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Land of the Beautiful Dead

R. Lee Smith

Top 10 Best Quotes

“You were all my best days…and most of my worst ones, too, but that’s all right. The worst ones weren’t any worse than they might have been with anyone else, but the best ones were so much better. I love you.”

“Don’t make fun of me,” Lan snapped. “I’m illiterate, not stupid! I know there’s no B in subtle!”

“Under no circumstances are you to butter your entire roll and, my God!” she cried suddenly, switching Lan’s hand three times in rapid succession. “Never lick your knife!” “Ouch! Fine! Buggering fuck! Leave off with that beshitted thing!” The dead woman let out a sound like the chirping of a bird, staring at her with an indignation that was nearly horror. “Ladies,” she sputtered at last. “Ladies do not say bugger or fuck!” “But beshitted’s all right?” Lan asked cautiously. “No, it is not!” “You know, I may not be as mannered-up as you are, but in Norwood, it’s rude to yell at the table.”

“No, it is not. I give you a portion of my stolen wealth. You give me all you have.”

“Men may perish, but the world will neither celebrate nor mourn. It will go on.' His smile thinned. 'Would you like to know how?' 'No.' 'Animals will swell to fill the void left by men," he told her. 'And over-swell it, perhaps. There will be other extinctions and other recoveries. The sky will clear, but those who see it will not marvel at its many colors. Those ruins will collapse, burying treasures like this-' He waved at the walls. '-and this-' He picked up the spoon from her coffee tray and tossed it down again with a clatter. '-forever, but the world will go on. Years become centuries so easily when no one is there to count them. Centuries become millennia. The forests will reclaim the lands that Men have razed. Rivers will carve canyons across the scars left by this fallen cities. Mountains will rise up, trapping seas to dry under and uncaring sun and leaving the bones of whales to bleach in the newborn deserts for no one to find, no one to be inspired by thoughts of giants and dragons. And still the worlds will go on, and I will go on with it through ages that can only be measured by the coming and going of glaciers. The stars themselves will shift in the heavens and no one will be there to invent names for their new alignments or remember the stories of the old ones, no one but me. In time, the sun itself will begin to cool. Here on Earth, the world goes on and on as its remaining life passes through its last changes and dies away. It will be quiet. And lonely.' His mouth curved into a bitter line. 'But I'll live.' 'Stop it,' Lan whispered through numb lips. 'I read once that the sun will someday swell and engulf this world before it burns itself out. Perhaps I will finally die with it. Or perhaps I' will continue to endure... my ashes pulled eternally apart through the frozen vacuum of space, and I with no more mouth to scream... still alive.”

“Think, not of what you win or lose, but of what you learn and what you teach, and you will always have the advantage.”

“So tell me, oh unhappy human, what ir your suffering to mine?”

“He told her not to speak or look at him. He told her not to try to kiss him. He told her she was beautiful. Then he lay her down and lay beside her and he said nothing more.”

“Damn you! Hear me now and hear me well. If you die, I will raze your Norwood. I will raze all of them--every village every waystation, every wall. I will make the whole of this world your grave. Do you hear me? How could you do this to me? How could you dare? Answer me!”

“A ‘library’ turned out to be a room where books were read. The fact that people used to have so many books that they needed a whole separate room just to store them, much less a word for the room, said everything Lan guessed she needed to know about the way the world used to be. In Norwood, loose pictures and salvaged magazines were locked up like other valuables. The mayor had a few books, including the town ledger where Lan’s own name had been written on the day of her birth and presumably crossed out along with her mother’s the day she’d left, but all of them together could have fit on one shelf. Here was a room the size of the dining hall, two stories tall and lined in bookshelves, with ladders on runners along every wall so that no shelf was out of reach. These were books that could not be measured in hundreds or even thousands, but in some greater number that had no name. If only she knew how to read.”

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Book Keywords:

death, dark, immortality, science-fiction-romance

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