Wednesday, July 3, 2019

On Black Magic

“None can use black magic without straining the soul to the uttermost—and staining it into the bargain. None can inflict suffering without enduring the same. None can send death by spells and sorcery without walking on the brink of death’s own abyss, aye, and dripping his own blood into it. The forces black magic evokes are like two-edged poisoned swords with grips studded with scorpion stings. Only a strong man, leather-handed, in whom hate and evil are very powerful, can wield them, and he only for a space.” —Fritz Leiber

Friday, March 29, 2019

On Fairy Tales

"It [the taste for fantasy/fairy-stories] is certainly one that does not decrease but increases with age, if it is innate." – J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, December 27, 2018

On Humanity’s Highest Aim

“What gorgeous souls have vanished into the buried ages; what marvellous creatures are lost past the remotest memory … Nevermore will there be the like; now in the last fleeting moments, humanity festers rich as rotten fruit. Rather than master and overpower our world, our highest aim is to cheat it through sorcery.”

From Jack Vance, The Dying Earth

Friday, December 14, 2018

On Goblins and Gnomes

"Goblins are to us, very much what rats are to you. Only worse, because they are very clever. And only better, because there are, in these parts, very few! We thought there were none left. Long ago we had great trouble with them. That was about ... 1453, I believe. But, we got the help of the gnomes, who are their greatest enemies, and cleared them out."

Father Christmas
J. R. R. Tolkien, Letters from Father Christmas

Monday, December 10, 2018

On a Surfeit of Ease

A surfeit of honey cloys the tongue; a surfeit of wine addles the brain; so a surfeit of ease guts a man of strength.

From Jack Vance, The Dying Earth

Saturday, September 15, 2018

On Mint Juleps

“Have you ever tasted a mint-julep, Beach?’

‘Not to my recollection, sir.’

‘Oh, you’d remember all right if you had. Insidious things. They creep up to you like a baby sister and slide their little hands into yours and the next thing you know the Judge is telling you to pay the clerk of the court fifty dollars. ”

From P G Wodehouse. Summer Lightning