Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (2014) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

This is a collection of short stories and novellas edited by two of the titans of fantasy and science fiction. See the Wikipedia article for a list of all 21 stories. The stories all star a “rogue” of one type or other, with authors ranging from Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) to Joe Lansdale (Hap and Leonard) to Neil Gaiman to Patrick Rothfuss and, finally, to George R.R. Martin himself. A good collection of stories with something for everyone, I think.

Citations

“Until then, Javre walked, swift and steady, with her shoulders back. She loved to walk. With every stride, she felt her own strength. Every muscle utterly relaxed, yet ready to turn the next step in a split instant into mighty spring, sprightly roll, deadly strike. Without needing to look, she felt each person about her, judged their threat, predicted their attack, imagined her response, the air around her alive with calculated possibilities, the surroundings mapped, the distances known, all things of use noted. The sternest tests are those you do not see coming, so Javre was the weapon always sharpened, the weapon never sheathed, the answer to every question.”
Location 590-594
“Raffalon groaned. In his experience, entities that spoke in such a high-toned manner tended to have an acute regard for themselves that was inversely matched by a lack of concern for the comfort of those who minioned for them—indeed, even for their continued existence.”
Location 1407-1409
“Then he addressed the little piece of carved wood in his hand and repeated his original question: “What are you?” Less than I was, less than I shall be. Raffalon groaned. In his experience, entities that spoke in such a high-toned manner tended to have an acute regard for themselves that was inversely matched by a lack of concern for the comfort of those who minioned for them—indeed, even for their continued existence.”
Location 1405-1409
““The ancients had a saying,” Surplus interjected. “ ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.’”
Location 2782-2783
““Love is like a baby sleeping on its mother’s breast,” Steppan said. “Inchoate and likely to piss itself?” “Ah, you can play at being a cynic, my friend, but I’ve known you too long. You’re a romantic at heart. You’re in love with the world.” “I’d say I’m inchoate and likely to piss myself,” Asa said, trying not to smile. Steppan’s pleasure was simple and unfeigned and infectious. “Fine! Fine, then love isn’t like a baby. Love is like falling from a window and discovering you can fly.” “Unlikely to happen and dangerous to try.””
Location 6725-6731
“For a long moment, they were silent with their private thoughts. “Love,” Asa said, “is like a pigeon shitting over a crowd.” “How so?” “Where it lands hasn’t got much to do with who deserves it.””
Location 6830-6833
“The triangle produced a massive number of Bruce-generated headlines, in which Ella wept to her friends, or broke down on the set of Kimberley, or flew to the States to beg me to come back to her. Some weeks the tabloids dutifully reported that Loni and I were fighting on the set or had broken up; some weeks we were about to announce our engagement. Sometimes she’d catch me talking on the phone to Ella and be furious, and sometimes I secretly flew off to Africa to be with Ella. I was always happy to see myself in the headlines, even if the stories weren’t remotely true.”
Location 8492-8496
“To me, the drones are cheating. As far as I’m concerned, the tabloids are supposed to report the stories our publicists give them, not start their own air force and find out stuff on their own.”
Location 8501-8503
“I have seen many things in my life,” said Piros, “and I have never found fear to be useful.”
Location 9847-9848
“It was baffling. These creatures. They were fraught and frayed in their desire. A snake would never poison itself, but these folk made an art of it. They wrapped themselves in fears and wept at being blind. It was infuriating. It was enough to break a heart.”
Location 13062-13064