'Speaking of which, what do you think of when you masturbate?'
Neither had said a word for the first half hour. They were doing the mindless monochrome drive up to Region HQ in Joliet again. In one of the fleet's Gremlins, seized as part of a jeopardy assessment against an AMC dealership five quarters past.
'Look, I think we can presume you masturbate. Something like 98 percent of all men masturbate. It's documented. Most of the other 2 percent are impaired in some way. We can forgo the denials. I masturbate; you masturbate. It happens. We all do it and we all know we all do it and yet no one ever discusses it. It's an incredibly boring drive, there's nothing to do, we're stuck in this embarrassing car - let's push the envelope. Let's discuss it.'
'Just what do you think of? Think about it. It's a very interior time. It's one of life's only occasions of real self-sufficiency. It requires nothing outside you. It's bringing yourself pleasure with nothing but your own mind's thoughts. Those thoughts reveal a lot about you: what you dream of when you yourself choose and control what you dream.'
'You asked me. I'm telling you.'
'That's it? Tits?'
'What do you want me to say?'
'Just tits? In isolation from anybody? Just abstract tits?'
'All right. Fuck off.'
'You mean just floating there, two tits, in empty space? Or nestled in your hands, or what? Is it always the same tits?'
'This is me learning a lesson. You ask a question like that and I go what the hell and I answer it and you run a DIF-3 on the answer.'
'So what do you think about, then, Mr. Envelope Guy?'
Spring. Down in the Cispontine Quarter the vegetation has begun to flourish again. The fuel-gathering women are no longer seen. Ragwort clothes all the fallen walls and earthy scars, its stems already infested with black and yellow caterpillars (later in the year these become an attractive crimson moth which was once the symbol of the city). Up at Alves, jackdaws are squabbling all day over nesting sites in the cracked dome of the observatory. And in that demimonde which has its centre at the Plaza of Unrealised Time, the women smile down from their casement windows, lifting a hand to pat newly washed hair. Humanity has recolonized the inconceivable avenues of the High City - gaping up open-mouthed at the inexplicable architecture of the Afternoon Cultures while it empties its bladder in their millennial gutters - and hung out its washing again in the Low. The "Winter of the Locust" is over. Only a sudden increase in the number of beggars (some of whom have the most novel deformities) along the Rivelin Way persuades us that it ever took place, that we ever listened to that white thin song.
One day the King turned to the women that danced and said to them: "Dance no more," and those that bore the wine in jewelled cups he sent away. The palace of King Ebalon was emptied of sound of song and there rose the voices of heralds crying in the streets to find the prophets of the land.
Then went the dancers, the cupbearer and the singers down into the hard streets among the houses, Pattering Leaves, Silvern Fountain and Summer Lightning, the dancers whose feet the gods had not devised for stony ways, which had only danced for princes. And with them went the singer, Soul of the South, and the sweet singer, Dream of the Sea, whose voices the gods had attuned to the ears of kings, and old Istahn the cupbearer left his life's work in the palace to tread the common ways, he that had stood at the elbows of three kings of Zarkandhu and had watched his ancient vintage feeding their valour and mirth as the waters of Tondaris feed the green plains to the south. Ever he had stood grave among their jests, but his heart warmed itself solely by the fire of the mirth of kings. He too, with the singers and dancers, went out into the dark.
Uma escuridão imensa. Silêncio. Um nada absoluto. Foi assim por um tempo desconhecido. Até que se iniciou um rumorejar. Como água correndo pelo leito de um rio. De começo uma correnteza leve. Depois uma enxurrada que sai arrastando tudo o que encontra pelo caminho. Estava mergulhado nela, sendo arrastado. Ora submergindo, indo até as profundezas mais densas, ora explodindo na superfície, procurando por ar. A água corria por leitos impenetráveis. Embora estivesse sendo conduzido violentamente para algum lugar, era-lhe impossível determinar o seu destino. Eralhe impossível determinar qualquer coisa, porquanto a escuridão ainda imperasse.
Two of these are 2011 releases, one was released posthumously, and all I am enjoying so far, even if one is actually a re-read done for the third time since 2007. Which ones do you know or think you know? Which excerpts appeal to you and why?