IJ quote of the day 20something

I’m so behind on quotes, y’all. But here are the selections for the three days I’ve missed.

re: Eschaton’s rulebook
it “is about as long and interesting a J. Bunyan’s stupefying Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, and a pretty tough nut to compress into anything lively (although every year a dozen more E.T.A. kids memorize the thing at such a fanatical depth that they sometimes report reciting mumbled passages under light dental or cosmetic anesthesia, years later). But if Hal had a Luger pointed at him and were under compulsion to try, he’d probably start by explaining that each of the 400 dead tennis balls in the game’s global arsenal represents a 5-megaton thermonuclear warhead” (322).
[Bonus points for knocking Pilgrim’s Progress, for the dental anesthesia, and for the narrative framing trope of ‘if the character had a gun to his head’. Silliness. Part of the beauty of this text is that it bounces from gut-wrenchingly depressed to silly in a couple of pages.

To wit: in the middle of the roll-playing thermonuclear war that is geek-athlete Interdependence Day frivolity, “a couple ostensible world leaders run here and there in a rather unstatesmanlike fashion with their open mouths directed at the sky, trying to catch bits of the fall’s first snow” (332).