Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quotes from Algis Budrys' "Rogue Moon" (novel)

I collect the quotes from the book below, separate from main post on the book.


  1. "There's the people who get moved out of the way or into line, & then there's the people who do the moving."
  2. About the moon formation: "It's a place. Or perhaps not. Perhaps it's an artifact - or else a living thing. But it's in a definite location, readily accessible."

    "it is roughly a hundred meters in diameter & twenty meters high, with irregularities & amorphous features we cannot accurately describe. We still know very little of its nature".

    "We don't even know what to call that place. The eye won't follow it, & photographs convey only the most fragile impression. There is reason to suspect it exists in more than three spatial dimensions. Nobody knows what it is, why it's located there, what its true purpose might be, or what created it. We don't know whether it's animal, vegetable, or mineral. We don't know whether it's somehow natural, or artificial. We know, from the geology of several meteorite craters that have heaped rubble against its sides, that it's been there for, at the very least, a million years. And we know what it does now: it kills people."

    "There's only one entrance into the thing... It is not an opening in any describable sense; it is a place where the nature of this formation permits entrance by a human being, either by design or accident. It cannot be explained in more precise terms, & it can't be encompassed by the eye or, we suspect, the human brain."

    "A man inside it can be seen, very dimly, if we know where to look. No one knows, except in the most incoherent terms, what he sees. No one has ever come out; no one has ever been able to find an exit; the entrance cannot be used for that purpose. Non-living matter, such as a photograph or a corpse, can be passed out from inside. But the act of passing it out is invariably fatal to the man doing it... The formation also does not permit electrical signals from its interior... Coughs, grunts, other noninformative mouth-noises, are permissible. An attempt to encode a message in this manner failed."

    "You will not be able to maintain communication, either by broadcast or along a cable. You will be able to make very limited hand signals to observers from the outpost, and you will make written notes on a tablet tied to a cord, which the observer team will attempt to draw back after you die. If that fails, the man on the next try will have to go in & pass the tablet out by hand, if he can, & if it is decipherable."

    "We have a chart of safe postures & motions ... as well as of fatal ones. It is, for example, fatal to kneel on one knee while facing lunar north. It is fatal to raise the left hand above shoulder height while in any position whatsoever. It is fatal past a certain point to wear armor whose air hoses loop over the shoulders. It is fatal past another point to wear armor whose air tanks feed directly into the suit without the use of hoses at all. It is crippling to wear armor whose dimensions vary greatly from the ones we are using now. It is fatal to use the hand motions required to write the English word 'yes,' with either the left or right hand."

    "We don't know why. We only know what a man can & cannot do while within that part of the formation which has been explored. Thus far, we have a charted safe path & safe motions to a distance of some twelve meters. The survival time for a man within the formation is now up to three minutes, fifty two seconds."

    "Perhaps it's the alien equivalent of a discarded tomato can. Does a beetle know why it can enter the can only from one end as it lies across the trail to the beetle's burrow? Does the beetle understand why it is harder to climb to the left or right, inside the can, than it is to follow a straight line? Would the beetle be a fool to assume the human race put the can there to torment it - or an egomaniac to believe the can was manufactured only to mystify it? It would be best for the beetle to study the can in terms of the can's logic, to the limit of the beetle's ability. In that way, at least, the beetle can proceed intelligently. It may even grasp some hint of the can's maker."

    It has "rules, & the crazy logic: Alice in Wonderland with teeth."
  3. "There are the people in this world who act, & the people who scheme. The ones who act get things done, & the ones who scheme try to take credit for it."
  4. "you won't actually have made the journey. The Barker who appears in the receiver has not one atom in his body that is an atom in your body now... It makes no functional difference ... that the Barker who appears is only an exact duplicate of the original... This new Barker has your memories, complete, & even the memory of the half completed thought that he finishes as he stands there. But the original Barker is gone, forever".

    "Barker who appears in the receiver could not be distinguished from the original in any way... it will seem to him that nothing has happened. When it happens to you, it'll seem to you that it's you who's standing there. The realization that somewhere else, once, there was a Barker who no longer exists, will be purely academic. You will know it because you'll remember my telling it to you now."
  5. "The universe has resources of death which we have barely begun to pick at.

    Death is in the nature of the universe, Barker. Death is only the operation of a mechanism. All the universe has been running down from the moment of its creation. Did you expect a machine to care what it acted upon?"
  6. "You ... were speechless at the injustice of it. You'd never thought that justice was only another human invention."
  7. On women: "here were these other intelligent organisms, in the same world with men, & there had to be a purpose for that intelligence. If all women were for was the continuance of the race, what did they need intelligence for? A simple set of instincts would have done just as well. And as a matter of fact, the instincts are there, so what was the intelligence for? There were plenty of men to take care of making the physical environment comfortable. That wasn't what women were for. At least, it wasn't what they had to have intelligence for."
  8. "Passing initiations doesn't mean a thing, if you go right back to what you were doing before; if you don't know you've changed!"