Underlinings (#67)

What Challenger did:

… Only a word by way of epilogue. It is of course well known that the effect of the experiment was a world-wide one. It is true that nowhere did the injured planet emit such a howl as at the actual point of penetration, but she showed that she was indeed one entity by her conduct elsewhere. Through every vent and every volcano she voiced her indignation. Hecla bellowed until the Icelanders feared a cataclysm. Vesuvius blew its head off. Etna spewed up a quantity of lava, and a suit of half-a-million lira damages has been decided against Challenger in the Italian Courts for the destruction of vineyards. Even in Mexico and in the belt of Central America there were signs of intense Plutonic indignation, and the howls of Stromboli filled the whole Eastern Mediterranean. It has been the common ambition of mankind to set the whole world talking. To set the whole world screaming was the privilege of Challenger alone.

Underlinings (#60)

From Tim Powers’ Declare (p 236-7):

And for getting Russian documents translated he found himself having to consult the weird old women in the MI5 Soviet Transcription Centre. This was located in another St. Albans house, in a tiny room which these fugitive White Russians had converted into a little anachronistic corner of Tsarist St. Petersburg, with carved wooden saint-icons standing among the dictaphone cylinders and acetate gramophone disks on the shelves, and a perpetual perfume of tea from the steaming samovar in the corner. To these wizened babushkas the NKVD was still the Cheka or even the pre-revolutionary Okhrana, and they took a particular intense interest in Hale’s researches, often pausing to cross themselves as they translated some musty old report of a Russian expedition to Turkey, in 1883 or a description of burned grass around little coin-sized eruption holes in the grave plots of Moscow cemeteries. All of these old grand-mothers were of the Russian Orthodox faith, but Hale noticed — uneasily — that their use of the term guardian angel was hesitant and fearful, and always accompanied by them splashing their lumpy old fingers in the holy water font by the locked door.

Underlinings (#46)

From Nandita Biswas Mellamphy’s Ghost in the Shell-Game:

Technical objects are ‘mediators’ (mediations) between ‘man’ and ‘nature’ not only in an ‘instrumental’ sense but also in an altogether ‘constitutive’ sense; from this vantage (as Oshii, for instance, suggests), rather than ‘bodies’ and ‘souls’ we see instead ‘shells’ and ‘ghosts’. In Oshii’s Inosensu, death is not the cessation of life; rather, bodily life is the technical animation, individuation and articulation of death (inertia). Life (æmæth in the Hebrew text at the heart of Inosensu: the animating ‘truth’) is portrayed as an artifice of death (mæth) embodied in the ningyō — literally ‘human-shaped figures’, anthropoid forms — without consciousness. “By inscribing æmæth upon the Golem’s brow, the clay man lived, drawing energy from the word for ‘truth’. But simply removing the æ to form mæth or ‘death’ returned the Golem back to inanimate clay” (Hebrew Kabbalah paraphrased in Oshii’s Inosensu). Only the puppet truly experiences both life and death: life as the animation of death (something impossible for human self-consciousness). “People die simply because it is inevitable. But death is a condition of life for a doll.”