„“You ask a question that cannot be answered without knowing the nature of the primal chaos from which being arose. Is Spiral Castle like a crystal, once shattered, forever destroyed? That is what I prefer to believe. Or is it like a still pond, whose mirrored surface may be shattered and churned, but which will inevitably restore itself as the waves die down? You may believe this if you choose. You can even believe—why not?—that the restored universe will be an improvement on the old. For me, so long as I have my vengeance I care not what comes after.”
“And us?”
“We die.” An involuntary rise in the dragon’s voice, a slight quickening of cadence, told her that she had touched upon some unclean hunger akin to but less seemly than battle-lust. “We die beyond any chance of rebirth. You and I and all we have known will cease to be. The worlds that gave us birth, the creatures that shaped us—all will be unmade. So comprehensive will be their destruction that even their pasts will die with them. It is an extinction beyond death that we court. Though the ages stretch empty and desolate into infinity and beyond, there will be none to remember us, nor any to mourn. Our joys, sorrows, struggles, will never have been.
“And even if there is a universe to come, it will know naught of us.”“

—  Michael Swanwick, Chapter 19 (pp. 340-341)
Michael Swanwick photo
Michael Swanwick90
American science fiction author 1950

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