Literary Quotes!

Peter Anghelides
Another Life


  • “Don’t men drink in Parliament?...But I’m sure they do, by Artemis, I am! and strong stuff too. Only look at the laws they pass and it’s obvious they’d never pass such things unless very drunk.” ~First Woman
  • “When all a man wants is set free to his hand, what becomes of the law of supply and demand?” ~Praxagora
  • “Expect me not to bear your burdens; that were foolishness indeed. Each man must bear his sorrows for himself. And troubles, when they come, must needs be met by manful acts, and not by shifty tricks.” ~Agathon
  • “You’re not to hear the things which face to face you’re going to see.” ~Euripides

Isaac Asimov

  • “I noted at once the air of settled melancholy about him. I paid that little attention, for writers, I have long noticed, are prone to melancholy. It is something about the profession, I believe. The constant contact with editors, perhaps.” ~George
  • “Well really, old fellow, how can I tell you this story in reasoned manner if you feel called upon to insert your own views continually? You don’t seem to realize that the art of the true conversationalist consists of being completely attentive, and refraining from interruption on such specious excuses as that of having heard it all before.” ~George
  • “One can be outraged at injustice, but how can one be outraged at everyone’s being too kind and thoughtful to you—the insensitive louts?” ~Mordecai Sims

The Great Sci-Fi Stories 14 (1952)
  • "...I was thinking that Dora warned me I'd get myself killed. She'll never let me hear the last of it." ~Dick Swenson in Isaac Asimov's "The Martian Way"
  • "Liveliest dead man I've ever been strangled by." ~Denton Cassal in F. L. Wallace's "Delay in Transit"
The Naked Sun
  • “Baley distrusted overstatement and had no liking for the armchair deducer who discovered certainty rather than probability in the workings of logic.” ~Isaac Asimov The Naked Sun
  • ”Though I cannot share human reactions to stimuli, I would judge, from what has been imprinted on my instruction circuits, that the lady meets any reasonable standard of physical attractiveness. From your behavior, moreover, it seems to me that you were aware of that and that you approved of her appearance.” ~R. Daneel Olivaw
  • “He was going mad and knew it, and somewhere deep inside a bit of sanity was screaming, struggling to fight off the hopeless flood of black terror. It was very horrible to go mad and know you were going mad—to know that in a little minute you would be here physically and yet all the real essence would be dead and drowned in the black madness.” ~Isaac Asimov, “Nightfall”
The Positronic Man
  • “No book worth reading has ever been written that didn’t manage to offend someone.” ~Paul Charney
  • “Ideas can’t do harm—even wrong ideas, even foolish and vicious ideas. People do the harm. They seize hold of certain ideas, sometimes, and use them as the justification for doing unconscionable, outrageous things. Human history is full of examples of that. But the ideas themselves are just ideas. They must never be throttled.” ~Paul Charney
  • “You have something real and valuable to give the world here. It won’t be worth a thing, though, if you suppress what you feel and write only what you think others want to hear.” ~Paul Charney
  • “After all these years, you are still trying to reason out the human being. Poor Andrew, don’t be angry at me for saying this, but it’s the robot in you that drives you in that direction.” Chee Li-hsing
  • “It has been said in this courtroom today that only a human being can be free. But I think that is wrong. It seems to me that only someone who wishes for freedom—who knows that there is such a concept, and desires it with all his will—is entitled to freedom.” ~Andrew Martin
  • “I’m only dying, not crippled.” ~Gerald Martin on his deathbed
  • “The essential point that has been raised here today, I think, is that there is no right to deny freedom to any—object—that possesses a mind sufficiently advanced to grasp the concept and desire the state.” ~Judge Kramer

Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey

  • “Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person should always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” ~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
  • “[Wednesday] came, and exactly when it might be reasonably looked for.” ~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
  • “No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.” ~Henry Tilney
  • “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ~Henry Tilney

  • “Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence which only numbers could give.” ~Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • “She thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.” ~Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • “When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other’s ultimate comfort. This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to be truth.” ~Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • “If you please, no reference to examples in books [to prove that women are fickle]. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.” ~Anne Elliot
  • “The notions of a young man of one- or two-and-twenty as to what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing are more absurd, I believe, than those of any other set of beings in the world. The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equaled by the folly of what they have in view.” ~William Walter Elliot
  • “Yes, yes, I see you are [a poor Italian scholar]. I see you know nothing of the matter. You have only knowledge enough of the language to translate at sight these inverted, transposed, curtailed Italian lines, into clear, comprehensible, elegant English. You need not say anything more of your ignorance.— Here is complete proof.” ~William Walter Elliot
Pride and Prejudice
  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” ~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • “To be so easily seen through I am afraid is pitiful.” ~Elizabeth Bennett
  • “I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love! Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may [be the food of love]. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it away entirely.” ~Elizabeth Bennett
  • “Heaven forbid!—That would be the greatest misfortune of all!—To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!—Do not wish me such an evil!” ~Elizabeth Bennett
  • “I am going tomorrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all.” ~Elizabeth Bennett
  • “But it is fortunate that I have something to wish for. Were the whole arrangement complete, my disappointment would be certain. But here, by carrying with me one ceaseless source of regret in my sister’s absence, I may reasonably hope to have all my expectations of pleasure realized. A scheme of which every part promises delight, can never be successful; and general disappointment is only warded off by the defence of some little particular vexation.” ~Elizabeth Bennett
  • “Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then. It is something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.” ~Mr. Bennett
  • “When I am in the country, I never wish to leave it; and when I am in town it is pretty much the same. They have each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either.” ~Charles Bingley
  • “[My compliments] arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.” ~Mr. Collins
Sense and Sensibility
  • “[Mr. John Dashwood] was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold-hearted and rather selfish is to be ill-disposed.” ~Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
  • “It was only necessary to mention any favourite amusement to engage [Marianne Dashwood] to talk. She could not be silent when such points were introduced, and she had neither shyness nor reserve in their discussion.” ~Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
  • “I suspect that to avoid one kind of affection, Edward here falls into another. Because he believes many people pretend to more admiration than they really feel and is disgusted with such pretensions, he affects greater indifference and less discrimination in viewing them himself than he possesses. He is fastidious and will have an affectation of his own.” ~Elinor Dashwood
  • “Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” ~Marianne Dashwood
  • “I love to be reminded of the past, Edward. Whether it be melancholy or gay, I love to recall it; and you will never offend me by talking of former times.” ~Marianne Dashwood
  • “Like him! I can feel no sentiment of approbation inferior to love.” ~Mrs. Dashwood
  • “[Colonel] Brandon is just the kind of man whom everybody speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.” ~John Willoughby

J.G. Ballard
Empire of the Sun

  • “Nonetheless, Jim realized that there were certain advantages in being poor. No one could be bothered to cut off his hands.” ~J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun
  • “Jim had always been impressed by strong religious beliefs. His mother and father were agnostics, and Jim respected devout Christians in the same way that he respected people who were members of the Graf Zeppelin Club or shopped at the Chinese department stores, for their mastery of a foreign ritual.” ~J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun
  • “[Jim] had learned that having someone to care for was the same as being cared for by someone else.” ~J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun
  • “Words are…important, Jim. Put aside a new word every day. You never know when a word might be useful.” ~Basie
  • “It’s a good idea if you want to win a war.” ~Jim Graham on bravery

Julian Barnes
“The Story of Mats Israelson”

  • “Gossip briefly wondered if gossip had invented the whole story, but gossip decided that the worst interpretation of events was usually the safest and, in the end, the truest.” ~Julian Barnes, “The Story of Mats Israelson”
  • “Barbara’s anger was now with herself, as well. Of course she had never known him, never known what he was really like. She had merely indulged a stupid fantasy all these years.” ~Julian Barnes, “The Story of Mats Israelson”
  • “That was all you needed to know about the heart: where the grain lay. Then, with a twist, with a gesture, with a word, you could destroy it.” ~Julian Barnes, “The Story of Mats Israelson”
  • “This, then, was the desolation of her life, divided between not loving a man who deserved it and loving one who did not.” ~Julian Barnes, “The Story of Mats Israelson”
  • “Generally speaking, people who are very well do not go to the hospital.” ~Axel Lindwall

Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, and William Burto
A Dictionary of Literary Terms

  • "Suspence is . . . related to tragic irony. The tragic character moves closer and closer to his doom, and though he may be surprised by it, we are not; we are held by suspense. If, in fact, he is suddenly and unexpectedly saved (as is a hero of a melodrama), we may feel cheated." ~Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, and William Burto, A Dictionary of Literary Terms

Peter S. Beagle
The Last Unicorn

  • “My father hates cats. He says that there is no such thing as a cat—it is just a shape that all manner of imps, hobs, and devilkins like to put on to gain easy entrance into the homes of men.” ~Prince Lír
  • “Many things seem determined to happen to me for the first time, and your company will surely not be the strangest of them, nor the last.” ~The unicorn to Schmendrick

Henry Ward Beecher
Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

  • “All words are pegs to hang ideas on.” ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

John Berger

  • “It’s hard to watch his eyes without feeling you’re being indelicate. They’re totally exposed – not through innocence, but through an addiction to observation. If eyes are windows on the soul, his have neither panes nor curtains, and he stands in the window frame and you can’t see past his gaze.” ~John Berger, Photocopies

Alfred Bester
"The Men Who Murdered Mohammad"

  • “Now these men weren’t idiots. They were geniuses who paid a high price for their genius because the rest of their thinking was other-world. A genius is someone who travels to truth by an unexpected path. Unfortunately, unexpected paths lead to disaster in everyday life.” ~Israel Lennox

Ambrose Bierce
The Devil’s Dictionary

  • “Love, n - A temporary insanity curable by marriage.” ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

James Blish

  • "He was suspicious of all abstractions which took the form 'A is B.' In his opinion, neither justice nor mercy were very closely related to love, let alone being identical with it—otherwise, why have three words instead of one? A metaphor is not a tautology." ~James Blish, "A Style in Treason"
  • "Like most people, I underestimated the viability of the past, the one thing the poets have been trying to pound into our corporate pinheads since words were invented: We learn from words, but never learn much more than that from time to time the same things happen." ~James Blish, "And Some Were Savages"
  • "The Atridae, it is very clear, still mutter in their sleep not far below the surface of our waking minds, for all that we no longer allow old Freud to cram our lives back into the straitjackets of those old religious plays." ~James Blish, "A Dusk of Idols"

Chris Bohjalian

  • "I wish my life weren't this record album someone gave me that's almost over, and only the first few songs were any good." ~Connie Danforth
  • "Almost as if we'd been diagnosed with a terminal disease, the sort of news that would once have appalled us was thrilling. I'm in remission, I might have two whole years to live? That's wonderful! Involuntary manslaughter only? Oh my, that's great!" ~Connie Danforth
  • "What Stephen meant to say, I've always assumed, was that my mother looked beautiful. Or heroic, perhaps. Or courageous. Because my mother did look, at least to me, like all of those things. She seemed tired and she was pale, but looking back, I think I understand in a twisted way why at least one nineteenth-century convention of female beauty was vaguely tubercular--why, even at the end, Bram Stoker's Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker were still considered lovely." ~Connie Danforth

Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451

  • “Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.” ~Beatty
  • “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar.” ~Beatty
  • “…everyone nowadays knows, absolutely is certain, that nothing will ever happen to me. Others die, I go on. There are no consequences and no responsibilities. Except that there are. But let’s not talk about them, eh? By the time the consequences catch up with you, it’s too late, isn’t it, Montag?” ~Beatty
  • “Give a man a few lines of verse and he thinks he’s the Lord of all Creation.” ~Beatty
  • “[Guy Montag] wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.” ~Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • “I don’t talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I’m alive.” ~Faber
  • “The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” ~Faber
  • “That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.” ~Faber
  • “The books are to remind us what…fools we are.” ~Faber
  • “Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.” ~Faber
  • “Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge.” ~Faber
  • “If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.” ~Faber
  • “It doesn’t matter what you do, [my grandfather] said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” ~Granger
  • “It’s just I love to watch people too much, I guess.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly. If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he’d say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That’s a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “Oh, they don’t miss me. I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this. Or talking about how strange the world is.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “I don’t think it’s social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “[School]’s a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it’s wine when it’s not.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “I guess I’m everything they say I am, all right. I haven’t any friends. That’s supposed to prove I’m abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “But most of all, I like to watch people. Sometimes I ride the subway all day and look at them and listen to them. I just want to figure out who they are and what they want and where they’re going.” ~Clarisse McClellan
  • “Well, after all, this is the age of the disposable tissue. Blow your nose on a person, wad them, flush them away, reach for another, blow, wad, flush. Everyone using everyone else’s coattails. How are you supposed to root for the home team when you don’t even have a program or know the names? For that matter, what color jerseys are they wearing as the trot out on the field?” ~Clarisse McClellan’s uncle
  • “We need not be left alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” ~Guy Montag

The Illustrated Man
"The Fire Balloons
  • "I imagine man looked funny to other animals when we first appeared." ~Father Peregrine in "The Fire Balloons"
  • "The way I see it there's a Truth on every planet. All parts of the Big Truth. On a certain day they'll all fit together like the pieces of jigsaw....This Truth here is as true as Earth's Truth, and they lie side by side. And we'll go on to other worlds, adding the sum of the parts of the Truth until one day the whole Truth will stand before us like the light of a new day." ~Father Stone in "The Fire Balloons"

"No Particular Night or Morning"
  • "Why should I hold on to things I can't use? I'm practical. If Earth isn't here for me to walk on, you want me to walk on a memory? That hurts. Memories, as my father once said, are porcupines. To hell with them! Stay away from them. They make you unhappy. They ruin your work. They make you cry." ~Hitchcock in "No Particular Night or Morning"
  • "I've always figured it that you die each day and each day is a box, you see, all numbered and neat; but never go back and lift the lids, because you've died a couple of thousand times in your life, and that's a lot of corpses, each dead in a different way, each with a worse expression. Each of those days is a different you, somebody you don't know or understand or want to understand." ~Hitchcock in "No Particular Morning or Night"

Octavia Butler

  • “There isn’t any safe way to kill yourself.” ~Dana Franklin

A.S. Byatt

  • "Now, I cannot believe, being no Machichee, that He, the Creator, if he exists, did not make us and our world that which we are. He made us curious, did he not?--he made us questioning--and the Scribe of Genesis did well to locate the source of all our misery in that greed for knowledge which has also been our greatest spur--in some sense--to food. To good and evil. We have more of both those, I must believe, than our primitive parents." ~Randolph Henry Ash
  • "Do you know--the only life I am sure of is the life of the Imagination. Whatever the absolute Truth--or Untruth--of that old life-in-death--Poetry can make that man live for the length of the faith you or any other choose to give to him. I do not claim to bestow life as He did--on Lazarus--but maybe as Elisha did--who lay on the dead body--and breathed life into it-- Or as the Poet of the Gospel did--for he was Poet, whatever else--Poet, whether scientific historian or no." ~Randolph Henry Ash
  • "I speak to you as I might speak to all those who most possess my thoughts--to Shakespeare, to Thomas Browne, to John Donne, to John Keats--and find myself unpardonably lending you, who are alive, my voice, as I habitually lend it to those dead men--Which is much as to say--here is an author of Monologues--trying clumsily to construct a Dialogue--and encroaching on both halves of it." ~Randolph Henry Ash
  • "I am copying Swammerdam for you again--a problematic labour as I keep discovering small defects, some of which I mend and some of which merely make me anxious." ~Randolph Henry Ash
  • "The whole of our scholarship--the whole of our thought--we question everything except the centrality of sexuality--Unfortunately feminism can hardly avoid privileging such matters. I sometimes wish I had embarked on geology, myself." ~Dr. Maud Bailey
  • "Just at the moment, I'm trying celibacy. I like it. Its only hazard is people who will proselytise for their own way of doing things." ~Dr. Maud Bailey
  • "Oddly, if we were obsessed with each other, no one would think we were mad." ~Dr. Maud Bailey
  • "What makes me a Poet, and not a novelist--is to do with the singing of the Language itself. For the difference between poets and novelists is this--that the former write for the life of the language, and the latter write for the betterment of the world. And you for the revelation to mere humans of some strange unguessed-at other world, is that not so?" ~Randolph Henry Ash to Christabel LaMotte
  • "His mouth pursed, but pursed in American, more generous than English pursing, ready for broader vowels and less mincing sounds." ~A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • "Why could she do nothing with ease and grace except work alone, inside these walls and curtains, her bright safe box?" ~A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • "Much of his writing met this fate. It was set down, depersonalised, and then erased. Much of his time was spent deciding whether or not to erase things. He usually did." ~A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • "Vocabularies are crossing circles and loops. We are defined by the lines we choose to cross or to be confined by." ~A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • "How true it was that one needed to be seen by others to be sure of one's own existence. Nothing in what he had written had changed and everything had changed." ~A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • "Nothing endures for certain, but good art endures for a time, and I have wanted to be understood by those not yet born. By whom else, after all?" ~Blanche Glover
  • "The blank space of these white pages fills me with fear and desire. I could write anything I wished here, so how shall I decide where to begin?" ~Sabine de Kercoz
  • "That is human nature, that people come after you, willingly enough, provided only that you no longer love or want them." ~Sabine de Kercoz
  • "I think uncertainty is maybe more painful than any other emotion, it both drives one on and disappoints and paralyses, so that we went on in a mounting kind of suffocation and bursting." ~Sabine de Kercoz
  • "A writer only becomes a true writer by practising his craft, by experimenting constantly with language, as a great artist may experiment with clay or oils until the medium becomes second nature, to be moulded however the artist may desire." ~Christabel LaMotte

John W. Campbell
"Who Goes There?

  • “If you shoot it through the heart, and it doesn’t die, it’s a monster.” ~McReady
  • “Boys, meet Clark, the only one we know is human! Meet Clark, the one who proves he’s human by trying to commit murder—and failing. Will the rest of you please refrain from trying to prove you’re human for a while?” ~McReady

Seymour Chatman
Story and Discourse

  • "...we cannot help wondering what will become of them, these dear creatures who have joined our fantasy world. The public demand for sequels and serials is not to be written off as naive Philistinism. It represents a legitimate desire, of theoretical interest, to extend the illusion, to find out how fate disposes of characters in whom we have come to invest emotion and interest. Whether the author elect to respond or not is, of course, his own aesthetic affair." ~Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse

Jules Claretie
Jules Verne: Célebrités contemporaines

  • "A storyteller who charms and captivates a whole generation is someone, of that you can be sure." ~Jules Claretie, Jules Verne: Célebrités contemporaines

Michael Crichton

  • “ many successful business people, they tended to treat academics as if they were slightly retarded, unable to function in the real world, to play the real games. Or perhaps they just found it inexplicable that anyone would choose an occupation that wouldn’t make them a millionaire by age twenty-four.” ~Michael Crichton, Timeline
  • “[Chris] had a term for people like this: temporal provincials—people who were ignorant of the past and proud of it.” ~Michael Crichton, Timeline
  • “In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.” ~Robert Doniger

Sir Francis Crick
The Astonishing Hypothesis

  • “You, your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” ~Sir Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis

Charles Darwin
The Descent of Man

  • "False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness: and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened." ~Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

Peter David
Knight Life

  • "We swear our undying allegiance to the man with the Day-Glo sword and the submersible girlfriend." ~Buddy from Knight Life
  • "[The skyscrapers] led him to conclude that modern man was incapable of doing anything with genuine flair, but was able to turn out rubbish in staggeringly impressive fashion." ~Peter David, Knight Life
  • "The last thing that went through his mind, for no reason that he could possibly discern, was a sudden craving for an ice cream sandwich." ~Peter David, Knight Life
  • "I'll tell you a secret, my child--good, evil, it's all subjective. No one really knows what good and evil are, except those in charge invariably judge themselves good, and those who are not, are judged evil by those who have judged themselves good." ~Morgan Le Fay
  • "You rule a kingdom of one...unless you planned to return and lay claim as king of all the Britons. I can just see it! I wonder how they would react, those ineffectual, impotent figureheads who do nothing for the populace except provide them with tidbits to gossip about in taverns at tea time. There you'll be, presenting yourself as the once and future king. What the [smegging Tartarus] do you think will happen? Do you think the queen is liable to step down and say, 'Good of you to show, old sod. We've spent centuries keeping your place warm. Have the throne.' Perhaps they'll revoke the Magna Carta for you. That would be a sweet thing. Disband the House of Commons, House of Lords, put you in charge of the whole affair? Eh?" ~Merlin to King Arthur
  • "...the Grail Knight, yes. Percival. Who were you expecting, Galahad? Great, whining, virgin twit. Never had any patience for him." ~Merlin
  • "Don't allow whimsies of happenstance to be confused with patterns of fate." ~Merlin
  • "Kings don't get wistful. 'Wist' isn't even a word. You can be prideful, scornful, hateful. You can't be full of something that doesn't even exist. Wist. Stupid concept: He's full of wist. Cannot happen." ~Merlin
  • "She's a harmless, normal, nonreincarnated woman!" ~Merlin
  • "Fascinating thing, a bagel. Not quite a donut, but not quite a muffin. Not quite anything, and yet it's everything. All things to all people. It's the brunch of baked goods." ~Merlin
  • "I give up. The entire gender makes no sense to me at all." ~Merlin
  • "Look! There's demons and there's demons. We're all pretty much alike to you mortals, like you're pretty much all alike to us. Some of us just handle tension better than others." ~Morty the Demon
  • "Destiny almost buggered you. Maybe you and destiny should declare a truce for a while." ~Gwen Queen
  • "The only difference between science and magic, Gwen, is that scientists doubt everything and magicians doubt nothing. That's why magicians get so much more done. And if scientists acknowledged that magic existed and put their considerable talents to discovering what made it tick, a great deal more could be accomplished in this world. But scientists have decided that magic does not and cannot exist, so naturally they don't go out of their way to try and find the reasons for it. Very shortsighted on their part." ~Arthur Penn
  • "Now that's the kind of forward looking backward thinking that I intend to make the hallmark of my career!" ~Arthur Penn
  • "Why couldn't the Christian Savior have drank from a paper cup and crumbled the thing?" ~Sir Percival

