Russell Hoban quotations used in SA4QE
This is a list of quotations from Russell Hoban's books used in the annual SA4QE fan event. Click on the novel title for details of that book, or on the "read more" link for details of who chose the quotation and where they left it.
Dr Mzumi made another note in Klein’s folder. ‘A CT brain scan and a carotid angiogram might be a good idea. They’ll send you an appointment.’
‘Thank you. One day you’ll be old and pissing in two streams too. Sorry. Bye-bye.’
In the train, Max remembers not to think out loud. People look at him and move away anyhow. "What music were we talking about?" he says to his mind.
"Hang on," says his mind. "I'm giving you a picture."
Always in November there comes such a night, blue-black and shining and wild with rain and wind and brown leaves blowing. In the morning suddenly the plane trees on the far side of the common are bare winter trees.
Consider this, said the darkness: any motion at any speed is a succession of stillnesses; any section through an action will show just such a plane of stillness as this dark window in which your seeking face is mirrored. And in each plane of stillness is the moment of clarity that makes you responsible for what you do.
The first time I saw her was in a dream, the colours were intense; the air was fall of vibrations; everything seemed magnified and slowed down.
The street lamps were lit but the sky was still light. She was waiting at a bus stop. A sign said BALSAMIC although there was nothing vinegary about the place, no friars and no Gilead in sight. There were nondescript buildings in warm colours, perhaps leaning a bit, perhaps painted on canvas. She was waiting for the bus; there were obscure figures queuing behind her.
There was the sign that said BALSAMIC; the letters were sharp and clear; they riffled like rail departures but the name stayed the same. There were those shaky-looking buildings and the bus stop and there she waited, the thin woman with the straw-coloured hair, blue eyes, and pale face, unknown but seeming to look at me round the edges of my memory. Sleeping or waking, I'd never seen her before.
Again and again she gestured with her clenched fist and said, 'Yes!' silently. She wanted me to follow her. Why? Here came the bus: FINSEY-OBAY, yellow, pink, and orange rice paper and bamboo lit from within like a Japanese lantern. Such a light against that not-yet-dark sky! Again she looked at me as she boarded the bus and I felt that thrill of terror as I stepped back. And again the sense of loss. What did she want? How could I find her again?
'It is a strange and frightening thing to be a human being, to partake of the mystery and madness of human consciousness'
Don’t worry about the form, and don’t worry about beginnings, middles and endings, take hold of the thing, wherever you can, whatever of an idea presents itself to you, whether it’s the foot or the elbow, grab it, and work out from there. Don’t expect too much of yourself, but – just as people who are thrifty, and who save money – and don’t wait until they’ve got fifty pounds to put in the bank, but put in a pound, or five pounds, or ten pounds, and it accumulates that way, do something every day. If you can only write a paragraph, do a paragraph. If you can write a page, do a page. A whole story, okay, an idea, okay, notes, whatever – just get into the habit of doing something every day. And, let the ideas develop as they will – don’t require of yourself that you do a whole story or a whole novel, just do whatever you can – every day.
Oh no, thought Kleinzeit when he saw Sister, this is too much. Even if I were well, which I'm probably not, even if I were young, which I no longer am, this is far too massive a challenge and it would be better not to respond to it. Even at arm-wrestling she could destroy me, how do I dare consider her thighs? He considered her thighs and felt panic rising in him. Offstage the pain was heard, like the distant horn in the Beethoven overture. Am I possibly a hero, Kleinzeit wondered, and poured himself a glass of orange squash.
Sister fingered his chart, noticed Thucydides and Ortega on the bedside locker. 'Good morning, Mr Kleinzeit,' she said. 'How are you today?'
Kleinzeit was glad he was wearing adventurous pyjamas, glad Thucydides and Ortega were there. 'Very well, thank you,' he said. 'How are you?'
'Fine, thank you,' said Sister. 'Kleinzeit, does that mean something in German?'
'Hero,' said Kleinzeit.
'I thought it must mean something,' said Sister. Maybe you, said her eyes.
Good heavens, thought Kleinzeit, and I'm unemployed too.
Suddenly the air was ripped apart by a whistling shriek and a big bomb hit the water amongst them with a tremendous splash. There it was, unexploded.
'O my God,' said Flesmok. 'This is it, this is the end, we're finished.'
'No, we're not,' said Nuz. 'It didn't blow up, it's a dud bomb.'
'NO, I'M NOT,' said the bomb with impeccable BBC diction. 'I'M ONE OF THOSE VERY ADVANCED THINKING BOMBS WITH A VERY COMPLEX PROGRAMME. I WAS DEVISED BY A RACE OF SUPERIOR INTELLECTS LONG GONE AND LAUNCHED BY AN AUTOMATIC SYSTEM AND I'M GOING TO BLOW YOU ALL TO HELL IF YOU DON'T DO THE RIGHT THING IN THE ALLOTTED TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS.'
'What do you want us to do?' said Flesmok.
'TELL ME A STORY, YOU FUCKING SONS OF BITCHES,' said the bomb.
'What's a story?' said Mummel.
'A story is what happened,' said Nuz. 'Like when the radio says, "There were heavy losses in scattered sectors yesterday."'
'THAT'S NOT A STORY, CREEP,' said the bomb. 'THAT'S NOT EVEN NEWS.'
'Well, what is a story then?' said Nuz.
'Listen,' said Flesmok: '"The sea is full of marvels but there are no answers in it." How about that?'
'GO ON,' said the bomb, 'TELL ME MORE.'