Thief of Time

Terry Pratchett

On the Discworld time management is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from where it's wasted (like underwater - how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there's never enough time. But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And when time stands still, everything stops with it. Then there really is no future.

There is no doubt that being human is incredibly difficult and cannot be mastered in one lifetime.

Most of the things humans busied themselves with weren’t real, either. But sometimes the mind of the most sensible person encountered something so big, so complex, so alien to all understanding, that it told itself little stories about it instead. Then, when it felt it understood the story, it felt it understood the huge incomprehensible thing.

As Lobsang followed the ambling Lu-Tze he heard the dojo master, who like all teachers never missed an opportunity to drive home a lesson, say: ‘Dojo! What is Rule One?’
Even the cowering challenger mumbled along to the chorus:
‘Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!’