Those of you who "know" me here in the funtrivia forums may be familiar with my quiz on Famous Swords in Legend and Literature
; if you have seen that quiz, you will know why the following wonderful passage caught my eye. It practically provides a cheat-sheet for my quiz.
Anyway, I just finally got around to Norfolk's The Pope's Rhinoceros
, and in the first section of Part IV (And the Ship Sails On), the narrative voice is describing the troubles of an old drunkard who is dreaming or imagining or realizing that he is trapped inside a gastric cavity of a giant orange slug. At one point, the description runs as follows:
"The slug's translucent tubes and multiple stomachs are the elasticated corridors and cells of an illimitable and eternal rubber prison. It's dulled, muffled, blurred, fogged. Siegfried has bounced his Balmung against these elasticated walls, Charlemagne his Flamberge, and Caesar his Yellow Death. Zadkiel's knife sliced the gullets of a thousand goats before blunting itself in these mucus stumps, and Occam's razor shattered on the fact that this particular entity has no desire or need to reproduce itself. Even a four-armed Mahomet wielding Halef, and Medham, and Al Battar, and Dhu i Fakar all at the same time succeeded only in wedging himself even tighter between the quivering membranes, the glandular secretions swilling about his ankles as he stabbed fourfold at the floor. It's no good. hey've all been through here, all suffered the rush of this homogenized stuff, the fakery of its affects, and its dreary occupation of the senses. Ansias, Galas, and Munifican applying the most advanced technologies yet dreamed by the armorers of Nurnberg to alloys forged from Thor's melted-down hammer and the saw-blade used to quarter Saint James the Less may yet come up with some monstrous slug-shredder sufficient to the task, but in the meantime there's only the age-old program of sufferance and a fistful of well-worm pieties. ..."
The slug turns out, as this passage obliquely hints, to be consciousness.