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"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
- Anna Quindlen

Reading progress update: I've read 359 out of 763 pages.

The Years of Rice and Salt - Kim Stanley Robinson

Looking back down the vale of the ages at the endless recurrence of their reincarnations, before they were forced to drink their vials of forgetting and all became obscure to them again, they could see no pattern at all to their efforts; if the gods had a plan, or even a set of procedures, if the long train of transmigrations was supposed to add up to anything, if it was not just mindless repetition, time itself nothing but a succession of chaoses, no one could discern it; and the story of their transmigrations, rather than being a narrative without death, as the first experience of reincarnation perhaps seemed to suggest, had become instead a veritable charnel house.  Why read on?  Why pick up their book from the far wall where it has been thrown away in disgust and pain, and read on?  Why submit to such cruelty, such bad karma, such bad plotting?


The reason is simple: these things happened.  They happened countless times, just like this.  The oceans are salt with our tears.  No one can deny that these things happened.


And so there is no choice in the matter.  They cannot escape the wheel of birth and death, not in the experience of it, or in the contemplation of it afterward; and their anthologist, Old Red Ink himself, must tell their stories honestly, must deal in reality, or else the stories mean nothing.  And it is crucial that the stories mean something.