the human body


Shakespeare, Hamlet:

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how
infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable!
in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the
beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!

Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon:

The room contains a few dozen living human bodies, each
one a big sack of guts and fluids so highly compressed that it will
squirt for a few yards when pierced. Each one is built around an
armature of 206 bones connected to each other by notoriously
fault-prone joints that are given to obnoxious creaking, grinding, and
popping noises when they are in other than pristine condition. This
structure is draped with throbbing steak, inflated with clenching air
sacks, and pierced by a Gordian sewer filled with burbling acid and
compressed gas and asquirt with vile enzymes and solvents produced by
the many dark, gamy nuggets of genetically programmed meat strung
along its length. Slugs of dissolving food are forced down this sloppy
labyrinth by serialized convulsions, decaying into gas, liquid, and
solid matter which must all be regularly vented to the outside world
lest the owner go toxic and drop dead. Spherical, gel-packed cameras
swivel in mucus-greased ball joints. Infinite phalanxes of cilia beat
back invading particles, encapsulate them in goo for later disposal.
In each body a centrally located muscle flails away at an eternal,
circulating torrent of pressurized gravy.

pointed out by Beth