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Tag Archives: Chris Adrian

” ‘It won’t bring them back,’ Will said, ‘to merely complain.’

” ‘But it will,’ Gob said. ‘Don’t you understand? What’s grief if not a profound complaint? It’s what the engine will do; it will complain. It will greive with mechnical efficiency and mechanical strength. It will grieve for my brother and for your brother and for the six hundred thousand dead of the war. It will grieve for all the dead of history, and all the dead of the future. Man’s grief does nothing to bring them back, but just as man’s hands cannot move mountains, but man’s machines can, our machine will grieve away the boundaries between this world and the next. And then, sure as the rails run to California, the way will be open.’ ”

– Chris Adrian, Gob’s Grief


“The first two rooms she looked in were empty. But in the room called Sage she found all three anorexics gathered together vomiting in the moonlight. Their families were all gone; none of them had been the sort to get many visitors, especially during bad weather. They had only each other and Thelma, whose great wonderful fatness they could look at no longer than they could stare into the sun. They restricted more and more, and as the weeks passed began to binge, something all three, high, pure anorexics, who had defeatedt their bodies by becoming creatures of pure will, would have disdained in the dry world…

“By the time Jemma visited them they had made themselves ghastly-beautiful. From the door she saw them gathered under the window, around a plastic tub that stored toys by the bushel in the playrooms. They held hands and brusehd up against one another languidly, arching their necks and throwing back their heads to swallow their fingers before adding another unit of barf to the big bucket. They were surrounded by the remains of their feast, vanilla-ice-cream puddles glowing in glass dishes shaped like leaves; candy-bar wrappers in neat heaps; chicken skin and chicken fat glistening in patches aorund them in a circle, and bones under their feet. Jemma trod on two large cupcakes as she approached them, her green hands clasped behind her back. They did not notice her until she ws quite close. their pajamas, altered, short, hanging dresses of sage, pumpkin, and ocher, and their hair, brittle but long and styled with particular care into identical sets of heaped and cascading curls, their dramatic poses, their bare feet among bones, their long, sharp nails, and finally their number all gave them an ancient Greek air; though they were exquisitely frail, and close to dying, they seemed as powerful as they were pathetic, three purgies discharging their eternal duty. Jemma, nearly upon them, felt a little afraid, but still laughed out loud. They all turned at once, and spoke from left to right.

” ‘It’s a stomach flu,’ said the first one, defiantly. ‘Who are you?’ asked the second, more meek. The third, finger in mouth, merely stared.

” ‘I am the great fatty,’ Jemma announced, then brought her hands forward, and struck. Green fire spilled into the air as she grabbed at them. They all shrieked identically, and tried to escape, but she was too close for them to eavde her, and they were too weak to break away. They were so thin she could hold all of them in her arms. In three blows she made them right, all four of them burning together. First she restored their organs, heart and lungs and guts ruined with months of self-consumption; no sooner had she wanted it done than it was done, the three girly shrieks climbing into song as Jemma pushed with her mind and her spirit. Then she restored their flesh. She filled them with fire that burned for an instant and was gone, leaving muscle and fat in its place; they popped out of her arms, but remained bound to her by fire. Lastly she restored their minds – already they felt covered with abomination. She weeded their brains, reaching in with fire fingers to rip out that perception; right or wrong, truth or distortion, it was hers to command, and must come out with her, and when she commanded it to scatter on the dark air it must do it.

“When she released them they threw up their arms, as if in praise or surrender, and then fell to the ground, strong bones cushioned by newly upholstered fat. She left them sleeping beside the vomit tub, scattering candy wrappers back and forth between them with their breath. She wiped her feet and moved on.”

– Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

“I see him, too. Oh yes, hello little thing. It wasn’t really so long ago when there seemed to me no greater disaster than a baby in the womb, a seed of corruption and an innocent who would be abused even by the very air of his first breath. Go back! Undivide, involute, and shrink back to safety… Still, I listen, and speak. Hello, little one. Let me be the one to tell you it is finally good news again, to be born.”

– Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

“It all comes from me – circles and circles of corruption and regret and depravity, but before it was in me it was in them – my mother and my father. And before it was in them it was in their parents. And I say – and everyone says – I will not put it in my chid, and yet everybody does. I make promises, I keep lists: this and this and this I will surely never do, because I never want to uncover in my child the sort of hatred my parents uncover in me with even the most innocent and benevolent action. But as surely as the moon rises and the sun sets, depravity passes down through the ages, because there is always a gap between who we are and who we should be, and our parents, molested by regret, conceive us under the false hope that we will be better than them, and everything they do, every hug and blow, only makes certain that we never will be.”

– Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

“Mortals covet. They covet flavorful tea and dark chocolate and silver ladles and fluffy comforters and the fat bottoms of women bending over to tie a shoe. They covet wide green fields and open skies and even hulking mountains of ice and stone. Nothing – nothing in creation has ever been safe from them.”

– Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

“Praise their ignorance, my sister sings.
Praise their fear, I sing.
Praise their hatred.
Praise their envy.
Praise their bitter grief.
Praise them and put them aside.
They are eating the last tainted bread of the earth.
Praise their unhappy fate.
And praise their hours of joy.
Praise their good work.
And praise the sickness of children.
Praise all the tumors.
And praise the bad blood.
Praise the tired livers.
Praise the ailing spleens.
And praise the high colonic ruin.
Praise the drowning waters.
And all the drowned beneath them…”

– Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

“…they might all be wasting their time, just distracting themselves before they became burritos. ‘But you might say that about anything,’ he said to the lady. ‘You might say that about life in general, that we are all just distracting ourselves before we become burritos.’

‘I don’t care for burritos,’ she said.

‘I don’t like them either, those burritos of futility and despair,’ he said. ‘Though I have eaten them, over and over, down to the last bean and stale tortilla nubbin.”

– Chris Adrian, The Great Night

“When he came down on them with his curious two-foot-high storm troopers and sent them all to jail for their activist presumption, people would ask, ‘What’s so threatening, what’s so illegal, about Soylent Green?’ And those questions would lead to other questions, which would lead to others until brick by brick, the Mayor’s little flesh-eating bungalow would be disassembled, and he would be exposed sitting inside at a table with somebody else’s foot in his mouth.”

– Chris Adrian, The Great Night

“Titania listened a while as his tiny footsteps faded, then turned back to the chest, lifting out the contents and putting them on. First there was a thick white underdress of muslin and a veil of cobwebs, and a dress of mail, the links forged of abused silver, so hardened with magical insults by faerie smiths that it was harder than steel…. Her silver ax was at the bottom of the chest. She smiled at it, thinking of all the creatures, inhuman and human, monsters and jealous wives, she had beheaded. The heads tumbled through her memory, lit softly by a nostalgia as tender as what she might reserve for old lovers.”

– Chris Adrian, The Great Night

“He might as well have squawked like a bird or moaned like a retard as said something like ‘I forgot how much I love you.’ But a novel could say such things, in between its lines and underneath what the silly wounded people said and did within its pages, in a way that made perfect sense and voided the curse of squawking retardation because what was said was never actually said.”

– Chris Adrian, The Great Night