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An odd pastime

People have wanted to narrate since first we banged rocks together & wondered about fire. There’ll be tellings as long as there are any of us here, until the stars disappear one by one like turned-out lights. Some such stories are themselves about the telling of others. An odd pastime. Seemingly redundant, or easy to get lost in, like a picture that contains a smaller picture of itself, which in turn contains—& so on. Such phenomena have a pleasing foreign name: they are mise-en-abymes.

China Mieville, Railsea (2012)

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