ntang (ntang) wrote,

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Parting Shot

I'm off to bed, now that I've finished the work I needed to do.

Before I go, though, let me read you something.

"The place in which he found himself was absolutely flat. In the human world we seldom see flatness, for the trees and houses and hedges give a serrated edge to the landscape. Even the grass sticks up with its myriad blades. But here, in the belly of the night, the illimitable, flat, wet mud was as featureless as a dark junket. If it had been wet sand, even, it would have had those little wave marks, like the palate of your mouth.

In this enormous flatness, there lived one element -- the wind. For it was an element. It was a dimension, a power of darkness. In the human world, the wind comes from somewhere, and goes somewhere, and as it goes, it passes through somewhere -- through trees or streets or hedgerows. This wind came from nowhere. It was going through the flatness of nowhere, to no place. Horizontal, soundless except for a peculiar boom, tangible, infinite, the astounding dimensional weight of it streamed across the mud. You could have ruled it with a straight-edge. The titanic grey line of it was unwavering and solid. You could have hooked the crook of your umbrella over it, and it would have hung there."

That was from T. H. White's classic, The Once and Future King. It's a wonderful book, and if you haven't already read it, I highly recommend it. Barnes and Noble dumped it into the Science-Fiction section, but I think that was a terrible injustice. I've been rereading it and remembering just how wonderful it is. It's beautiful at times, frequently funny, often thought provoking. It's more than just science fiction, and written at a point at which there was no such thing. The Disney movie The Sword in the Stone was based off the first part of the book, which talks about King Arthur in his youth, before he was King, when he was only known, alternately derisively and affectionately as the Wart.

Probably my favorite thing about the book, other than the wonderful descriptions of the people and their mannerisms and quirks, are the bits of dialogue strung throughout the book. It is simple some of the most clever and amusing dialogue I've read in a book, but in an unassuming and unforced way. It doesn't feel like he spent hours wracking his brain to come up with the most cutting and clever dialogue he could, it merely sounds like a whimsical glimpse at a bunch of surprisingly human characters.

Ah well. I'm off to bed, as promised. Good night all.

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