Mirror Time

"Rachel was looking into the mirror at an angle of 45°, and so had a view of the face turned toward the room and the face on the other side, reflected in the mirror; here were time and reverse-time, co-existing, cancelling one another exactly out. Were there many such reference points, scattered through the world, perhaps only at nodes like this room which housed a transient population of the imperfect, the dissatisfied [...]" (V., p.46)

"But soon the hand passed twelve and began its course down the other side of the face; as if it had passed through the surface of a mirror, and had now to repeat in mirror-time what it had done on the side of real-time." (V., p.52)

Mondaugen "finally to leave depression-time in Munich, journey into this other hemisphere, and enter mirror-time in the South-West Protectorate." (V., p.230)

Mirror-time in action:

Florence, April 1899:

In a garden, "[Victoria Wren] led [Hugh Godolphin] to a stone bench by the pool." (V., p.168)
"Something splashed lazily in the pool." (V., p.172)

Südwestafrika, May 1922:

"[Vera Meroving] was sitting in the rockery [rock garden] with old Godolphin, beside a goldfish pool." (V., p.246)
"and after braining an inquisitive goldfish with a rock, she left Godolphin." (V., p.248)

Other examples of mirror-time in V.


"[The sun] went down; as if he'd extinguished it after all and continued on immortal, god of a darkened world." (V., p.26)
On an evening in 1946, separated by stone balusters from the Mediterranean, the son had sat with one Margravine di Chiave Lowenstein on the terrance of her villa on the western coast of Mallorca; the sun was setting into thick clouds, turning all the visible sea to a sheet of pearl-gray. Perhaps they may have felt like the last two gods — the last inhabitants — of a watery earth;" (V., p.53)
"[...] some came to the veranda to watch [...] They still watched him and their hush now was a part of the same that hung over all the scrubland. The morning's sun bleached their faces a Fasching-white he remembered seeing in another place. They gazed across the ravine dehumanized and aloof, as if they were the last gods of earth." (V., p.279)

Loving the Birdmen

"[Schoenmaker] got to know the guts not only of Breguets [...], but also of the birdmen who did go up, and whom, of course, he adored. There was always a certain feudal-homosexual element in this division of labor." (p. 97) "[H]is free-floating affection sad and thwarted for a time till it managed to attach itself to a new face. But in each case, loss was as unspecified as the proposition 'love dies.' They flew off and were swallowed by the sky." (V., p.97-98)
"[Maratt] was working as a mechanic out at Ta Kali and had grown fond of several pilots. One by one they were shot from the sky." (p.317)

Whose Brain Is This?

Herbert Stencil: "Shall he tell you: he works for no Whitehall, none conceivable unless, ha, ha, the network of white halls in his own brain: these featureless corridors he keeps swept and correct for occasional visiting agents. Envoys from the zones of human crucified, the fabled districts of human love. But in whose employ? Not his own: it would be lunacy, the lunacy of any self-appointed prophet. . . ." (V., p.53)
Sidney Stencil: "He indeed was visited by dreams in which he had shrunk to submicroscopic size and entered a brain, strolling in through some forehead's pore and into the cul-de-sac of a sweat gland. [...] [T]iny Stencil wandered all night long among the silent, immense lightning bursts of nerve-impulses crossing a synapse; the waving dendrites, the nerve-autobahns chaining away to God knew where in receding clusters of end-bulbs. A stranger in this landscape, it never occurred to him to ask whose brain he was in." (V., p.471)


"[Fergus Mixolydian] had devised an ingenious sleep-switch, receiving its signal from two electrodes placed on the inner skin of his forearm. When Fergus dropped below a certain level of awareness, the skin resistance increased over a preset value to operate the switch." (V., p.56)
"[Bongo-Shaftsbury] rolled up the shirt cuff and thrust the naked underside of his arm at the girl. Shiny and black, sewn into the flesh, was a miniature electric switch. Single-pole, double-throw. [...] Thin silver wires ran from its terminals up the arm, disappearing under the sleeve." (V., p.80)

Fathers and Sons

"One evening, drowsing on the sofa in Bongo-Shaftsbury's apartment, Stencil took out his one souvenir of whatever old Sidney's Maltese adventure had been. A gay, four-color postcard, a Daily Mail battle photo from the Great War, showing a platoon of sweating, kilted Gordons wheeling a stretcher on which lay an enormous German enlisted man with a great mustache, one leg in a splint and a most comfortable grin. Sidney's message read: 'I feel old, and yet like a sacrificial virgin. Write and cheer me up. Father.'" (V., p.63)
"At Deauville, recuperating after two months of good-natured lechery in Paris, [Evan Godolphin had] returned to his hotel one evening 17,000 francs to the good and grateful to a bay named Cher Ballon, to find a telegram from Captain Hugh which said: 'Hear you were sacked. If you need someone to talk to I am at Piazza della Signoria 5 eighth floor. I should like very much to see you son. Unwise to say too much in telegram. Vheissu. You understand. Father.'" (V., p.157)


H. Stencil: "Disguise is one of her attributes." (regarding V.) (V., p.388)
Mehemet: "Disguise is one of her attributes." (regarding Mara) (V., p.462)
McClintic Sphere: "Keep cool but care" (V., p.366)
SHROUD: "Keep cool but care" (V., p.369)
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