Last Lines

by stephenpalmersf

Last lines

Last lines are tricky things. Mine fall into two camps, those implying a final end to trauma and effort (the majority), or those implying something less hopeful.


Memory Seed

Zinina gazed out over the sea. “We can stop running, at last.”

This is the end of the nightmare of the city of Kray, as a tiny band of survivors jump in time over the discontinuity at the end of the Kray into a brighter future. I particularly liked the image of looking out over the sea – always evocative.



For almost half an hour they listened, before the sound faded, crackled, and then, with a resonant sound like a door closing, died for ever.

Tim Holman, my editor at the time at Orbit Books, was keen to have no hope whatsoever at the end of Glass. We both liked this final sentence, as the radio signals of the afterlife fade into nothingness.



“I think we must leave Zaidmouth,” Zoahnone says. “We two fought before. Now we must go together.”

Another final line implying a hopeful future. The artificial creatures of Flowercrash, of whom Zoahnone is one, first appeared in Memory Seed, acted throughout Glass, and concluded their struggle for a new society in Zaidmouth, the botanic setting of this novel.



[Nshalla] wanted to cry, but her heart was for the moment too full of hope.

Nshalla is the daughter of the Empress of Ghana (see last week’s blog), and this line describes her reaction to the end of her struggle. One of my ambitions is to write the sequel to Muezzinland describing what happens to Mnada, Nshalla’s sister.



Pragmatists should build the path, but idealists (like me) have to point out the direction. Hey! I kinda like that.

This line is delivered by Nulight, the main character of the novel, and it describes his idiosyncratic reaction to the events he’s experienced.


Urbis Morpheos

Astra Gaia.

With Urbis Morpheos being a conjunction of Latin and Greek, I wanted the last line of my most recently published novel to echo that format: City, Dreamer; Star, Earth.