Ordinarily Encore would have suggested, with amiable malice, that Gottlieb was a "crapehanger" who wasted time destroying the theories of other men instead of making new ones of his own.
…that he was leaving Wheatsylvania—the tedium of Bert Tozer’s nagging—the spying of Pete Yeska and the Norbloms—the inevitability of turning, as so many unchanging times he had turned, south from the Leopolis road at the Two Mile Grove and following again that weary, flat, unbending trail—the superiority of Dr. Hesselink and the malice of Dr. Coughlin—the round which left him no time for his dusty laboratory—leaving it all for the achievement and splendor of the great city of Nautilus.
There are no more uses of "malicious" in the book.
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I am not interested in hearing malicious gossip.
Words can be like baseball bats when used maliciously.