The Space Cantina – A quote for the writer’s soul

I quote the following statement a lot to myself and I wanted to share it with you all. It comes from George RR Martin.

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real… for a moment at least… that long magic moment before we wake. Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smoke-stacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the song the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever, somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to Middle Earth.

  • The Faces of Fantasy (1996)
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Icarus – April 28th, 2099

April 28th, 2099

The lights on the Icarus have all gone out. I float in the darkness of the engine rooms, slowly feeling a chill creep into me. The Song is my only company since the screaming stopped. I don’t hear them anymore. They neither bang on the doors nor scratch at the grating. They aren’t gone though, they’re just waiting.

Waiting for me to come to them.

Why has it taken so much longer for me? Why did it take the others so swiftly and leave me alone to wrestle with it for days? It is the sickness, I can’t deny it anymore. Soon I will be one of them. I can feel it inside me, wrenching at my muscles, tearing into my mind. It’s the Song, a kind of hive-mind. It sings to you, telling you just one thing: spread. That is the melody by which they live, a melody I am powerless to stop.

I’ve decided to be clinical about this, to describe it as best I can before I can no longer write. The fever robs you of sleep, makes you see things. For me it has been Sarah. In these waking moments I read over what I’d written before and it’s so obvious. She is the illness made manifest, coaxing me on to do its bidding. Early on, you aren’t unconscious, your mind dissolved and replaced. You are simply tricked into a delusional dream-state.

I’m no scientists as I’ve said before, but I believe it comes in the form of your greatest desire or greatest regret. It pulls on strong memories, attaches itself there and moves you toward it. Eventually even that will be gone and the tumors I’d seen will control your basest of instincts, fight and kill and feed.

Icarus – April 24th (approximate), 2099

April 24th (approximate), 2099   

Sarah comes to me constantly now, trying to reach me and bring me back. I long to touch her, but she is always just out of reach as if insubstantial. She is a phantasm, nothing but mist upon my fingers. I find myself calling out to her, crawling after her but hands drag me back. They are frantic hands and they are real.

Alex is real and so are the other three. Rich sits silent against the wall and stares for hours at nothing. Kate talks to us about how to get to the bridge and send for help. We can use the laser system to route power and serve as an antenna, but Rich won’t respond. She shakes him and he just stares.

He lost his partner, everyone has but Alex and Bree. They sit together, holding one another. When I am not seeing Sarah, I watch them. Is that what it should look like? Is that how love, how life, is supposed to be? I watch but avoid thinking of Jennie, of how we sat together and never touched.

#

I slept for a few hours and feel more lucid. There is something stale about the air I didn’t notice before. It’s got a fetid smell in it as well, like blood left to pool too long. The others, the ones beyond the door, have been quiet lately. Kate thinks it’s time to try her plan.

She and Alex are going to climb through the maintenance tunnels. Without gravity they shouldn’t have too much trouble, but I can’t shake this feeling of anxiety that grows with every passing second. Only writing seems to keep me calm.

Now as I sit with Rich and Bree, we wait and pray.