Was thinking, for some reason, about prosthetic limbs today (and about their history). Some assorted images from my research:
And learn a bit about it yourself here.
173. Between the roof of the shed and the big plant that hangs over the fence from the house next door I could see the constellation Orion. People say that Orion is called Orion because Orion was a hunter and the constellation looks like a hunter with a club and a bow and arrow, like this (see image).
But this is really silly because it is just stars, and you could join up the dots in any way you wanted, and you could make it look like a lady with an umbrella who is waving, or the coffeemaker which Mrs. Shears has, which is from Italy, with a handle and steam coming out, or like a dinosaur (see image).
And there aren't any lines in space, so you could join bits of Orion to bits of Lepus or Taurus or Gemini and say that they were a constellation called the Bunch of Grapes or Jesus or the Bicycle (except that they didn't have bicycles in Roman and Greek times, which was when they called Orion Orion).
And anyway, Orion is not a hunter or a coffeemaker or a dinosaur. It is just Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and Alnilam and Rigel and 17 other stars I don't know the names of. And they are nuclear explosions billions of miles away.
And that is the truth.
179. ...I felt safer in the garden because I was hidden.
I looked at the sky a lot. I like looking up at the sky in the garden at night. In summer I sometimes come outside at night with my torch and my planisphere, which is two circles of plastic with a pin through the middle...
And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds of thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don't even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in your life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means that they are so small you don't have to take them into account when you are calculating something.
...there was a whole set of crows which he used always at certain special hours during the day. These did come in due time; and these were called the "canonical crows." They told all the world--at least that section of the world over which he was Lord--what time it was, and they blessed the moment in the ears of the hearer. By what blessing? By making the day, and that moment of the day, familiar; by giving it direction and meaning and a proper soul. For the creatures expected his canonical crows, and were put at peace when they heard them. "Yes, yes," they would say, "the day is our day, because Chauntecleer has made it ours." That they would say in the morning, grateful that by his crow the day should hold no strangeness nor fear for them. And at noon: "The day's halfways over; the best part is still coming." It was a comfort to be able to measure the day and the work in it. (12)Reading this book over the last week I've been thinking about animals a great deal. To what extent do these kinds of animal stories speak to a deeper longing we as humans have to "know" animals--to understand them beyond their biology and outward behavior. This quote seems to speak to that longing, especially in terms of a kind of hope that animals act on more than simple survival instinct--a desire for animals to have their own lives and hopes and small pleasures. Even as children we seem to want this; I remember distinctly crying over a dead bird not only because of his death but because he wouldn't be able to go home to his family. Wangerin's Coop establishes a microcosm in which we can observe, and participate, in the complex and beautiful lives of these creatures. A world in which every day is more than simply a ritual of food-gathering for survival, but a rich community of weddings and births, loves and small joys.
The cultivation of a certain tame paranoia was something Case took for granted. The trick lay in not letting it get out of control. But that could be quite a trick, behind a stack of octagons. He fought the adrenaline surge and composed his narrow features in a mask of bored vacancy, pretending to let the crowd carry him along. When he saw a darkened display window, he managed to pause by it. The place was a surgical boutique, closed for renovations. With his hands in the pockets of his jacket he stated through the glass at a flat lozenge of vatgrown flesh that lay on a carved pedestal of imitation jade. The color of its skin reminded him of Zone's whores; it was tattooed with a luminous digital display wired to a subcutaneous chip. Why bother with the surgery, he found himself thinking, while sweat coursed down his ribs, when you could just carry the thing around in your pocket? (14)After getting over my initial disconnect with Neuromancer's prose, I had to then contend with my utter lack of knowledge of science fiction lingo. Not that I haven't been a "fan" of science fiction, I really have nothing against it, but I've read woefully little of it. As soon as Gibson plopped me down in the gritty alleyways of Chiba City, I'm already so disoriented that it takes several chapters to even understand "jacking in" and "trodes", let alone the mechanics of ice and the evils of the AI. I think it was around a third of the way into the book when I finally found my feet and began to sift through the intricate storyline and "figure it all out." Even now, having finished the book, set it aside with a deep breath and contemplated it for awhile, I'm not certain I've got everything. Neuromancer seems like a book that needs to be picked up more than once--of that I am certain.
And he was remembering an ancient story, a king placing coins on a chessboard, doubling the amount at each square...Exponential....Darkness fell in from every side, a sphere of singing black, pressure on the extended crystal nerves of the universe of data he had nearly become....And when he was nothing, compressed at the heart of all that dark, there came a point where the dark could be no more, and something tore.