A. E. Van Vogt Quotes
“You assume far too readily that man is a paragon of justice, forgetting, apparently, that he has a long and savage history. He has killed other animals not only for meat but for pleasure; he has enslaved his neighbors, murdered his opponents, and obtained the most unholy sadistical joy from the agony of others. It is not impossible that we shall, in the course of our travels, meet other intelligent creatures far more worthy than man to rule the universe.”
“His mind, grooved through the uncounted ages to ultimate despair, soared up insanely. His legs and arms glistened like tongues of living fire as they writhed and twisted in the light that blazed from the portholes. His mouth, a gash in his caricature of a human head, slavered a white frost that floated away in little frozen globules.”
“Contentedly sat the old woman. Soon now, the sea would hold no terrors, and the blinds wouldn't have to be down, nor the windows shut; she would even be able to walk along the shore at midnight as of old; and they, whom she had deserted so long ago, would once more shrink from the irresistable energy aura of her new, young body.
The sound of the sea came to her, where she sat so quietly; calm sound at first, almost gentle in the soft sibilation of each wave thrust. Farther out, the voices of the water were louder, more raucous, blatantly confident, but the meaning of what they said was blurred by the distance, a dim, clamorous confusion that rustled discordantly out of the gathering night.
She shouldn't be aware of night falling, when the blinds were drawn.
“I looked up its history, and, surprisingly, it has quite a history. You know how in Europe they make you study a lot of stuff about the old alchemists and all that kind of stuff, to give you an historical grounding.'
Kemp laughed. 'You haven't got a witch around your place by any chance?'
'Eh!' The exclamation almost burned Marson's lips. He fought hard to hide the tremendousness of that shock.
Kemp laughed again. 'According to 'Die Geschichte der Zauberinnen' by the Austrian, Karl Gloeck, Hydrodendon Barelia is the modem name for the sinister witch's weed of antiquity. I'm not talking about the special witches of our Christian lore, with their childish attributes, but the old tribe of devil's creatures that came out of prehistory, regular full-blooded sea witches. It seems when each successive body gets old, they choose a young woman's body, attune themselves to it by living with the victim, and take possession any time after midnight of the first full moon period following the 21st of June. Witch's weed is supposed to make the entry easier. Gloeck says... why, what's the matter, sir?'
His impulse, his wild and terrible impulse, was to babble the whole story to Kemp. With a gigantic effort, he stopped himself; for Kemp, though he might talk easily of witches, was a scientist to the depths of his soul.
“The mist enveloped her form. She was lifted into it, then instantly dropped. Swiftly, the mist retreated to the window.
It was gone. The old woman lay flat on her back, eyes open and staring; her mouth open, too, unprettily.
That was the over-all effect - the utter lack of anything beautiful.
“To the men, darkness made no difference. The Space Beagle crouched on a vast plain of jagged metal. Every porthole shed light. Great searchlights poured added illumination on rows of engines that were tearing enormous holes into the all-iron world. At the beginning, the iron was fed into a single manufacturing machine, which turned out unstable iron torpedoes at the rate of one every minute, and immediately launched them into space. By dawn of the next morning, the manufacturing machine itself began to be manufactured, and additional robot feeders poured raw iron into each new unit. Soon, a hundred, then thousands of manufacturing machines were turning out those slim, dark torpedoes. In ever greater numbers they soared into the surrounding night, scattering their radioactive substance to every side. For thirty thousand years those torpedoes would shed their destroying atoms. They were designed to remain within the gravitational field of their galaxy, but never to fall on a planet or into a sun.”