Sir Apropos of Nothing
  • “It is a rather disconcerting and annoying thing to discover that one cannot lie to one’s parent.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I’m a realist! If living in the real world makes me a coward in your eyes, then fine!” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I didn’t know what to make of it. As far as I was concerned, I had displayed the questionable attribute of not knowing when to come in out of the rain. And because of this, the guard was suddenly treating me as if I was worthy of respect. Only in this world of topsy-turvy attitudes could outright stupidity, such as I had displayed, be something that got me high marks. I had an amused glimmering of a notion at that point: If I ever turned out to be a complete and utter fool, I could wind up running the whole kingdom. It was something to consider.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “He didn’t comprehend that my mood had been spoiled the day that I was born, and it had only been downhill from there.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I can tell you, there’s nothing like having someone say ‘Damn your eyes’ to let you know that they’re genuinely concerned.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Four words that have no business in each other’s company. One doesn’t live ever after. And there’s very little happily about it.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “In retrospect, I would have to recommend against epiphanies. They are very difficult on an emotional level, and they also sometimes move you to foolish and inopportune acts, which was what happened in my case.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I guess it really had been brave...because it was so [smegging] stupid, and if there was one thing I’d come to realize, it was that bravery and [smegging] stupidity went hand in hand.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Suddenly the line of demarcation between the festivals of good and evil became that much clearer for me. When good is celebrating, you don’t have an overwhelming urge to run screaming into the night. Well...unless a mime is performing.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “When one is put on as high a pedestal as Tacit was, one makes a very loud thud when one falls off it.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I was going to be gored and crushed while sniffing flowers. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and settled for shrieking in terror.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I moaned. Not only was I going to die, but I was going to die having listening to homilies.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I had no idea. And I disliked having no idea. If you were unable to decide what to do about any given situation before it happened, that left open the opportunity for events to overtake you. That was how people got themselves killed, and I had every intention of living as long and full a life as possible.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “There are some mornings where not only do you wake up badly, but you just know the day isn’t going to get any better.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Finally I was relieved to see him clap his hands to his ears and declare, ‘Enough!’ His advisors promptly shut up. As far as I was concerned, that was enough reason to become king right there: Being able to tell people to shut their mouths, and make it stick.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I turned away, not wanting to hear that one again, and headed for my quarters, leaving her behind. But she didn’t stay left behind. I could hear footsteps following me, and the chances were good that wherever her footsteps were, she was likely accompanying them.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Well, now the solution easily presented itself. I wasn’t going to have to marry her. No one would make me marry a corpse, because I was going to kill her with my bare hands.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I was talking to myself. It’s the only way I’m assured intelligent conversation.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I refuse to exist as a side issue to someone else’s epic again. That’s no way to live.” ~Apropos of Nothing

Apropos of Nothing Book 2: Woad to Wuin
  • “Have you ever noticed that, after someone has died, those who survived him suddenly become self-proclaimed experts on what the deceased would have liked to see? ‘Poor John would have liked the oaken coffin.’ ‘Ah yes, Timothy, he would have wanted me to have his favorite sword with the perfect balance.’ ‘Definitely, poor Brian, he would have liked nothing better than for us all to get drunk, steal his body, quarter it, and deliver it to four syphilitic prostitutes at each corner of the kingdom, because that was just the kind of joke-enjoying jackanapes that Brian always was, and it would have given him a right good giggle.’” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Any number of times in my somewhat tortured and torturous career...I encountered situations or scenarios that had been ‘foreseen’ by someone. Sometimes they existed woven into tapestries by Farweavers: magi whose special gift was to pictorialize the future. More often, they were written down as vague predictions of things to come. Sometimes they were in free verse, other times they rhymed, but there was a particular consistency to them in that they were of absolutely no use ahead of time. Only afterward, once lives had been lost, blood had been spilled, screams of torture had been unleashed to the heavens...only then could one look back and say, ‘Ahhhh...all right. That’s what it meant.’ I have never, ever understood the mindset of prognosticators who felt compelled to engage in such foolishness. If they truly have the foreknowledge to perceive that which is going to happen, why can they not simply tell us in clear, coherent manner just what it is that’s going to occur?” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “How typical of the human animal, is it not? To obtain a desired goal, and then to become annoyed with it once it is in your possession. Yes indeed, a pretty enigmatic and contradictory bunch, we humans.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “The simple truth is that I suspect everyone of cheating. It’s the advisable way to live your life. There are two types of people in this world: People who have betrayed you, and people who have not betrayed you...yet. The former require close scrutiny, the latter even more so. So really, you can’t go wrong expecting the worst of people. If nothing else, it will greatly lessen the chances of you being smashed in the head with an urn filled with your mother’s ashes and having your life savings stolen.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “My mind was racing in the customary way it had when I was confronted with a situation and had not the slightest clue what was going to pop out of my mouth in an attempt to deal with it. It’s a quite stimulating way to live, really, provided it doesn’t kill you along the way.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “The gods answer all prayers. In my case, the answer is invariably mocking laughter.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “It’s always a tragic circumstance for a truly inveterate cynic, such as myself, to own up to those moments in life when he is genuinely happy. Such admissions raise false hope in others that if a cynic has the capacity to enjoy some aspect of his existence, then true happiness and the loss of dreary cynicism is but a short step away.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “He sighed peacefully, comfortable in his ebbing life. In a way, I hoped that I would face death with that degree of aplomb...rather than the way I would likely face it, which would involve a good deal of sobbing and profanity.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • "It was nice to know that there were two things I could count on at any given moment: that the sun would rise and set, and that my life would be spiraling down the crap hole." ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I resisted the temptation to turn around and stick out my tongue in derision at Beliquose. After all, there was no telling when or if we would meet again, and I certainly did not need him saying, ‘Ah yes, Poe, the fellow whose trespasses I could have forgiven in their entirety...except for the tongue thing. Yes, for that, you must surely die.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I never lie. I just have a different definition of truth, that’s all.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Wonderful. Noticed by the gods. Not I know...why I’m so completely [phracked].” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Perhaps that was my true condemnation: to simply reside in hell with my eyes closed, afraid of opening them lest matters deteriorate even further than they already had. This, in turn, made me swell on the fact that every time I had believed things couldn’t get worse, they promptly had done so with almost gleeful enthusiasm.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “’What in hell--?’ I whispered....I wondered if my exclamation of surprise was geographically accurate...” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “The only person I trusted implicitly within a ten-mile radius was myself, and considering I knew how duplicitous I could be, that left me feeling rather friendless.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Rarely is there anything as festive for a people as an execution. If there’s one thing that brings citizens together in large numbers, it’s the government-mandated slaying of someone other than they themselves.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Destiny, I realized, was not what you predicted you would become, and then you tried to live up to it. Instead, destiny was that which you achieved, and then you looked upon your accomplishment and decided that it was always intended to be yours by divine right.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I’m coming up! It’s me! If you see a head protrude up in front of you, kindly do not attempt to lop it off as it would be disrespectful, plus I’m rather attached to it!” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “There is no more horrific smell than the aroma of burning meat when you know that what you’re smelling is you.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “...flames, the opposite of ignorance. Within flames lay knowledge, and purity, and cleansing. Shadows flee from flames, darkness runs scurrying under rocks and into crannies as the light generated by fire comes for it.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “[Hecate’s body] felt impossibly light; perhaps the only thing that had given her any weight at all was her hatred. I wondered briefly how much my own hatred was weighing upon me, then dismissed the notion as being excessively profound.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “[I just] prayed to myself. If I can’t pray to myself for myself, to whom can I pray?” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Humans always talk. Even when they’ve nothing to say. Actually, especially when they’ve nothing to say. At times like those, they substitute volume for sense.” ~Mordant
  • “Dying is not painful, Apropos. Living is where the pain is. The moments leading up to death, they can be as excruciating as our fellow creatures can devise. Every moment of life is replete with pain, and yet you would cling with all the force and energy and desperation that you can muster to the agonizing privilege we call life. But death, which is the cessation of pain and suffering...death, which is the merest blowing out of a candle...that you would fear down to your very soul. It’s a lousy way to live, Apropos. A lousy way to live.” ~Sharee
  • “If you learn anything in your life, Apropos, it’s that there’s a world of difference between living and not dying. That’s all you’re doing at the moment: not dying. But only when you discard your fear of dying can you truly call yourself one of the living.” ~Sharee

Apropos of Nothing Book 3: Tong Lashing
  • “I firmly believed that ‘destiny’ was the excuse given after the fact by people who were losers seeking a way of rationalizing all the disappointments that were their life.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “My life, by contrast, had been anything by dull. Even when it had been dull, it was more along the lines of my life catching its breath before hurling me headlong into the next series of insane events.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “We encountered one or two threats, but it was nothing that a healthy running away from couldn’t handle.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Here’s the thing about once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: They tend to shorten the actual lifetime in question.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Perhaps we’re all strangers to one another in a way, and the only thing that makes someone a ‘total’ stranger is that they haven’t yet had the opportunity to betray you.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Trying not to panic even as I felt the air beginning to burn in my lungs and seeking release, I let out a few bubbles and watched them float. They trickled away in the direction that, had I been left to my own devices, I would have sworn was down. Perhaps the gods were perverse enough to reroute air bubbles to lead me astray. I’d put nothing past those poxy [jerks].” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I’ve noticed that irony is something better appreciated from a great distance of either miles or years, or both, and best appreciated when it’s happening to someone else.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I have no time for fantasies. My real life is bizarre enough.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Romantics were fools. They were mold on bread, mushrooms upon trees. They grew upon the harsh reality of life and softened it and made it weak. They viewed the world through a wet prism of feebleness that bordered on the pathetic. I had always known this for a fact. To fall in love to any degree is to needlessly expose yourself to inevitable betrayal and falsehood and, ultimately, the object of that love not possibly being everything that you wanted them or needed them to be.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Most romantics believe that true, great love must be built upon a foundation of trust. This is patently untrue. True love is not built on trust. True love is built on knowledge. Trust is simply what you substitute for lack of knowledge, and then you hope for the best.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I try to make it a policy never to be underestimated when it comes to stupidity.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Familiarity takes the exotic and reduces it to the mundane.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I’d never had a lover considerate enough to have arrows fired into my enemies. A special woman indeed.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “That’s the problem with being on the run: You begin to suspect that everything is about you. A passing glance from the most humble of peddlers, and you instantly think he’s a spy who will report you to the nearest authorities.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “I knew what she had said, and I had her word. But there was this little problem of her being evil.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Chapter Ten: The Breaking Loose of Aulhel” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Nobody knows anybody. We only know those aspects of others that they let us see. The true individual remains hidden from the world. And that’s as it should be. Otherwise we’d all probably want to kill each other.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “The notion filled me with so much joy that I thought my heart would literally explode from my chest with joy. Then I got a mental image of just what exactly that would look like, and that dampened my enthusiasm.” ~Apropos of Nothing
  • “Do not underestimate the joy of nothing. The problem with having something is that someone else always wants to take it away from you. A man who has nothing to lose has everything to gain...unless he’s wise enough not to gain it.” ~Mitsu

Gavin de Becker
The Gift of Fear

  • "I encourage women to explicitly rebuff unwanted approaches, but I know it is difficult to do. Just as rapport building has a good reputation, explicitness applied by women in this culture has a terrible reputation. A woman who is clear and precise is viewed as cold, or a bitch, or both. A woman is expected, first and foremost, to respond to every communication from a man. And the response is expected to be one of willingness and attentiveness. It is considered attractive if she is a bit uncertain (the opposite of explicit). Women are expected to be warm and open, and in the context of approaches from male strangers, warmth lengthens the encounter, raises his expectations, increases his investment, and, at best, wastes time. At worst, it serves the man who has sinister intent by providing much of the information he will need to evaluate and then control his prospective victim." ~Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
  • "The man in the underground parking lot who approaches a woman as she puts groceries in the trunk of her car and offers assistance may be a gentleman or he may be conducting an interview. The woman whose shoulders tense slightly, who looks intimidated and shyly says, 'No, thanks, I think I've got it,' may be his victim. Conversely, the woman who turns toward him, raises her hands to the Stop position, and says directly, 'I don't want your help,' is less likely to be his victim. A decent man would understand her reaction or, more likely, wouldn't have approached a woman alone in the first place, unless she really had some obvious need. If a man doesn't understand the reaction and stomps off dejected, that's fine too. In fact, any reaction—even anger—from a decent man who had no sinister intent is preferable to continued attention from a violent man who might have used your concern about rudeness to his advantage." ~Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
  • "When I encounter people hung up on the seeming rudeness of ['I said NO!'] (and there are many), I imagine this conversation after a stranger is told no by a woman he has approached: Man: What a bitch. What's your problem, lady? I was just trying to offer a little help to a pretty woman. What are you so paranoid about? Woman: You're right. I shouldn't be wary. I'm overreacting about nothing. I mean, just because a man makes an unsolicited and persistent approach in an underground parking lot in a society where crimes against women have risen four times faster than the general crime rate, and three out of four women will suffer a violent crime; and just because I've personally heard horror stories from every female friend I've ever had; and just because I have to consider where I park, where I walk, whom I talk to, and whom I date in the context of whether someone will kill me or rape me or scare me half to death; and just because several times a week someone makes an inappropriate remark, stares at me, harasses me, follows me, or drives alongside my car pacing me; and just because I have to deal with my apartment manager who gives me the creeps for reasons I haven't figured out, yet I can tell by the way he looks at me that given an opportunity he'd do something that would get us both on the evening news; and just because these are life-and-death issues most men know nothing about so that I'm made to feel foolish for being cautious even though I live at the center of a swirl of possible hazards doesn't mean a woman should be wary of a stranger who ignores the word 'no'." ~Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
  • "I don't remember where I first heard this simple description of one dramatic contrast between the genders, but it is strikingly accurate: At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them." ~Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
  • "Remember, the nicest guy, the guy with no self-serving agenda whatsoever, the one who wants nothing from you, won't approach you at all. You are not comparing the man who approaches you to all men, the vast majority of whom have no sinister intent. Instead, you are comparing him to other men who make unsolicited approaches to women alone, or to other men who don't listen when you say no." ~Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear

