3. "accustomed to lure him into speaking of himself. But she put them far less spontaneously, far less adroitly, than usual. Her one all-absorbing anxiety in entering that room was not an anxiety to be trifled with."
- Wilkie Collins, No Name
4. "So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us--that's snatched right out of our hands--even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness."
- Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
5. "But when the Jews, while in subjection to the kings of Babylon and later the kings of Syria, wanted to remain steadfast in not giving recognition to any other god but their own (think about Haman’s arguments in the Book of Esther), their refusal, seen as rebellion against the victor, brought them the persecutions we read in their history, and of which there is no other precedent prior to Christianity. Since this new idea of an otherworldly kingdom (-that Jesus speaks about) had never entered to head of the pagans, they always regarded Christianity as true rebels who, underneath their hypothetical submission, were only waiting for the moment when they would become independent and the masters, and adroitly they pretended in their weakness to respect. This is the reason for the persecution."
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
6. "Finally, the self-operating machine, detached from detailed human supervision if not ultimate control, was implicit in the abstract model of the megamachine. What was once done clumsily, with imperfect human substitutes, always necessarily on a large scale, paved the way for mechanical operations that can now be managed adroitly on a small scale: an automatic hydraulic electric power station can transmit the energy of a hundred thousand horses. Plainly many of the mechanical triumphs of our own age were already latent in the earliest megamachines, and what is more, the gains were fully anticipated in fantasy. But before we become unduly inflated over our own technical progress, let us remember that a single thermonuclear weapon can now easily kill ten million people, and that the minds now in charge of these weapons have already proved as open to practical miscalculations, humanly distorted judgments, corrupt fantasies, and psychotic breakdowns as those of Bronze Age kings."
- Lewis Mumford, Technics and Human Development
7. "But when the wizard is onstage as the main character, you have to adopt what I call the Jack Vance Rule. I call it this because Jack Vance is the first author successfully and adroitly to have applied this rule in his The Dying Earth. The Jack Vance Rule is: (1) The wizard has to be able to do something unusual, or else he is not a wizard, (2) he cannot do everything, or else there is no drama; therefore (3) the story teller has to communicate to the reader whatever the dividing line is that separates what the wizard can do from what he cannot do, so that the reader can have a reasonable expectation of knowing what the wizard can and cannot do."
- John C. Wright, Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth
8. "So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us - that's snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of insurmountable emptiness... Maybe, in some distant place, everything is already, quietly, lost. Or at least there exists a silent place where everything can disappear, melting together in a single, overlapping figure. And as we live our lives we discover - drawing toward us the thin threads attached to each - what has been lost. I closed my eyes and tried to bring to mind as many beautiful lost things as I could. Drawing them closer, holding on to them. Knowing all the while that"
- Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
9. "Was it only that explosion of atavism which is now evasively called "the cult of personality" that was so horrible? Or was it even more horrible that during those same years, in 1937 itself, we celebrated Pushkin's centennial? And that we shamelessly continued to stage those self-same Chekhov plays, even though the answers to them had already come in? Is it not still more dreadful that we are now being told, thirty years later, "Don't talk about it!"? If we start to recall the sufferings of millions, we are told it will distort the historical perspective! If we doggedly seek out the essence of our morality, we are told it will darken our material progress! Let's think rather about the blast furnaces, the rolling mills that were built, the canals that were dug... no, better not talk about the canals.... Then maybe about the gold of the Kolyma? No, maybe we ought not to talk about that either.... Well, we can talk about anything, so long as we do it adroitly, so long as we glorify it...."
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
10. " windows. She shut doors. (So she tried to start the tune of Mrs Ramsay in her head.) Arriving late at night, with a light tap on one’s bedroom door, wrapped in an old fur coat (for the setting of her beauty was always that—hasty, but apt), she would enact again whatever it might be—Charles Tansley losing his umbrella; Mr Carmichael snuffling and sniffing; Mr Bankes saying, The vegetable salts are lost. All this she would adroitly shape; even maliciously twist; and, moving over to the window, in pretence that she must go,—it was dawn, she could see the sun rising,—half turn back, more intimately, but still always laughing, insist that she must, Minta must, they all must marry, since in the whole world whatever laurels might be tossed to her (but Mrs Ramsay cared not a fig for her painting), or triumphs won by her (probably Mrs Ramsay had had her share of those), and here she saddened, darkened, and came back to her chair, there could be no disputing this: an unmarried woman (she lightly took"
- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse