In the weeks since the generals had ousted Sulëyman Demirel, random troop deployments had been the order, the better to sow a sense of omniscience, that the army knew its opponents’ minds before they knew them themselves. He scurried past the phalanx of riot shields, head dipped. Martial law scared him. (Ian McDonald, in The Dervish House)
If ever I get to feeling envious, it’s usually when something I read makes me sit up and say, “Oh my! that’s so good.”
The bit that got me on page 147 of Ian McDonald’s latest scifi novel is “… the better to sow a sense of omniscience …”
Where does something so neatly crafted, so euphonious, so aesthetically pleasing come from?
We, as writers, can sometimes get away with pretending we actually authored them … but I’ve come to the conclusion that there are times when, in the midst a milling crowd of unassigned verbiage, a small group of words magically string themselves together – fait accomplit. And we were simply there to catch them at it.
McDonald, Ian. 2010. The dervish house. Amherst, NY: Pyr (Prometheus Books) [p147]