"For a long time he waited and watched the lion women groom themselves. Certainly they were among the most beautiful of animals, one of the nine sacred creatures, and how could it be otherwise? What living creature could be more godlike, with their indolent grace and murderous power, their feline wolfishness? The way they looked around with their black tear streaks dripping away from their eyes like festival paint; the way their gaze would come to rest on you, and you would quail and shrink; no, there was nothing like it. They could kill anything they wanted to."
"The lions were big and beautiful, glowing with the magical presence they always had—immense cats, the same in form as the little ones that hung around camp, except these biggest ones, as heavy as two or three men, ran in packs like wolves. That was an awesome combination, terrifying in what it meant for any other creature. Beautiful gods wandering the world, hunter gods who feared nothing."
"'Have you thought about what it means to be a god?' asked the man. He had a beard and a baseball cap. 'It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people's minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to re-create you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you're a thousand aspects of what people need you to be. And everyone wants something different from you. Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable.'"
"'My people went from here to America a long time ago. They went there, and then they returned to Iceland. They said it was a good place for men, but a bad place for gods. And without their gods they felt too… alone.'"
"'But you know, the only thing I've really learned about dealing with gods is that if you make a deal, you keep it. They get to break all the rules they want. We don't. Even if I tried tow all out of here, my feet would just bring me back.'"
"I sometimes think, Harry, that there are only two eras of any importance in the world’s history. The first is the appearance of a new medium for art, and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also. What the invention of oil-piainting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian Gray will some day be to me."
— Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Location 140
"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul."
— Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Location 76
"Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless."
— Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Location 13
"Failure is easy to measure. Failure is an event. Harder to measure is insignificance. A nonevent. Insignificance creeps, it dawns, it gives you hope, then delusion, then one day, when you’re not looking, it’s there, at your front door, on your desk, in the mirror, or not, not any of that, it’s the lack of all that. One day, when you are looking, it’s not looking, no one is. You lie in your bed and realize that if you don’t get out of bed and into the world today, it is very likely no one will even notice."
— Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Location 2039
"In school our class has been reading a story about a woman who falls into a hole and cannot get out and everyone in the town tries to help her out but they can’t seem to pull her out and at the end, they all walk away one by one, and this is before I start to see commercials on television, with people staring out rain-streaked windows, commercials advertising medicine for some kind of condition, of what, I am not sure, a disease of the brain? Of the heart? Of the soul? This is before I learn to put my mother in that diagnostic box and label it, keep her in there, tidy and categorized, long before any of that, when I can still see her crying as what it is in its raw, unnamed form, jagged, knife-like sobs, pure and intense, wonder why it is so powerful, why she needs to do it, why it bothers my father so much. I can still wonder if it might be a kind of bridge between what is and what could have been, what is and what isn’t anymore, what is and what never was, and that wouldn’t make the crying any less awful but it would make a kind of sense."
— Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Location 1773
"My father was quiet, but not meek, soft-spoken but not unsure. It was more than that. Quiet speaking was more than just a controlled softness of the voice, more than the virtues of decorum and tact and propriety. Quiet speaking was more than manners, or a personal preference or style, or personality in total. It was a way of moving about the world, my father’s way of moving through the world. It was a survival strategy for a recent immigrant to a new continent of opportunity, a land of possibility, to the science fictional area where he had come, on scholarship, with nothing to his name but a small green suitcase, a lamp that his aunt gave him, and fifty dollars, which became forty-seven after exchanging currency at the airport."
— Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Location 877
"I don’t miss him anymore. Most of the time, anyway. I want to. I wish I could but unfortunately, it’s true: time does heal. It will do so whether you like it or not, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If you’re not careful, time will take away everything that ever hurt you, everything you have ever lost, and replace it with knowledge. Time is a machine: it will convert your paint into experience. Raw data will be compiled, will be translated into a more comprehensible language. The individual events of your life will be transmuted into another substance called memory and in the mechanism something will be lost and you will never be able to reverse it, you will never again have the original moment back in its uncategorized, preprocessed sate. It will force you to move on and you will not have a choice in the matter."
— Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Location 697