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Today's Stichomancy for William Gibson

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Tales and Fantasies by Robert Louis Stevenson:

taste, and perfectly qualified to give an opinion with impartiality - yes, Dick, with impartiality. Frankly, I am not disappointed in her. She has good looks; she has them from her mother. So I may say I CHOSE her looks. She is devoted, quite devoted to me - '

'She is the best woman in the world!' broke out Dick.

'Dick,' cried the Admiral, stopping short; 'I have been expecting this. Let us - let us go back to the "Trevanion Arms" and talk this matter out over a bottle.'

'Certainly not,' went Dick. 'You have had far too much already.'

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:

shall stick in that rut, and neither God nor the devil can get us out of it. I will, however, give you some advice, and good advice is an egg in the hand. There is in this town a retired banker in whose wisdom I have--I, particularly--the greatest confidence. If you can obtain his support, I will add mine. If your proposals have real merit, if we are convinced of the advantage of your enterprise, the approval of Monsieur Margaritis (which carries with it mine) will open to you at least twenty rich houses in Vouvray who will be glad to try your specifics."

When Madame Vernier heard the name of the lunatic she raised her head and looked at her husband.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Main Street by Sinclair Lewis:

aspiration; interest gave her a hesitating fondness for him; and the future would take care of the event. . . . But at night, thinking in bed, she protested, "I'm not a falsely accused innocent, though! If it were some one more resolute than Erik, a fighter, an artist with bearded surly lips---- They're only in books. Is that the real tragedy, that I never shall know tragedy, never find anything but blustery complications that turn out to be a farce?

"No one big enough or pitiful enough to sacrifice for. Tragedy in neat blouses; the eternal flame all nice and safe in a kerosene stove. Neither heroic faith nor heroic guilt.

The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:

demanded something for interest on his investment, and it was forthcoming. It was growing late when Jamrach came to the margin of what appeared to be a lake of black ink, and there the road terminated. Seeing a Ferryman in his boat he paid something for his passage and was about to embark.

"No," said the Ferryman. "Put your neck in this noose, and I will tow you over. It is the only way," he added, seeing that the passenger was about to complain of the accommodations.

In due time he was dragged across, half strangled, and dreadfully beslubbered by the feculent waters. "There," said the Ferryman, hauling him ashore and disengaging him, "you are now in the City of


Fantastic Fables