The Infinite Future (2018)Edit
- All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Penguin ISBN 978-0-7352-2432-2
Part 1: Translator’s Note to the Reader by Daniel LaszloEdit
- “I wish I could tell you, Daniel,” he said, “that the reason nobody else has seen this document is because a sinister cabal—the Illuminati, maybe, or the Rosicrucians—has worked for decades to suppress it, and that I only obtained it myself by deciphering a series of obscure clues I found concealed within the world’s most treasured works of art, clues that led me to a labyrinthine archive below a centuries-old cathedral, where I snatched this document from its malevolent keepers at great risk to my own life.
“But the truth is, I found this document in a box of garbage, and nobody else knows about it because nobody else cares.”
- “Nevertheless,” he went on, standing the envelope back up on its edge. “I would ask you, are the forces of indifference any less sinister than those of hooded cultists bound together by arcane oaths to uphold ancient and bloody agendas? I would say no, mainly because I don’t believe these secret cabals really exist. Indifference, though, is all too real. Indifference snuffs out idealism and enables tyrants. Indifference consigns millions of fascinating men and women to the dustbin of history. Indifference swallows people like you and me into its gaping maw, never to release us. That’s what we’re fighting against here, Daniel.”
- Of course, I told myself that the only reason I was experiencing anything unusual was because I was expecting to experience something unusual, primed as I’d been by Sérgio’s wild account of his own relationship with these texts.
- Something in Karen’s tone triggered my inner contrarian, and I found myself disagreeing with her before I could quite say why.
- The thing about crackpots is that they don’t respond well to rigorous questioning of their pet ideas.
- I felt like a person again, instead of a walking bundle of bad decisions.
- You see, I’ve tried philosophy, but philosophy feels far too cautious, too bound by human logic. And then there’s religion—God, angels, sin—but none of that has ever appealed to me. Fiction masquerading as cosmology is what it feels like to me, and all too self-important, too self-serious.
- “I know what you mean,” I said. “I remember a couple of years ago—”
But Sérgio held up a hand to stop me. “I appreciate the gesture, Daniel,” he said. “I really do. But there’s a certain kind of existential disappointment you can only experience after you’ve passed the midpoint of your life, and right now I’m not sure if I can listen with much sympathy to your story of youthful travails. I hope you’ll understand.”
- Seeing our creation’s name in print made us feel like minor gods; we had summoned into existence a human being, or at least the illusion of one.
Part 2: The Infinite Future by Eduard Salgado-MackenzieEdit
- As a student of history I understand the fleeting nature of any given way of life. What may seem to its occupants to be a state of unalterable stability will soon—in months, years, decades, or centuries—give way to chaos. Barbarian hordes will invade. Disease-ridden ships will arrive. Nuclear weapons will be deployed. When the way of life in question is my own, however, my perspective becomes markedly less academic.
- You may also be wondering, incidentally, why my comrades and I aren’t preparing to defend our convent—or, better yet, to flee. Our rationale is complicated—partly ideological and partly pragmatic. The troops dispatched by the Delegarchs will not only vastly outnumber and outgun us but will also consist entirely of young people. Such has been the practice in warfare for millennia, the carcasses of a civilization’s youth serving as gruesome prophylactics for the aged ruling classes in their perpetual battle against any and all threats to their own desperately held power. Our order believes that to fight against such youthful troops is to validate the logic of empire, and so—not in passivity but in protest—we lay down our weapons (so to speak; we don’t actually have any weapons).
- Star-Guard, that’s a restatement, not an explanation.
- Trust was essential to a well-functioning unit, and lying was antithetical to trust.
- Despite its vapidity, though, Carey’s argument has gained traction in certain circles, not because of its scholarly rigor or even its plausibility, but because like all conspiracy theories, it is as intriguing as it is improbable.
- Treachery is such a slippery concept after all, so dependent on the vantage point from which events are viewed, and of course, on who survives to write the definitive history of what transpires.
- Just as nature abhors a vacuum, our minds abhor a mystery.
- Once we arrive in the afterlife, if it exists, we will never cease to be. Our post-mortal existence will stretch on forever. I don’t know. The thought of such an infinite future leaves me feeling claustrophobic. A little short of breath. With no exit and no end, eternal life could be a very small cage indeed.
- As I said, such a possibility is a remote one, and I refuse to allow hope, that winged menace, to find purchase in my heart.
- “That’s completely absurd,” said Valenti.
“I recognize that,” said the woman. “But it’s also completely true.”
- In spite of the rage that simmered within her, Sertôrian understood that revenge had a tendency, even when successful, to destroy the avenger along with her targets.
- It turns out that rivalry engenders an intimacy all its own.