Michel de Montaigne

  • “There is as much difference between us and ourselves, as between us and others.” ~Michel de Montaigne, Essays

Charles Dickens
Great Expectations

  • “I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.” ~Pip
  • “Whitewash on the forehead hardens the brain into a slate of obstinacy perhaps. Anyhow, with whitewash from the wall on my forehead, my obstinacy became adamantine.” ~Pip
  • “Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt conquered a confirmed habit of living into which she had fallen…” ~Pip
  • “Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt successfully overcame that bad habit of living, so highly desirable to be got rid of by some people.” ~Pip
  • “This penalty of being jiggered was a favourite supposititious case of his. He attached no definite meaning to the word that I am aware of, but used it…to affront mankind, and convey an idea of something savagely damaging. When I was younger, I had had a general belief that if he had jiggered me personally, he would have done it with a sharp and twisted hook.” ~Pip
  • “Hear this! Babies are to be nut-crackered dead, for people’s poor grandpa’s positions!” ~Mr. Pocket

Thomas Drake
Bibliotheca Scholastica Instructissima

  • “Learning is the eye of the mind.” ~Thomas Drake, Bibliotheca Scholastica Instructissima

Blake Edwards
The Pink Panther Strikes Again!

  • "If I were dead, do you not think I would be the first to know?" ~Inspector Jaques Clouseau
  • "I think it was a beum...A beum...Yes, the exploding kind!" ~Inspector Jaques Clouseau

George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss

  • "'O, yes, thank you,' said Maggie, 'I'm very much obliged to you. But I wish you'd go with me too.' She thought anything was better than going with one of the dreadful men alone: it would be more cheerful to be murdered by a larger party." ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  • "'Character,' says Novalis, in one of his questionable aphorisms—'character is destiny.' But not the whole of our destiny. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, was speculative and irresolute, and we have a great tragedy in consequence. But if his father had lived to a good old age, and his uncle had died an early death, we can conceive Hamlet's having married Ophelia, and got through life with a reputation of sanity notwithstanding many soliloquies, and some moody sarcasms towards the fair daughter of Polonius, to say nothing of the frankest incivility to his father-in-law." ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  • "I think of too many things—sow all sorts of seeds, and get no great harvest from any one of them. I'm cursed with susceptibility in every direction, and effective faculty in none. I care for painting and music; I care for classic literature, and mediaeval literature, and modern literature: I flutter all ways, and fly in none." ~Philip Wakem
  • " one has strength given to do what is unnatural. It is mere cowardice to seek safety in negations. No character becomes strong in that way. You will be thrown into the world some day, and then every rational satisfaction of your nature that you deny now, will assault you like a savage appetite." ~Philip Wakem
  • "It is a way of eking out one's imperfect life and being three people at once—to sing and make the piano sing, and hear them both all the while—or else to sing and paint." ~Philip Wakem

Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man

  • "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." ~Ralph Ellison
  • “A hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.” ~Ralph Ellison

The Bacchae

  • “The brash unbridled tongue, the lawless folly of fools, will end in pain. But the life of wise content is blest with quietness, escapes the storm and keeps its house secure.” ~Chorus
  • “But this I say, that he who best enjoys each passing day is truly blest.” ~Chorus
  • “It’s a wise man’s part to practice a smooth-tempered self-control.” ~Dionysus
  • “Do not mistake for wisdom that opinion which may rise from a sick mind.” ~Teiresias

  • “Many tales may be clear, and yet not true.” ~Chorus
  • “Truth itself is often bewildering.” ~Helen
  • “A name can be in any number of places: a person can only be in one place.” ~Helen
  • “It may invite ill-luck; but if there’s something solid to be gained, I’m willing to die – in fiction.” ~Menelaus
  • “Well, there is one thing every man has to learn: it is, not to be too trustful.” ~Messenger
  • “Prophecy was invented to entrap men with the promise of success; no one ever got wealth without labour by studying sacrifices. The best oracle is care and common sense.” ~Messenger
  • “For Aphrodite – may she forgive me; but I have had no dealings with her in the past, and I will grow old a virgin as I am now.” ~Theonoe

  • “Ah! there is not in the world a single man free; for he is either a slave to money or to fortune, or else the people in their thousands or the fear of public prosecution prevents him from following the dictates of his heart.” ~Hekuba

  • “Love is like a flitting bee in the world’s garden and for its flowers, destruction is in ihis breath.” ~Chorus of Hippolytus
  • “I worship [Aphrodite]—but from a long way off, for I am chaste...Men make their choice: one man honors one God, and one another.” ~Hippolytus
  • “If in the sum you have more good luck than ill, count yourself fortunate—for you are mortal.” ~Nurse
  • “Upon the yielding spirit [Aphrodite] comes gently, but to the proud and the fanatic heart she is a torturer with the brand of shame.” ~Nurse
  • “What fools men are! You work and work for nothing, you teach ten thousand tasks to one another, invent, discover everything. One thing only you do not know: one thing you never hunt for—a way to teach fools wisdom.” ~Theseus
  • “A quick death is the easiest of ends for miserable men.” ~Theseus

  • “O [Aphrodite], never on me let loose the unerring shaft of your bow in the poison of desire. Let my heart be wise. It is the god’s best gift.” ~Chorus
  • “For my part, rather than stories of gold in my house or power to sing even sweeter songs than Orpheus, I’d choose the fate that made me a distinguished man.” ~Jason
  • “Surely in many ways I hold different views from others, for I think that the plausible speaker who is a villain deserves the greatest punishment.” ~Medea
  • “Our human life I think and have thought a shadow, and I do not fear to say that those who are held wise among men and who search the reasons of things are those who bring the most sorrow on themselves.” ~Messenger
  • “It is right, I think, to consider both stupid and lacking in foresight those poets of old who wrote songs for revels and dinners and banquets, pleasant sounds for men living at ease; but none of them all has discovered how to put to an end with their singing or musical instruments grief, bitter grief, from which death and disaster cheat the hopes of a house. Yet how good if music could cure men of this! But why raise to no purpose the voice at a banquet? For there is already abundance of pleasure for men with a joy of its own.” ~Nurse

The Suppliants
  • “For this one thing, when once 'tis spent, man cannot recover, the breath of life, though he knoweth ways to get his wealth again.” ~Adrastus in The Suppliants
  • “Courage may be learnt, for even a babe doth learn to speak and hear things it cannot comprehend; and whatso'er a child hath learnt, this it is his wont to treasure up till he is old. So train up your children in a virtuous way.” ~Adrastus in The Suppliants
  • “For whenso the city has to vote on the question of war, no man ever takes his own death into account, but shifts this misfortune on to his neighbour.” ~Theban Herald in The Suppliants
  • “Rashness in a leader, as in a pilot, causeth shipwreck; who knoweth when to be quiet is a wise man. Yea and this too is bravery, even forethought.” ~Theban Herald in The Suppliants

The Women of Troy
  • “Indeed to avoid war is a wise man’s duty; yet if war comes, then a hero’s death confers as much fame on his city as a coward’s brings infamy.” ~Cassandra
  • “The gods, I know, are treacherous allies; yet, when misery drives to despair, it seems in some way suitable to call on gods.” ~Hecabe
  • “Good fortune means nothing; call no man happy till the day he dies.” ~Hecabe
  • “Fear is bad; but fear lacking all ground or reason is worse.” ~Hecabe

Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones' Diary

  • "It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on you own looking snooty at a party. It's like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting 'Cathy' and banging your head against a tree." ~Bridget Jones
  • "It is as if the hairs on my head have a life of their own, behaving perfectly sensibly all day, then waiting till I drop off to sleep and starting to run and jump about childishly, saying, 'Now what shall we do?'" ~Bridget Jones
  • "Wish had not been born but immaculately burst into being in similar, though no identical, manner to Jesus, then would not have had to have birthday. Sympathize with Jesus in sense of embarrassment he must, and perhaps should, feel over two-millennia-old social imposition of own birthday on large areas of globe." ~Bridget Jones
  • "I have been waging a campaign on our street against car burglar alarms which are intolerable and counterproductive since you are more likely to get your car broken into by an angry neighbor trying to silence the burglar alarm than by a burglar." ~Bridget Jones
  • "For some reason, the whole business suddenly made me furious with Daniel. It was his responsibility too and he wasn't having to spend ₤8.95 and hide in the toilet trying to wee on a stick." ~Bridget Jones
  • "Bugger. Where am I going to find a twenty-three-year-old who will come to dinner with Smug Marrieds on a Saturday night instead of taking contaminated Ecstasy tablets?" ~Bridget Jones
  • "It is with great regret that we must announce that so great was Miss Bridget Jones's distress at not bring able to accept the kind invitation of Mr. Mark Darcy that she has offed herself and will therefore, more certainly than ever, now, be unable to accept Mr. Mark Darcy's kind..." ~Bridget Jones
  • "The basis of my own addiction [to Pride and Prejudice], I know, is my simply human need for Darcy to get off with Elizabeth. Tom says football guru Nick Hornby said in his book that men's obsession with football is not vicarious. The testosterone-crazed fans do not wish themselves on the pitch, claims Hornby, instead seeing their team as their chosen representatives, rather like parliament. That is precisely my feeling about Darcy and Elizabeth. They are my chosen representatives in the field of shagging, or, rather, courtship. I do not, however, wish to see any actual goals. I would hate to see Darcy and Elizabeth in bed, smoking a cigarette afterwards. That would be unnatural and wrong and I would quickly lose interest." ~Bridget Jones
  • "Jude just called and we spent twenty minutes growling, 'Fawaw, that Mr. Darcy.' I love the way he talks, sort of as if he can't be bothered. Ding-dong! Then we had a long discussion about the comparative merits of Mr. Darcy and Mark Darcy, both agreeing that Mr. Darcy was more attractive because he was ruder but that being imaginary was a disadvantage that could not be overlooked." ~Bridget Jones
  • "Feel disorientated and worried, for surely Mr. Darcy would never do anything so vain and frivolous as to be an actor and yet Mr. Darcy is an actor. Hmmm. All v. confusing." ~Bridget Jones
  • "I always hoped I would turn out to be a genius, but I never believed it would actually happen to me—or my left breast." ~Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  • “It’s alright. I realize I’m here. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing we should be keeping from each other.” ~Mark Darcy
  • “Leave it. Please—in the name of God and all his cherubim, seraphim, saints, archangels, cloud attendants and beard trimmers—leave it.” ~Mark Darcy
  • “For a moment was at a loss. Advising one’s own father on the suspected gigolo-hiring habits of one’s own mother is not a subject had ever seen covered in any of my books.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “It is all very well you yourself thinking things aren’t right in a relationship, but if the other person starts doing it is like someone else criticizing your mother. Also it starts you thinking you are about to be chucked, which, apart from pain, loss, heartbreak etc. is very humiliating.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Hair has gone mad as if in sympathy. Bizarre the way that hair is normal for weeks on end then suddenly in space of five minutes goes berserk, announcing it is time to cut in manner of baby starting yelling to be fed.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Surely it cannot be true that men have football instead of emotions?” ~Bridget Jones
  • “’Hi,’ he said, sitting down at the kitchen table as if he were my husband. Was unsure how to deal with two-people-in-room-with-totally-different-concept-of-reality scenario.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Thank God, Mr. Darcy, and all angels in heaven.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Election days are one of the few occasions when you realize it is we, the people, who are in charge and the government are just our mutatedly bloated, arrogant pawns and now our time has come to stand together and wield our power.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Couldn’t believe it. Had only just walked into the party and was being Smug Married by someone who was three.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Is amazing the way the world of middle-class ladies manages to smooth everything into its own, turning all the chaos and complication of the world into a lovely secure mummy stream, rather as lavatory cleaner turns everything in the toilet pink.” ~Bridget Jones
  • “Hurrah! Let’s bring it back to ourselves. There’s nothing more annoying than being distracted from our own self-obsession by others.” ~Tom
  • “I’d quite like to have a baby and see my line extended but, one, I’m too selfish to look after it and, two: I’m a pouf. But you’d be good at looking after it if you didn’t leave it in a shop.” ~Tom to Bridget Jones
Cause Celeb
  • “Suddenly I wanted to bite Betty, or just sort of pummel her face for quite a long time.” ~Rosie Richardson
  • “His shirt was rolled up over his forearms. His arms and wrists were strong, adult-looking. I had never really thought about wrists before, but suddenly these seemed like the most beautiful wrists I had ever seen, such strong wrists, such manly wrists, such brave wrists, such wondrous wrists.” ~Rosie Richardson
  • “There’s nothing like someone being nice to you to make you want to cry.” ~Rosie Richardson
  • “But was it a sound plan to get food for the starving by attempting to manipulate a powerful looney? No, really not at all.” ~Rosie Richardson
  • “[O’Rourke] and Oliver seemed to get on quite well at times. Maybe it was sleeping together that did it.” ~Rosie Richardson

