Lin Carter

American fantasy writer, editor, critic

Linwood Vrooman (Lin) Carter (June 9, 1930February 7, 1988) was a prolific American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor, poet and critic.



Short fiction

  • Theological disputations are a favorite hobby of mine, but even the most eloquent and learned disputant finds his abilities wane before the persuasiveness of the thumb-lock, the nose-pincers and the molten boot.
    • The Higher Heresies of Oolimar, in Lin Carter (ed.) Flashing Swords! 1 (1973), mass market paperback edition published by Dell Books (Catalogue number 2640), p. 245
  • He would teach them the rudiments of the rather complicated Oolimarine religious system, but so far he was still sketching in the parameters of the One True Unquestioned Faith, as he termed it. This consisted, in the main, of discovering what they believed in as of the moment. And this was done by asking a series of leading questions, whose replies usually sent him in to shuddery spasms of loathing horror. The Oolimarine folk consider the beliefs of all other humans to be a concoction of nauseating and repulsive spiritual errors, and could only interpret their persistent adherence to their beliefs, in the face of the Self-Evident Sacred Truths, as deliberate perversity.
    • The Higher Heresies of Oolimar, p. 248

Tower at the Edge of Time (1968)

All page numbers from the mass market paperback third edition published by Belmont Tower (#40126)
  • “And how do you feel?” the Prince asked in a smooth voice.
    “Better than you look,” Thane grunted.
    • Chapter 9, “Slaves of Chan” (p. 85)
  • Yes, a woman makes a fine weapon in capable hands...slim and supple as a sword blade...and a blade to which no man’s armor is completely proof.
    • Chapter 9, “Slaves of Chan” (p. 86)
  • What use to covet loot, when even stars must die?
    • Chapter 13, “The Scarlet Tower” (p. 124)
  • Chan’s heart knew only greed, but there was within him enough intelligence to wonder before a man who could see all the uselessness of life, and still exult in the possessing of it.
    • Chapter 13, “The Scarlet Tower” (p. 125)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Daw Books (#30)
  • “I don’t understand what you mean,” I confessed in a baffled tone. Niamh gave me a long, cool, faintly amused glance.
    “Don’t you? No, I can see that you do not,” she said. And with that she rolled over, her face turned from me, and fell asleep...leaving me staring at the ceiling, completely mystified, pondering the inexplicable perversities of the female mind.
    • Chapter 17, “A Knife in the Dark” (pp. 112-113)

Time War (1974)

All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Dell (#8625)
  • He was reluctantly forced to conclude that his sanity was unshaken.
    • Chapter 2, “The Lady Lis” (p. 27)
  • Lux forced grief from his mind, thinking grimly of revenge.
    • Chapter 3, “The Silver Men” (p. 41)
  • Knowing that you possess a talent is half the battle in mastering it.
    • Chapter 12, “The Metal Brain” (p. 128)
  • The past has lost, as it always loses; the future has won, as it always wins.
    • Chapter 15, “The Crisis Point” (p. 155)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Daw Books (#293)
  • “What’s a simurgh?”
    “A member of the winged species avian simurghi,” sniffed the simurgh. “Easy to identify because of his gorgeous plumage, ready wit, intelligent conversation, amiable disposition, and fabulous abilities.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 33)
  • “I am not complaining, mind you,” the simurgh was saying in a grumpy, peevish tone of voice a while later, “I was merely pointing out that when one must tamper with the forces of nature, it is better to err on the side of caution and of prudence, than to be too liberal.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 47)
  • This life, my dear bird, consists of a haphazard sequence of accidental meetings and partings, very few of which can ever be anticipated, avoided or fully understood. The element of sheer Chance, my friend, conflicting as it does with the first principles of Causation, denies any premeditated plan on the part of Destiny. Destiny, therefore, may only be defined as the sum total of one’s accumulated experiences, which are themselves accidental and purposeless. ‘Purpose,’ you deduce from this, is an interpretation imposed upon a sequence of events after the fact.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 50)
  • “If one doesn’t learn from one’s unhappy experiences,” he wisely observed, “what’s the point of all that suffering?”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 53)
  • Sheb being a theocracy was naturally ruled by the priests, and priests are naturally bigoted in favor of their own narrow creed, and intolerant of differences of opinion on theological matters. It’s really too bad that things are that way, but there you are: you have to take the world the way it is, not the way you would prefer it to be.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 56)
  • The notion that heresy is a crime of the soul, to be cured by the chastisement of the body, he pointed out in his amiable way, contained an essential error. For the soul has no real connection to the body, merely residing therein for the while. To punish the body for the sins of the soul was, therefore, about as irrational as to burn down a tenement building because it had temporarily housed a criminal.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 60)
  • The young curate, already pale to the lips, rolled his eyes up until only the whites showed, and began to pray in a trembling, feeble voice. Raised in an ecclesiastical society, where the tenets of the Faith are never argued, having long ago all been decided upon, he had never before been exposed to any difference of opinion on such holy matters. It was, indeed, for him an earth-shaking experience even to be listening to these hideous and pandemonial hallucinations, these nauseously original ideas, each of which gnawed at the roots of his sanity like a voracious worm, until the poor fellow felt his reason began to totter and the foundations of his faith began to shudder and reel.
    • Chapter 5 (pp. 61-62)
  • “Umm,” said Ooo, dubiously.
    “Do I detect a questioning tone in your voice?” inquired the bird tartly. “Which might imply that you find a flaw in my reasoning?”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 65)
  • The expression on his features was one of a pained disapproval, similar to that of a gentleman of the cloth when observing the young folks behaving like young folks.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 69)
  • Day dawned, as day generally does, in so spectacular a manner as to seem rather show-offy were it to be encountered among any less significant meteorological phenomena.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 125)
  • It pleased Oolb Votz on this occasion to recommend himself to The God in His Aspect of Kaphoom the Sly, Patron of Confidence Men, Charlatans, Swindlers, Phonies, Advertising Executives, and All Priests.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 127)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Daw Books (#506)
  • Mere abstention from a life of evil does not constitute a life devoted to good works.
    • Chapter 3, “The Monster-Guarded Gate” (p. 25)
  • However, as one or another of the philosophers has probably noted ere now, the morning was not quite over yet.
    • Chapter 13, “Wed and Widowed” (p. 86)
  • “Um,” said Kesrick in a small voice, looking remarkably foolish.
    “Um, indeed!” said Dame Pirouetta tartly. “You will find, dear boy, on these chivalric adventures of yours, that manly courage and fortitude, even when bolstered by the fortunate possession of an enchanted sword such as Dastagerd, are not quite enough: one requires, as well, the use of logic, reason, deduction, and, in a word—intelligence!”
    • Chapter 16, “The Fairy of the Fountain” (p. 105)
  • You will observe, I think, that repentance is seldom whole-hearted, and generally arises from such base and ignoble motives as feeling sorry for yourself in dire circumstances.
    • Chapter 23, “Gaglioffo Repents” (p. 147)
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