Thursday, January 23, 2014

Magic: An Analysis of My Favorite Novel Quotes (Part 4)

To find the first three parts of this series, check out my "quotes" tag.  Today I'm switching gears, moving to the adult age group.  This one is rather brief, taken from a seemingly-random spot toward the middle of the third Enderverse book.

"For a long time, several minutes, the three faces in the display gazed in silence at Qing-jao, at Wang-mu." - Xenocide

The magic this time around is subtle, very subtle.  The quote may confuse you if you don't know what's going on.  That's where the magic comes in.  It's all about POV here.

This sentence is from the POV of Jane, one of the major characters in Xenocide.  To make things simple and keep back spoilers, let's say that Jane lives in a computer network.  She processes information many times faster than humans.  A minute to her is like months to us.  Applying that tidbit to the quote, Jane simply stared at Qing-jao and Wang-mu for the equivalent of about a year from her standpoint.  Could that get any more mind-boggling, amazing, and outright magical?

Orson Scott Card is great with characters, and he hit a home-run here.  His description of several minutes as "a long time" in Jane's POV is easy to overlook, but shouldn't be.  Just when Jane seemed so human, bam!  You get this line.  Few sentences can hold similar amounts of magic on their own.


  1. It sounds interesting Patrick. Jane's character looks intriguing. Someone who processes information many times faster than humans sounds cool.

    1. She definitely is. I'd start with Ender's Game, the first Enderverse book, if you'd like to read about her.