F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

  • "It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again." ~Nick Carraway about Daisy Buchanan
  • "Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues..." ~Nick Carraway
  • "For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing." ~Nick Carraway about James Gatz
  • "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." ~Nick Carraway
  • "Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead." ~Meter Wolfshiem

E.M. Forster
Howards End

  • “You use the intellect, but you no longer care about it. That I call stupidity.” ~Uncle Ernst
  • “[Mrs. Wilcox] and daily life were out of focus: one or the other must show blurred.” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “Cynicism – not the cynicism that snarls and sneers, but the cynicism that can go with courtesy and tenderness – that was the note of Mrs. Wilcox’s will.” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union.” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “And [Margaret] herself—hovering as usual between the two, now accepting men as they are, now yearning with her sister for Truth. Love and Truth—their warfare seems eternal. Perhaps the whole visible world rests on it, and if they were one, life itself, like the spirits when Prospero was reconciled to his brother, might vanish into air, into thin air.” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “Are the sexes really races, each with its own code of morality, and their mutual love a mere device of Nature to keep things going? Strip human intercourse of the proprieties, and is it reduced to this?” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “Tibby sighed and felt it rather hard that, because of his open mind, he should be empanelled to serve as juror. He had never been interested in human beings, for which one must blame him, but he had rather too much of them at Wickham Place. Just as some people cease to attend when books are mentioned, so Tibby’s attention wandered when ‘personal relations’ came under discussion. Ought Margaret to know what Helen knew the Basts to know? Similar questions had vexed him from infancy, and at Oxford he had learned to say that the importance of human beings has been vastly overrated by specialists.” ~E.M. Forster, Howards End
  • “I can only do what’s easy. I can only entice and be enticed. I can’, and won’t, attempt difficult relations. If I marry, it will either be a man who’s strong enough to boss me or whom I’m strong enough to boss. So I shan’t ever marry, for there aren’t such men. And Heaven help any one whom I do marry, for I shall certainly run away from him before you can say ‘Jack Robinson.’ There!” ~Helen Schlegel
  • “If we lived for ever, what you say would be true. But we have to die, we have to leave life presently. Injustice and greed would be the real thing if we lived for ever. As it is, we must hold to other things because Death is coming. I love Death—not morbidly, but because He explains. He shows me the emptiness of Money. Death and Money are the eternal foes. Not Death and Life. Never mind what lies behind Death, Mr. Bast, but be sure that the poet and the musician and the tramp will be happier in it than the man who has never learnt to say ‘I am I’.” ~Helen Schlegel
  • “In other words, they belong to types that can fall in love, but couldn’t live together. That’s dreadfully probable. I’m afraid that in nine cases out of ten Nature pulls one way and human nature another.” ~Margaret Schlegel
  • “The more people one knows, the easier it becomes to replace them.” ~Margaret Schlegel

"The Machine Stops"
  • “The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of artificial fruit. Something ‘good enough’ had long since been accepted by our race.” ~E.M. Forster, “The Machine Stops”

Neil Gaiman
American Gods

  • “Not only are there no happy endings, there aren’t even any endings.” ~Bast
  • “You don’t worry. Nobody else is going to kill you. Nobody but me.” ~Czernobog
  • “All we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.” ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • “Shadow wanted to point out to Mad Sweeny that that was a kind of bitter philosophy, but he suspected it was the being dead that made you bitter.” ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • “Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.” ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • “The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.” ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • “He wondered whether home was a thing that happened to a place after a while, or if it was something that you found in the end, if you simply walked and waited and willed it long enough.” ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” ~Hinzelmann
  • “One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map that is the territory. You must remember this.” ~Mr. Ibis
  • “It’s easier to kill people, when you’re dead yourself. I mean, it’s not such a big deal. You’re not so prejudiced anymore.” ~Laura
  • “This isn’t about what is. It’s about what people think is. It’s all imaginary anyway. That’s why it’s important. People only fight over imaginary things.” ~Mr. Nancy
  • “I don’t think the gods ever gave rectal probes. And they didn’t mutilate cows themselves. They got people to do it for them.” ~Shadow

Anansi Boys

  • "Anyone who calls you 'little lady' has already excluded you from the set of people worth listening to." ~Daisy Day
  • "...because if there was one thing you could say about Fat Charlie's father it was that he was secure in his heterosexuality, he sang 'I Am What I Am' to the room..." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "It's worse when you're embarrassed about something you were not even there to see: your mind keeps embroidering the events and going back to it and turning it over and over, and examining it from every side. Well, yours might not, but Fat Charlie's certainly did." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "After a while it sort of began to rain, which is to say that it was the kind of rain that never comes to a decision about whether it's actually raining or not. Driving in it, you would never have been certain whether or not to turn on your wipers. Standing in it, shoveling in it, you simply got sweatier, damper, more uncomfortable." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Mrs. Higgler was not mollified. She was far from gruntled." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Fat Charlie realized that he knew the man in his dream, knew him from somewhere, and he also realized that this would irritate him for the rest of the day if he let it, like a snag of dental floss caught between two teeth, or the precise difference between the words lubricious and lascivious, it would sit there, and it would irritate him." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Like all sentient beings, Fat Charlie had a weirdness quotient. For some days the needle had been over in the red, occasionally banging jerkily against the pin. Now the meter broke. From this moment on, he suspected, nothing would surprise him. He could no longer be out-weirded. He was done." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "It was not that he was feckless, more that he had simply not been around the day they handed out feck." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Daisy made a noise. It was not a yes-noise and it was not a no-noise. It was an I-know-somebody-just-said-something-to-me-and-if-I-make-a-noise-maybe-they'll-go-away sort of noise." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn't a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their own song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their songs instead. Take Daisy, for example. Her song, which had been somewhere in the back of her head for most of her life, had a reassuring, marching sort of beat, and words that were about protecting the weak, and it had a chorus that began 'Evildoers beware!' and was thus much too silly ever to be sung out loud. She would hum it to herself sometimes though, in the shower, during the soapy bits. And that is, more or less, everything you need to know about Daisy. The rest is details." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen. More Nothing. The Return of Nothing. Son of Nothing. Nothing Rides Again. Nothing and Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman..." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "...he would in all probability wake up in cell six the following morning to find that he had been transformed into an enormous cockroach. He had definitely been transported to the kind of maleficent universe that transformed people into cockroaches." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "It would have been hard for Fat Charlie to say exactly when the accumulation of birds on the wire mesh moved from interesting to terrifying. It was somewhere in the first hundred or so, anyway." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  • "Mr. Nancy thought about pushing one hand up through the turf and grabbing Callyanne Higgler's ankle. It was something he'd wanted to do ever since he saw Carrie at a drive-in, thirty years earlier, but now that the opportunity presented itself, he found himself able to resist the temptation. Honestly, he couldn't be bothered. She'd only scream and have a heart attack and die, and then the damn Garden of Rest would get even more crowded than it already was." ~Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Good Omens quotes can be found on the Terry Pratchett page
The Graveyard Book
  • "You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it." ~Mother Slaughter

  • “There will always be another rat. Now: onward. Things to do. People to damage.” ~Mr. Croup
  • “When angels go bad, Richard, they go worse than anyone.” ~The Marquis de Carabas
  • “Richard had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once.” ~Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
  • “The boy had the towering arrogance only seen in the greatest of artists and all nine-year-old boys.” ~Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
  • “Metaphors failed him, then. He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and smilie into the place of things that are, and it was changing him.” ~Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere


  • "The price of getting what you want, is getting what once you wanted." ~Morpheus
  • "Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot." ~Morpheus
  • "'I am that merry wanderer of the night'? I am that giggling-dangerous-totally-bloody-psychotic-menace-to-life-and-limb, more like it." ~Peasblossom
Smoke and Mirrors
  • “Writing is flying in dreams. When you remember. When you can. When it works. It’s that easy.” ~Neil Gaiman
  • “Stories are, in one way or another, mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness.” ~Neil Gaiman
  • “I wondered about where stories came from. This is the kind of thing you wonder about when you make things up for a living. I remain unconvinced that it is a fit occupation for an adult, but it’s too late now: I seem to have a career that I enjoy with doesn’t involve getting up too early in the morning. (When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.)” ~Neil Gaiman
  • “It happened that I had just finished co-writing a screen adaptation of Beowulf, the old English narrative poem, and was mildly surprised by the number of people who, mishearing me, seemed to think I had just written an episode of ‘Baywatch.’ So I began retelling Beowulf< as a futuristic episode of ‘Baywatch’ for an anthology of detective stories. It seemed to be the only sensible thing to do. Look, I don’t give you grief over where you get your ideas from.” ~Neil Gaiman
  • “(I cross two fingers,/a binary precaution against hex,/effective as a superconductor or simple superstition.)” ~Neil Gaiman, “Cold Colors”

George and Ira Gershwin
Crazy for You

  • "Don't be stupid. Who would come to Nevada to gamble?" ~Lank Hawkins

William Gibson

  • “A middleman’s business is to make himself a necessary evil.” ~William Gibson, Neuromancer
  • “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation.” ~William Gibson, Neuromancer

