the mistake of careless celestial scribes

Once she came home retailing a story of a number of a number of people who had died and come back to life shortly thereafter, apparently because of the mistake of careless celestial scribes, who had written down the wrong names. Bold smiled; the Chinese imagined a complicated bureaucracy for the dead, just like the ones they had established for everything else. "They came back with information for their living relatives, things that turned out to be correct even though the briefly deceased person couldn't have known about it!"
"Marvels," Bold said.
"Marvels happen every day," I-Li replied.

Kim Stanley Robinson
The Years of Rice and Salt
Bantam Books, 2002
lk 46

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