve stopped telling stories.
Cain: No one stops telling stories. It’s in the blood. Storytellers who don’t tell stories aren’t anything. They’re nothing at all.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

The smoke from her pyre drifts skyward in the windless summer air. He finds it easy to ignore. Some things are too big to be seen; some emotions too huge to be felt.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

…a field in Ireland, an occasional mountain in Arizona…

An occasional mountain?

It’s not a very big mountain, but it’s only there occasionally.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

If we ever returned to the hard lands, there are some amongst us who believe that we would die of old age, crumbling to dust like the men in the tales. Others claim that we would return to the world on the day we left it, and live out the span of our lives—and all the time we spent in this place would fade and vanish, like a dawn dream on waking that colors the day but cannot be touched or remembered.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

A hundred different voices echo. Words blur. The water is sour in his mouth.
Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother can you spare a…
Remember that the city is a funny place, something like a circus or a sewer…
…any view of things that is not strange is false…

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

Caius: As long as new countries are being conquered, as long as the legions have new territories to conquer…then Rome will live.
Lycius: So?
Caius: Terminus is the only god to whom Jupiter must bow.

Neil Gaiman – The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

People fascinate me, Lycius. It is within my power to give them back a republic. I almost did, twice, when I was scared and weak. And it is within their power to take back all power from me; but they will not.

Humanity. They follow leaders—queens or kings, chiefs or emperors. We tell them what to do, and they do it. We know no more than they, but still, they follow us, blindly, as people lost in the catacombs would follow a child carrying a flaming torch.