William Goldman
The Princess Bride

  • "Tell him I'll quiz him on it when I'm back next week and that he doesn't have to like it or anything, but if he doesn't, tell him I'll kill myself. Give him that message exactly, please; I wouldn't want to apply any extra pressure or anything." ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "Denise, the copy editor, has done all of my books since Boys and Girls Together and she had never been as emotional in the margins with me before." ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "All I can suggest to you is, if the parenthesis bug you, don't read them." ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "...the world didn't work that way. Good got attracted to good, evil you flushed down the john and that was that." ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "Jesus, what did you read me this thing for?" ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all." ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • "But you wouldn't have ever known I was going to kill you if I hadn't been the one to tell you. Doesn't that let you know I can be trusted?" ~Inigo Montoya
  • "Everybody was so dangerous, big, mean, and muscular, and so what if he was the greatest fencer in the world, who'd know it to look at him? He looked like a skinny Spanish guy it would be fun to rob. You couldn't walk around with a sign saying, 'Be careful, this is the greatest fencer since the death of the Wizard of Corsica. Do not burgle.'" ~"S. Morgenstern" about Inigo Montoya
The Silent Gondoliers
  • “[Luigi] had no real hopes of thrilling the world; all he truly prayed for was that it would stop laughing at him.” ~S. Morgenstern, The Silent Gondoliers

Joe Haldeman
The Coming

  • "In Norman's mind, there were no enemies in war. Just victims. Victims of historical process." ~Joe Haldeman, The Coming
  • "...he was the least popular president since Nixon. A majority of the House and Senate wanted him impeached, if not actually hanged, but they were putting it off for a few days. Maybe the aliens would vaporize him and save them the trouble." ~Joe Haldeman, The Coming

The Forever War
  • “So here we were, fifty men and fifty women, with IQs over 150 and bodies of unusual health and strength, slogging elitely through the mud and slush of central Missouri, reflecting on the usefulness of our skill in building bridges on worlds where the only fluid is an occasional standing pool of liquid helium.” ~William Mandella
  • “Doctors don’t seem to realize that most of us are perfectly content not having to visualize ourselves as animated bags of skin filled with obscene glop.” ~William Mandella
  • “Far out, as my mother used to say....Sitting here in a bar with an asexual cyborg who is probably the only other normal person on the whole [goshdarned] planet.” ~William Mandella
  • “A Greek phalanx must have looked pretty impressive, but it wouldn’t do too well against a single man with a flamethrower.” ~William Mandella
  • “I wished our spy satellites had a finer sense of discrimination. But you can only cram so much into a machine the size of a grape.” ~William Mandella
  • “...a brain doesn’t have to look like a mushy walnut, and it doesn’t have to be in the head.” ~Doc Wilson
  • “...that’s what always got me about physics, they make a big to-do about obvious things, and when it gets to the rough parts—“ ~Doc Wilson

Thomas Hardy
Far from the Madding Crowd

  • “Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness. Marriage transforms a distraction into a support, the power of which should be, and happily often is, in direct proportion to the degree of imbecility it supplants.” ~Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

The Return of the Native
  • "In respect of character a face may make certain admissions by its outline; but it fully confesses only in its changes. So much is this the case that what is called the play of the features often helps more in understanding a man or woman than the earnest labours of all the other members together. Thus the night revealed little of her whose form it was embracing, for the mobile parts of her countenance could not be seen." ~Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
  • "The face was well shaped, even excellently. But the mind within was beginning to use it as a mere waste tablet whereon to trace its idiosyncrasies as they developed themselves. The beauty here visible would in no long time be ruthlessly overrun by its parasite, thought, which might just as well have fed upon a plainer exterior where there was nothing it could harm. Had Heaven preserved Yeobright from a wearing habit of meditation, people would have said, 'A handsome man.' Had his brain unfolded under sharper contours they would have said, 'A thoughtful man.' But an inner strenuousness was preying upon an outer symmetry, and they rated his look as singular." ~Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
  • "The observer's eye was arrested, not by his face as a picture, but by his face as a page; not by what it was, but by what it recorded. His features were attractive in the light of symbols, as sounds intrinsically common become attractive in language, and as shapes intrinsically simple become interesting in writing." ~Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
  • "To have lost is less disturbing than to wonder if we may possibly have won; and Eustacia could now, like other people at such a stage, take a standing-point outside herself, observe herself as a disinterested spectator, and think what a sport for Heaven this woman Eustacia was." ~Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
  • "It was a night which led the traveler's thoughts instinctively to dwell on nocturnal scenes of disaster in the chronicles of the world, on all that is terrible and dark in history and legend--the last plague of Egypt, the destruction of Sennacherib's host, the agony in Gethsemane." ~Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
  • "My man, don't you be afraid. I forgot you were here. That's only a curious way reddlemen have of going mad for a moment; but they don't hurt anybody." ~Diggory Venn
  • "Now, don't you suppose, my inexperienced girl, that I cannot rebel, in high Promethean fashion, against the gods and fate as well as you. I have felt more steam and smoke of that sort than you have ever heard of. But the more I see of life the more do I perceive that there is nothing particularly great in its greatest walks, and therefore nothing particularly small in mine of furze-cutting. If I feel that the greatest blessings vouchsafed to us are not very valuable, how can I feel it to be any great hardship when they are taken away? So I sing to pass the time." ~Clym Yeobright
  • "...if we, who remain alive, were only allowed to hold conversation with the dead--just once, a bare minute, even through a screen of iron bars, as with persons in prison--what we might learn! How many who now ride smiling would hide their heads!" ~Clym Yeobright
  • "Sons must be blind if they will. Why is it that a woman can see from a distance what a man cannot see close? Clym must do as he will--he is nothing more to me. And this is maternity--to give one's best years and best love to ensure the fate of being despised!" ~Eustacia Yeobright

Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers

  • “Basic truths cannot change and once a man of insight expresses one of them it is never necessary, no matter how much the times change, to reformulate them.” ~Jean V. Dubois
  • “As for ‘unusual,’ punishment must be unusual or it serves no purpose.” ~Jean V. Dubois
  • “[Bag]pipes can seem very odd when you first hear them, and a tyro practicing can set your teeth on edge—it sounds and looks as if he had a cat under his arm, its tail in his mouth, and biting it. But they grow on you. The first time our pipers kicked their heels out in front of the band, skirling away at ‘Alamein Dead,’ my hair stood up so straight it lifted my cap. It gets you—makes tears.” ~Johnny Rico
  • “Maybe someday they’ll get everything nice and tidy and we’ll have that thing we sing about, when ‘we ain’t a-gonna study war no more.’ Maybe. Maybe the same day the leopard will take off his spots and get a job as a Jersey cow, too.” ~Johnny Rico
  • “...the trouble with ‘lessons from history’ is that we usually read them best after falling flat on our chins.” ~Johnny Rico
  • “If a rocket fails to find its target, it has a nasty habit of continuing to search until it finds one...and it cannot tell a friend from a foe; a brain that can be stuffed into a small rocket is fairly stupid.” ~Johnny Rico
  • “...if I left ten 10 per cent of my force at each intersection, mighty soon I would be ten-percented to death.” ~Johnny Rico
  • “...everything of any importance is founded on mathematics.” ~Johnny Rico

Frank Herbert

  • “[Paul] realized suddenly that it was one thing to see the past occupying the present, but the true test of prescience was to see the past in the future.” ~Frank Herbert, Dune

Carl Hiaasen
Native Tongue

  • “Again Winder felt the sibilant whisper from a valve letting off pressure somewhere deep inside his skull.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Native Tongue
  • “In a world turning to [garbage], why were so many people still having children? Maybe it was a fad, like CB radios and Cabbage Patch dolls. Or maybe these men and women didn’t understand the full implications of reproduction. More victims, thought Bud Schwartz, the last [darn] thing we need.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Native Tongue
  • “The world is full of nice boring young men. The crazy ones are hard to find and harder to keep, but it’s worth it.” ~Molly McNamara
  • “New Yorkers think they’ve cornered the market on psychopaths. They don’t know Florida.” ~Jim Tile

Sick Puppy
  • “She didn’t want to go home to her wealthy powerful husband. She wanted to stay with the edgy young criminal who had broken into her home and abducted her pet dog. Well, of course she did. Wouldn’t any normal, settled, well-adjusted wife feel the same way?” ~Carl Hiaasen, Sick Puppy
  • “They were jumping the wakes of yachts, buzzing the sailboats, spraying the bait netters and otherwise announcing their drunken idiocy to the world. Such brain-dead antics were so commonplace among water bikers that it was hardly noteworthy, and Twilly Spree would have paid no further attention except that the drawbridge was still up and he was stuck for entertainment. Besides, there was a better-than-average chance that the bozos would crash their noisy toys head-on into the seawall at fifty miles per hour—and Twilly was always eager to see Darwin vindicated in such cinematic style.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Sick Puppy
  • “Dr. Brinkman deliberately slowed his pace, laboring to clear the buzz from his head, straining to gauge the proximity of the killer’s footsteps, knowing the timing of this grand move had to be absolutely flawless...flawless timing, unfortunately, not being a typical side effect of massive vodka consumption.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Sick Puppy
  • “Vengeance ought never to be ambiguous.” ~Twilly Spree
  • “Don’t you have to disembowel somebody to lose your real estate license in California?” ~Twilly Spree
  • “She made me laugh, Jim. I’ve gotten to where that counts more than...well, that other stuff. Which means I’m either getting real old or real smart.” ~Clinton “Skink” Tyree
  • “A sad sight, but also a beautiful one. Because you and I and the six billion other selfish members of our species didn’t interfere.” ~Clinton “Skink” Tyree after a crocodile devoured a heron
Skinny Dip
  • “Gnawing on the [tail feathers] of a prehistoric lizard was not his notion of a gourmet experience.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Skinny Dip
  • “Figure we’ve got almost one healthy ego between us. That ought to be enough.” ~Mick Stranahan
Tourist Season
  • “A.Q., Keyes remembered, stood for [Idiot] Quotient. Skip Wiley had a well-known theory that the quality of life declined in direct proportion to the [Idiot] Quotient. According to Wiley’s reckoning, Miami had 134 total [idiots] per square mile, giving it the worst A.Q. in North America. In second place was Aspen, Colorado (101), with Malibu Beach, California, finishing third at 97.” ~Carl Hiaasen, Tourist Season
  • “Some of the smartest people I know work in [journalism]. And some of the screwiest. That’s what happens when you chase the truth for too long; you finally catch up with it and you’re never the same. Screwed up for life.” ~Brian Keyes
  • “In [journalism], you learn that sanity, not insanity, is the greater riddle – and there’s nothing so menacing as a sane person suddenly alerted to his own fate.” ~Skip Wiley

Nick Hornby
High Fidelity

  • “It's no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn't even speak to each other if they met at a party.” ~Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • "When you get an idea into your head you find it in everything." ~Pierre Gringoire
Les Miserables
  • “The infinite exists. It is there. If the infinite had no me, the me would be its limit; it would not be the infinite; in other words, it would not be. But it is. Then it has a me. This me of the infinite is God.” ~G--- (what is his name?!)

