The Wall of Awesome

I wanted to start a list of what science fiction and fantasy stories need to capture in order to be awe-inspiring. So far I have two entries.

First is the ‘I wanted a Roc’s Egg’ speech from Robert Heinlein’s GLORY ROAD:

What did I want?

I wanted a Roc’s egg. I wanted a harem loaded with lovely odalisques less than the dust beneath my chariot wheels, the rust that never stained my sword. I wanted raw red gold in nuggets the size of your fist and feed that lousy claim jumper to the huskies! I wanted to get up feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a like wench for my droit du seigneur — I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles.

I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, “The game’s afoot!” I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and the Lost Dauphin.
I wanted Prestor John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be–instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.”

Second is from a comment here, by Steve.  I have edited out the specific authoresses name, because I want the reader to notice the point of the comment as it applies generally, not just to this case:

In turbulent times such as these, I take comfort in knowing there are skiffy authors … who know how to write a compelling story:

[…] I have a book with an ace protagonist coming out next year.

When I was a wee lad in the 1980’s, “ace” meant “cool”. So will [the authoress] be writing about a rakish, devil-may-care space pilot who women love and men want to emulate? A dashing cavalier of the cosmos, a man who aims to misbehave and definitely would shoot Greedo first, but who – underneath his galaxy-weary cynicism – has a heart for romantic adventure and derring-do? The sort of man who rescues space princesses, smuggles Romulan ale, fights cylons, and has smoked kippers for breakfast?


“Ace” apparently means “asexual”, as in people who are so sad and wretched that not only can’t they get Pon Farr at the sight of a pretty young Vulcan’s logically heaving bosom (or space-codpiece), they don’t even want to.

Fun times, right?

And there will be a no-prize for anyone who catches all the allusions in both speeches, from Arabian Nights’ to Ace Rimmer.