Ellen Kushner

American writer

Ellen Kushner (born October 6, 1955) is an American writer of fantasy novels.

Ellen Kushner in 2010


All page numbers from the mass market edition published by Bantam Spectra
  • “You founded the place. Why don’t you want to go?”
    “I don’t like children,” the duke replied.
    “Then why put out all that money to preserve them?”
    “Because it is wrong to let them die.”
    • Part I, Chapter VIII, (p. 79)
  • “The trouble with you,” the Ugly Girl said, “is that you think you know just what everyone should do, don’t you?”
    The Mad Duke smiled at her. His face was bright and sharp, smooth and glittering. “Yes,” he said, “I do.”
    “And what,” she said, “if you’re wrong?”
    “And what,” he said, “if I’m not?”
    • Part I, Chapter VIII (p. 82)
  • “In real life, my sweet poet,” the duke said as the swordsmen circled, “words can never be undone.”
    • Part I, Chapter IX (p. 99)
  • Honest change? Honest? Has someone altered the definition of the word while my back was turned, or have you recently developed a sense of humor?
    • Part II, Chapter II (p. 130)
  • “Tell me about the city, then.”
    The master shrugged. “It’s crowded. It smells. There are lots of things to buy.”
    • Part II, Chapter III (p. 140)
  • Is this politics? I suppose I am going to have to learn all about it, if I am to run Lord Ferris’s household, and throw parties and all. Now...explain to me again just who hates who, and why?
    • Part III, Chapter III (p. 193)
  • “Abjuring love? Real people don’t do that. Now you’re the one who sounds like someone on a stage. That’s not the real world. Real people follow their hearts, wherever it takes them. Real people refuse to be put into a little tiny box. You can say you love me or you don’t love me, it doesn’t matter; I know you have foresworn nothing except an existence you found intolerable.”
    She really did smile this time. “Now you’re making me sound like a heroine. Be honest, Lucius. For all that you go on about the real world with its real people, you don’t really want to live in it, either.”
    • Part III, Chapter VIII (p. 299)
  • In a city where most of the wealth is controlled by a small few, certain things are overlooked, particularly when it comes to the assertion of privilege.
    • Part IV, Chapter V (p. 385)
  • I’m the Duke of Riverside. I build things here and pretty much keep the peace, and discourage certain behaviors. If you think all that has been achieved through entirely civil and lawful means, you’ve had your head in a bucket.
    • Part IV, Chapter V (p. 385)
  • Our theories stand. We both see clearly; we know what’s right. Even if it’s not always possible to act on it, don’t you think it matters to be able to call things by their true names?
    • Part IV, Chapter V (p. 386)
  • “I thought I would be safe here.”
    “You are.” For the first time, he touched her, touched her hand. “Safe from everything but paper and ink. Please. Put those down.”
    “Paper and ink.” She clutched the books to her ample chest. “They’re not nothing, Alec. They’re pretty much everything to me: the embodiment of ideas, of thought—of free and open thought. Of inquiry and supposition. All of it.”
    • Part IV, Chapter V (p. 386)
  • “I heard it clearly, and so did everyone else, I’ll be bound. Your name, dear, not mine. I am very popular. You, it seems, are not.”
    “What a surprise.” He dropped petals on the floor. “And what a good thing I don’t care.”
    “How nice for you that you don’t have to.”
    “Meaning,” he drawled, “that you do.”
    “Just so.”
    • Part IV, Chapter V (p. 392)
  • “I was afraid you wouldn’t take me seriously.”
    “I did. But I am preparing,” the duke said, “to revise that opinion. Stop playing and tell me what you want.”
    “And you’ll give it to me?”
    “What do you think? If it’s reasonable, I’ll consider it. If it’s not, I have the resources to annoy you very much as you’ve been annoying me. It’s true I have more scruples—but I’m willing to suspend them. I also have more money, you see—lots more money. I wasn’t planning to waste any of it on you, but I could be convinced to change my mind.”
    • Part IV, Chapter VI (p. 404)
  • He felt the almost sexual thrill of being the one in the room with all the power.
    • Part IV, Chapter VI (p. 405)
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