human media: excerpts from Life During Wartime

The pucker of an old bullet wound on her right shoulder. … She wasn’t attractive, but she was plain in the way history is plain, its contrivance lending the world a symmetry that implies hidden beauty; and it seemed to him that her impassivity was symptomatic of the quiet confidence with which beauty confronts the world. … the scars bore this out. … To fuck history, do it doggy-style, kneeling and balls-deep in history’s meat, overlooking its scarred plain … Fucking the history of rebellion, of the Army of the Poor, of brutalised peasants and Indians. … he pictured himself on a movie poster, MINGOLLA in flaming letters, his figure towering above burning villages and screaming hordes… Then he saw it from another viewpoint. Saw himself sneaking along a corpse-choked alley, hunting for a victim. He couldn’t understand how he had come to this pass …

– Lucius Shepard, Life During Wartime, Gollancz, London, 2006 (first published 1987), pp. 144-146

You didn’t need much of a reason for love … And it might be that lack of knowledge was a stimulant to emotion, that things were most alluring when they were not quite real …

the crickets and frogs with glowing eyes, the red-skulled monkeys with vibratory tongues, the black magic birds with tympani beaks … she would tune in to what they were saying separately and unanimously, saying in music, saying in code, in clicks and squeals and arcs of iridescent noise. There is no reason There is no reason There is no reason, and she would be mesmerised, and she would understand, and she would give up her fear.

– Lucius Shepard, Life During Wartime, pp. 224-225

His heart felt lumpy, made of something disgusting and oily like lard.

– Lucius Shepard, Life During Wartime, p. 369