Eric Idle
The Road to Mars

  • "It's hard for people to realize that famous people are often shy. They are hiding on stage. Ridiculous? Think about it. Makeup. Disguise. Costumes. 'Shy' does not mean 'lack of ego'." ~Eric Idle's The Road to Mars

Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn
The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction

  • “There is a thin line between self-indulgence and playfulness.” ~Andrew M. Butler, “Postmodernism and Science Fiction”
  • “Quite simply, feminism works to achieve social justice for women. It aims to render obsolete the patriarchal order whose hegemony has meant inequality and oppression for women as the ‘others’ of men. In other words, feminism desires nothing less than to change the world.” ~Veronica Hollinger, “Feminist Theory and Science Fiction”
  • “If [science fiction] were an education scheme, the report card for the human race would always read ‘could do better’.” ~Gwyneth Jones, “The Icons of Science Fiction”

M.R. James
“The Mezzotint”

  • "...tea was taken to the accompaniment of a discussion which golfing persons can imagine for themselves, about which the conscientious writer has no right to inflict upon any non-golfing persons." ~M.R. James, The M Mezzotint

William James
Principles of Psychology

  • “Knit each new thing on to some acquisition already there.” ~William James, Principles of Psychology

Terry Jones
The Knight and the Squire

  • “’Just about to fall to my death, but otherwise extremely well, thank you very much,’ Tom managed to mutter through clenched teeth. ‘No cough. No fever. No broken limbs. A hint of impending doom, perhaps, but nothing to…’” ~Terry Jones

The Lawndale Stalker
“The Unhighlander”

  • "Daria’s stomach began doing things that internal organs shouldn’t do, especially if they were supposed to be hooked up as part of a system." ~The Lawndale Stalker, "The Unhighlander"

Ursula K. Le Guin
Left Hand of Darkness

  • “Elegance is a small price to pay for enlightenment, and I was glad to pay it.” ~Genly Ai
  • “And there’s safety in numbers, eh? Ten are more trustworthy than one.” ~Estraven
  • “To oppose something is to maintain it.” ~Estraven
  • “How would it ever occur to a sane man that he could fly?” ~Estraven on airplanes and spaceships
  • “The unknown, the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion....But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion....There’s really only one question that can be answered, Genry, and we already know the answer....The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.” ~Faxe
  • “...what does a man die of but his death?” ~Weaver Odren

”Nine Lives”
  • “After two years on a dead planet, and the last half year isolated as a team of two, oneself and one other, after that it’s even harder to meet a stranger, however welcome he may be. You’re out of the habit of difference, you’ve lost the touch; and so the fear revives, the primitive anxiety, the old dread.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin, “Nine Lives”
  • “‘It was like this at fourteen hours,’ said Reason shakily in Marin’s voice; amidst the unfastening and ruin of the world. But Unreason sat up, as the tumult lessened and things ceased dancing, and screamed aloud.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin, “Nine Lives”

Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird

  • "I ain't cynical, Miss Alexandra. Tellin' the truth's not cynical, is it?" ~Charles Baker Harris (aka Dill)

Fritz Leiber
“Yesterday House”

  • "...take my word for it, no matter when you live and how you live there's always somebody somewhere else who thinks you live in the Golden Age." ~ Mr. Jelling
  • "He wondered if any man could fail to fall in love with a girl who came, or merely thought she came, from another era of time..." ~Fritz Leiber, "Yesterday House"

Arik Lubkin
Play that I currently don’t remember the name of

  • "The evil in this world comes in many forms." ~Gnikt about a tree

Eric Lustbader
"In Darkness, Angels"

  • “Now it’s just a fragment of truth, an artifact unearthed from the silty riverbed of my mind. And I the archeologist of this region as puzzled as everyone else at what I sometimes find. But that, after all, is what has kept me writing, year after year. An engine of creation.” ~Eric Lustbader, “In Darkness, Angels”

Kat the Magnificent
"The Adventures of Penny Poetry and Lorraine Literature"

  • "I don't care to watch any more seconds pass by. They get to be like annoying gnats after awhile, always buzzing about me." ~The Doctor in "The Adventures of Penny Poetry and Lorraine Literature"
  • "They were all Doc Browns so nothing really phased them." ~Kat the Magnificent, "The Adventures of Penny Poetry and Lorraine Literature"
  • "Lorraine did love liminal spaces, but it was so hard to find good real estate in one." ~Kat the Magnificent, "The Adventures of Penny Poetry and Lorraine Literature"
  • "You need to shut your poem-hole." ~Lorraine Literature
  • "That's sweet, but you have this odd habit of everyone around you dying. You're always there to help, but your life might as well be Murder, He Wrote." ~Lorraine Literature to The Doctor
  • "That was weird in all capacities of the word," ~Penny Poetry

Gregory Maguire
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

  • “Approval is overrated. Approval and disapproval alike satisfy those who deliver it more than those who receive it. I don’t care for approval, and I don’t mind doing without.” ~Caspar
  • “Drawing is the only honesty. Don’t interpret. Merely observe. Don’t think about what you see. Merely see it.” ~Caspar
  • “Is this the main thing that painters of portraits care about? The person on the verge of becoming someone else? Changing isn’t just the province of the young.” ~Gregory Maguire,Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
  • “I have to eat, I can’t live by the word of God alone, no matter what Scripture says; I need bread too. Damn the human stomach, this fat betrayer of my ideals. Caspar! Another Portrait of Madame Unlucky-in-Looks, done up to appear as Madame Most-Marvelous-to-Behold. I’m not longer telling the truth with my art, I’m lying.” ~Schoonmaker
  • “To consider what other people might say is hardly a good reason to take action or to defer it. You have your own life to live, Iris, and at its end, the only opinion that amounts to anything is that which God bestows.” ~Schoonmaker
  • “I take responsibility only for the future, not the past. The past can’t hurt you the way the future can.” ~Margarethe van den Meer
  • “Forgive us our trespasses and get out of our way.” ~Margarethe van den Meer

Dave Marinaccio
All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek

  • "When guests are expected aboard the Enterprise, many modifications are made. Of course, many of the houseguests (shipguests?) aboard the Enterprise are aliens. Without some modifications in life-support systems, the visitors would die. And as any competent host will tell you, the death of your visitors is bad form." ~Dave Marinaccio, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek
  • "Have you ever watched the firefighting competitions on television? Firemen from all over America compete in events like the ladder climb or the hose hookup. Obviously, these are the best, most physically fit firemen from their towns. Ever wonder who is left behind in the fire station to protect the citizenry? I'm just waiting for a town to burn down while its firefighters win the competition as the nation's best. It's just dumb enough to happen." ~Dave Marinaccio, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek
  • "I read once that a hunter shot a cow because he mistook it for a squirrel. This is our species I'm talking about." ~Dave Marinaccio, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek

Mike Markell
Technical Communication

  • “You can live a full, rewarding life without ever using outlined or shadowed [fonts].” ~Mike Markell, Technical Communication

Steve Martin
Pure Drivel

  • “During these years, in which I vowed to do nothing and leave myself alone about it, I accidentally produced several plays, a handful of sketches, two screenplays, and a reorganization of my entire self...I suppose what I’m saying is, if you really want to work, stop working.” ~Steve Martin, Pure Drivel
  • “I could be typing ‘kjfiu joewmv jiw’ and would enjoy it as much as typing words that actually make sense. I simply relish the movement of my fingers on the keys.” ~Steve Martin, “Writing is Easy!”
  • “Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” ~Steve Martin, “Writing is Easy!”
  • “Many very fine writers are intimidated when they have to write the way people really talk. Actually it’s quite easy. Simply lower your IQ by fifty and start typing!” ~Steve Martin, “Writing is Easy!”
  • “By attaching a ‘heavy weighted slug’ to a truncated supercissoid, a disproportionate fulcrum is created. In other words, if you’re a TV set showing Regis promoting a diet book, and you’re in a room with an angry unpublished poet holding a sledgehammer, watch out.” ~Steve Martin, “The Sledgehammer: How it Works”
  • “The hissy fit is sustained throughout the day by an unpleasant cranial crowding of facts, comments, and sights, all of which must be simultaneously remembered, until the writer can unsheathe his computer and download his brain.” ~Steve Martin, “Hissy Fit”

James McBride
The Color of Water

  • “Sometimes without conscious realization, our thoughts, our faith, our interests are entered into the past. We talk about other times, other places, other persons, and lose our living hold on the present. Sometimes we think if we could just go back in time we would be happy. But anyone who attempts to reenter the past is sure to be disappointed. Anyone who has ever revisited the place of his birth after years of absence is shocked by the differences between the way the place actually is, and the way he remembered it. He may walk along old familiar streets and roads, but he is a stranger in a strange land.” ~Reverend Andrew McBride
  • “I was so sorry, deep in my heart I was sorry, but all your ‘sorrys’ are gone when a person dies….That’s why you have to say all your “sorrys” and “I love yous” while a person is living, because tomorrow isn’t promised.” ~Ruth McBride

Vonda McIntyre
”Of Mist, and Sand, and Grass”

  • “I can’t learn all the customs of all the people on this earth, so I keep my own.” ~Snake

Brad Meltzer
Identity Crisis

  • "You can't tell Superman his wife's a crappy cook." ~Elongated Man
  • "Like it or not, when it comes to revenge, we've all got a little bit of Bruce in us." ~Green Arrow
  • "Thanagarian, Martian, Apokoliptian, and Kryptonian technology. Plus the really scary crap Bruce invented." ~Green Arrow
  • "There's a rumble in Clark's voice that he usually reserves just for Bruce. At first, I thought it was anger. Or just annoyance. It's not. It's fear." ~Green Arrow
  • "Your guys are a real pain in the ass, y'know that? I mean...Boomerang? We got pantsed by Boomerang?" ~Green Arrow to Flash
  • "As for each of the hero's reactions, I just let them be true to themselves. They're self-righteous, noble, hypocritical, selfless, depressed, willful, and heroic - and I didn't create those roles. Those roles have been there for years. That's why they're the world's greatest superheroes. They're us. As writers of these heroes, we're allowed to interact with greatness. All I can ever do is hope to be up to the task." ~Brad Meltzer
  • "What scares me isn't a man who can toss a building at me. It's a man who's been plotting how to slit my throat for the past month. Deathstroke's been thinking about it for years." ~Brad Meltzer

R.K. Milholland

  • "The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them." ~Aubrey Chorde
  • "Y'know, it's not that god [screws] me every chance he gets that pisses me off so much as that annoying laughter of his I constantly hear in the back of my mind." ~Davan MacIntire
  • "If we could convert sheer desperation into a fuel source, I swear to you, every car would have a wireless ethernet card." ~Davan MacIntire
  • "Dear Kettle, I don't know how to tell you this, but there's something that's been concerning me about your current hue..." ~Davan MacIntire
  • "I look at my life and it just seems so depressing that I'm not sure if I was really born or if Morrissey sang me into existence." ~Davan MacIntire
  • "I believe in communication. If I communicate with you every so often, you'll be bothered by what I say enough that you won't ask me to, which means more sleep for me." ~Fred MacIntire
  • "Every actor is just an abused spouse who goes back, thinking he or she can make theater change it's ways." ~Jason Pratchett
  • "I'm going to punch you in the mouth for a few minutes, and you're just going to have to trust me that you deserve it." ~PeeJee Shou

Kevin Murphy
A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey

  • “Allow me to sing of tater tots.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “I acknowledge that it’s a great film, and I still hated it. I hate films that start out with a depressing premise and plummet from there. They’re like Nine Inch Nails songs. Besides, I’m not a big catharsis fan. I can get sad enough without some genius filmmaker helping me along.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “Ultimate nachos tend to appear everywhere, and once again I’m reminded that nobody knows what the word ‘ultimate’ means, or it wouldn’t be on a menu. ‘Ultimate,’ even broadly defined, means last, final, altogether remote in the universe. That’s not how I like to think of my nachos. I don’t want to look at that massive platter of corn chips, ‘topped’ as they are with beef, chicken, or plain, thinking they may be my last nachos.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “If the English do anything better than any other country on the planet, it’s making each other laugh.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “In all, I think I slept an average of three and a half hours every twenty-four, and while I probably couldn’t operate anything more complicated than a flashlight, I was in the perfect frame of mind to see movies.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “I’d like to find the people who invented the pop-up ad and push their heads into a vat of suet, because that’s what they’ve been doing to me.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “Movies should be neither a waste of time nor a waste of money; that’s what television is for.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “Italian, spoken with sufficient vehemence, becomes very lyrical, anger riding up the scale, fury speeding the rhythm.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “Ah, but there is something wonderful about dating the one you love. No offence to the others, but it’s much better than dating family and friends, and less apt to lead to morally dangerous situations and problems with the county authorities.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey
  • “To genuinely evoke fear, a movie can’t simply address our fears, it has to dig them out of where we hide them, in our subconscious. Find a filmmaker who can draw from our subconscious and show it to us, and you have a true master of horror. Like Poe.” ~Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey

