McCammon: A Wasteful Breed

“I remember hearing this somewhere: when an old man dies, a library burns down. I wondered about this as I walked among the graves. How many stories were here, buried and forgotten? How many old burned libraries, how many young ones that had been building their volumes year by year? And all the stories, lost. I wished there was a place you could go, and sit in a room like a movie theater and look through a catalogue of a zillion names and then you could press a button and a face would appear on the screen and tell you about the life that had been. It would be a living memorial to the generations who had gone on before, and you could still hear their voices though those voices had been stilled for a hundred years. It seemed to me, as I walked in the presence of all those stilled voices that would never be heard again, that we were a wasteful breed. We had thrown away the past, and our future was impoverished for it.”

– Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life (pp. 485-486)

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