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A Horror Novel's Food For Thought
By Jack McDevitt's fictional horror novelist Vicky Green
from his book "The Devil's Eye."

Midnight and Roses

  1. Over the ages, it is a world whose name has become synonymous with great art. Nowhere else can we find music and sculpture and literature on their level. Whether one thinks of drama or symphonies or architecture or even botanical displays, one always has to confront their contribution. It may be related to their separation from the rest of us, or it may simply be something in the water, but we always have to make room for them. The power of their contributions, of luminous towers, concerts by the sea, brilliant comedy, tragedy on the summer stage, enriches us all.
  2. A person must have time to grow accustomed to the idea that he will die soon. When it happens violently, suddenly, unexpectedly, he is simply not ready to leave. He will cling to a favorite chair, or retreat inside a computer. He will hang on to the things that are familiar and resist all effort at removal. In the end, you must throw out the furniture. If that doesn’t work, sell the house.
  3. Barry would have been all right if he hadn’t become a physicist. But all that nonsense about mass and energy got him believing he really knew how the world worked. And he didn’t. He never did. And that’s what got him killed.
  4. The ideal death, the death to be hoped for, is one that comes swiftly, out of the night, that takes you while you’re enjoying the strawberries, and sweeps you away before you’ve had time even to know that the lights have gone out.
  5. “It is not true, Mirra, that anyone who walks through that door simply vanishes. Walks out of the world and is never heard from again. It’s true of some. I, however, would be perfectly safe. In fact, virtually anyone you brought in from the street would be perfectly safe.”
    “Who then, Professor?”
    “Only those you love, Mirra. Only they are threatened.”
  6. This is my promise to you, Beth. As long as there is a star in the sky, no evil will come upon you.
  7. Whatever it is that hides in Uncle Lester’s garden, it comes quickly and silently. Six have died, but no sound has been heard.
  8. Yes, there are occasional human monsters who show up and create havoc, but the real day-to-day damage is usually done by people who mean well.
  9. Get out, child. Get out. Get as far from this dark place as you can. A spirit hangs over it, infests it, drifts along its passageways, and, ultimately, destroys all who live here.
  10. We are each entombed within our skulls, Maria. We never really come to know each other. We do not feel the emotions of others, except superficially. Nor their fears or passions. The reality is that we are alone.
  11. Bureaucracies are not like people. They neither love nor hate. They do not suffer, and they have no grasp of compassion. Most of all, they do not make moral judgments, one way or the other. I know that it sometimes seems they do, but believe me, Rose, it’s all politics. Or sheer neglect.
  12. There are such things as ghosts, Henry. Your mistake is that you assume they are inevitably the spirits of people who have died. But many things leave a presence when they have ceased to exist: a childhood home, a lost jacket, a school that has been torn down to make a parking lot. Go back to the street where the home existed, visit the parking lot on a quiet afternoon, stop by the field where you removed the jacket and laid it on the ground while you played ball, and you will feel their presence as you never did in the mundane world.

Midnight and Roses

A Horror Novel's Food For Thought