Mike Nelson
Death Rat

  • “You see, anyone living in Copenhagen who has ever tried getting a taxi is bound to conclude that there is no God. And yet, when one is living in the pallid despair of a taxiless city, one needs something to believe in besides bad coffee and boiled fish. Henece Kierkegaard’s invented ‘loving’ God.” ~Gus Bromstad
  • “He’s a history writer. You know the type....Bookish. Smart-mouthed. Face like a conch. Often they smell of rancid salad oil. They’re jealous, corpulent little freaks with no social skills, and yet they...they’ve got the gall to get on their high horses and preach down from Mount Wisdom at the rest of the world as though some high council had given him permission to write All the Rules to Everything in the World, as opposed to dusty little volumes on German immigrants—“ ~Gus Bromstad
  • “I suppose once you’ve seen so many naked men, nothing can ever, ever match it in terms of shock and horror and pure mental trauma. So as far as inuring one to tragedy, perhaps [nude saunas] serve a purpose.” ~Gus Bromstad
  • “You’re so confident, but you forgot one thing: I’m involved. Things don’t go well for me....Life. Living day to day. Being a human. All of it goed very poorly for me. Schemes fare particularly badly.” ~Pontious Feeb
  • “Just a moment ago, as I sat here in this tree listening to the birds, watching the hamsters scamper across the damp forest floor, I felt a profound sense of peace. And apprehension, too.” ~King Leo
  • ”Five, he’d said? P.M., surely. But hunting in the late afternoon? It couldn’t be. Still, it was less improbably than 5:00 A.M., a time that, when presented as the hour to meet, should raise in the presentee serious suspicions of insanity about the presenter. There was, he was fairly certain, no molecular movement of any kind before at least 6:30.” ~Michael J. Nelson, Death Rat
  • “Inside, he was filled with loathing over having to touch pasteurized processed cheese food, as he was convinced of the fact that Americans’ consumption of such an abomination was clear evidence of their moral failings.” ~Michael J. Nelson, Death Rat
  • “I was a little nervous. I’m not used to reading psychotic ramblings in front of a crowd.” ~Jack Ryback

Mind over Matters
  • “I don’t want a smaller version of me running around doing things I don’t know about. The real version of me is hard enough to control and I have a rough enough time explaining to people why he did what he did.” ~Mike Nelson, Mind over Matters

Cynthia Ozick
The Messiah of Stockholm

  • “They were sunk in books, chained to the alphabet, in thrall to sentences and paragraphs.” ~Cynthia Ozick, The Messiah of Stockholm
  • “There was a sweetness in all of them, the whole three-o’clock crew-the weak honey of reverence. Literary creatures who served, side-stepped, and sometimes sold out the Muses.” ~Cynthia Ozick, The Messiah of Stockholm

Ruth Parsons
”The Women Men Don’t See”

  • “Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like—like that smoke. We’ll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You’ll see.” ~Ruth Parsons “The Women Men Don’t See”

Alexander Pope
“An Essay on Criticism”

  • “Words are like leaves and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.” ~Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”
  • “A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” ~Alexander Pope, “A Little Learning”

Joseph Priestly
“Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air”

  • “In solving one discovery, we never fail to get an imperfect knowledge of others of which we had no idea before, so that we cannot solve one doubt without creating several new ones.” ~Joseph Priestly, Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air

Robert Rankin
The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

  • “It’s a special ambiguity thing. Something to do with the transperambulation of pseudo-cosmic antimatter. Easily explainable in terms of quantum physics, if you know what I mean.” ~Anders Anders
  • “When things are not as they appear to be, it’s because they’re actually simpler than you think them to be. Things are never as difficult and complicated as folk believe. You’d be surprised at how straightforward and obvious things really are. The secret is knowing how to look at them the right way.” ~Anders Anders
  • “Jack steered his weary feet across a carpet that was much of a muchness as carpets went, but hardly much of anything as they might go.” ~Robert Rankin, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
  • “The building itself was a magnificent affair and a description of its architectural splendors may well have filled several paragraphs, had anyone been in the mood to write them down. But if anyone had been in the mood, then that mood might well have been mollified by the fact that the showrooms of the Clockwork Car Company were presently fiercely ablaze.” ~Robert Rankin, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

Arthur Ransome
Bohemia in London

  • "So our friendships are made; there is no difficulty about them, no diffidence; you try a man as you would a brand of tobacco; if you agree, then you are friends; if not, why then you are but two blind cockchafers who have collided with each other in a summer night, and boom away again each in his own direction." ~Arthur Ransome, Bohemia in London

Rick Remender
The All New Atom

  • "Linger on the myriad potentials of the power for too long and one considers acts of grand egotism and self-indulgence. However, if you can avoid the temptation brought on by this train of thought...the super hero job itself is fairly simple. Wait for a problem to arise...and punch it. Insert varying degrees of drama. Juggle the occasional love interest...the occasional fatality...and temporarily restore peace. Rinse and repeat." ~Ryan Choi
  • "I knew you couldn't pull off 'brooding' without nerding it up." ~Panda Potter to Ryan Choi

Mike Resnick
Men Writing Science Fiction as Women

  • “Oh, money hardly ever hurts. Unless vast quantities are dropped on you from a significant height. Even then, there is no problem, if, like me, you have no skeleton to speak of.” ~The Cilk in Tom Gerencer’s “Not Quite Immaculate”
  • “Sometimes, it’s about who you’re going to be when it all works out, and your responsibility to that moment outweighs whatever you think you want now.” ~Mom in David Gerrold’s “Digging in Gehenna”
  • “There’s nothing prejudiced about the truth; it simply exists. It’s when we try to deny the truth that we tend to reveal our biases.” ~Donna Danner in Jack Nimersheim’s “Maternal Instincts”
  • You speak of gaining additional cargo room and cleaning house, Alinore, said Axtell, perhaps still stung by my criticism of all the junk on the lower level especially since it was junk and thus indefensible.” ~Alinore in Ralph Roberts’ “A Woman’s Touch”
  • “Men. Throw two of them at the sun and one will strive to get there first—they are so competitive.” ~ Alinore in Ralph Roberts’ “A Woman’s Touch”
  • “Men are never around when you want them to be, and exceptionally hard to get rid of when their welcome is worn out.” ~Alinore in Ralph Roberts’ “A Woman’s Touch”

Anne Rice
Memnoch the Devil

  • “You cannot make it in this world if you speak to only one gender.” ~Roger Flynn
  • “A mop of flowing hair and expert tailoring are always a potent combination.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Ah, there is nothing more irritating than the energy of a fledgling vampire.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Next to a vampire, what in the world is as dangerous to a lone woman as a young human male?” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “For some reason, mortals do that when they want to be sure of us, they fold their fingers inward and they run their knuckles against our faces. Is that a way of touching someone without seeming to be touched oneself? I suppose the palm of the hand, the soft pad of the fingers, is too intimate.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I don’t like myself, you know. I love myself, of course, I’m committed to myself till my dying day. But I don’t like myself.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Our language needs endless synonyms for beautiful; the eyes could see what the tongue cannot possibly describe.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Water sings in multiple voices as it slides over rocks and down through tiny gullies and rushes abruptly over rises in the earth so that it may again tumble in a mingling of fugue and canon. While the grass bends its head to watch.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Hell would have to be where [people] see the consequences of their actions, but with a full merciful comprehension of how little they themselves knew.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I smiled, thinking of how often in our lives David and I had been utterly entangled in the adventure of clothes. But you see, if a vampire leaves out details like clothes, the story doesn’t make sense. Even the most grandiose mythic characters—if they are flesh and blood—do have to worry about the latchets on sandals.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Don’t start believing it! Not you! No! Don’t believe. I refuse to play. I refuse to take either side.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “It’s not all lies. Not all of it. That’s the age-old dilemma.” ~Maharet
  • “You are the damnest creature! You really are!” ~Memnoch to Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Not authentic, my friend, just beyond present scientific explanation.” ~Random person in Memnoch the Devil

Queen of the Damned
  • “I’ll tell you what I fear: That it’s chaos after you die, that it’s a dream from which you can’t wake. Imagine drifting half in and out of consciousness, trying vainly to remember who you are or what you were. Imagine straining forever for the lost clarity of the living...” ~Armand
  • “Know? Know? What does it matter if you don’t understand, if you cannot proceed from one perception to another?” ~Armand
  • “I’ve always been my own teacher. And I must confess I’ve always been my favorite pupil as well. Maybe it was a little conspiracy of pupil and teacher.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Finally those you love are simply...those you love.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “It was haunted; but real hauntings have nothing to do with ghosts finally; they have to do with the menace of memory...” ~Lestat de Lioncourt

The Tale of the Body Thief
  • “I swear to God I don’t tell lies to others. But I lie to myself.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I like people to be a little afraid of me.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “David, the world is meant to remain a mystery. If there is any explanation, we are not meant to hit upon it, of that much I’m sure.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “There has to be something to all this. There has to be! So many missing pieces. The more you consider it, the more atheists begin to sound like religious fanatics. But I think it’s a delusion. It’s all process and nothing more.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “On my honor as a bloodthirsty murderer, yes.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Of course I deserve it. That’s the simplest thing about dealing with me, apparently. I always deserve the worst!” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I’ve watched two-year-old humans with interest for centuries. They’re miserable. They rush about, fall down, and scream almost constantly. They hate being human! They know already that it’s some sort of dirty trick.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “A nice rule of thumb might be: Don’t ever live in a part of the world which will not support that vine.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt on the Queen’s Wreath vine
  • “Only the dead know how terrible it is to be alive.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Beauty is beauty where you find it.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Of course there is a way to stop the rampant spread of beauty. It has to do with regimentation, conformity, assembly-line aesthetics, and the triumph of the functional over the haphazard.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Why, you could fall in love with their voices, you could end up kissing their voices; and the music, the bossa nova, that’s their language all right.” ~David Talbot on Brazilians
  • “That’s your vanity talking. You love to imagine you’re worse than you are.” ~David Talbot to Lestat de Lioncourt

The Vampire Armand
  • "You know, when you think of it, there's no good reason under God for little girls and little boys. Think of it, the other tender issue of mammals. Among puppies or kittens or colts, does one find gender? It's never an issue. The half-grown fragile thing is sexless. There is no determination." ~Armand
  • "Christianity is a religion based on the notion that we are living in the Last Days! It's a religion fueled by the ability of men to forget all the blunders of the past, and get dressed once more for the Last Days." ~Marius

The Vampire Lestat
  • “[‘Satanic’] is what men would call it. They invented Satan, didn’t they? Satanic is merely the name they give to the behavior of those who would disrupt the orderly way in which men want to live.” ~Gabrielle
  • “Only the impossible can do the impossible.” ~Nicolas de Lenfent
  • “When I was corrected, which wasn’t often, I knew an intense happiness because someone for the first time in my life was trying to make me into a good person, one who could learn things.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “Always I’d felt that I couldn’t be a good human being and defeat [my family]. To be good meant to be defeated by them. Unless of course I found a more interesting idea of goodness.” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I’ve lived all these years among those who create nothing and change nothing. Actors and musicians—they’re saints to me...You don’t understand. I’m speaking of the character of human beings, not what they believe in. I’m speaking of those who won’t accept a useless lie, just because they were born to it. I mean those who would be something better. They work, they sacrifice, they do things...” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • “I can live without God. I can even come to live with the idea that there is no life after. But I do not think I could go on if I did not believe in the possibility of goodness. Instead of mocking me for once, why don’t you tell me what you believe?” ~Lestat de Lioncourt
  • ”More often than not, even when frightened by the whiteness of my skin, they merely looked away. They deceived themselves, I quickly realized, that everything was explainable. It was the rational eighteenth-century frame of mind.” ~Lestat
  • “And my worst problem was laughter. I would go into fits of laughter and I couldn’t stop. Anything could set me off. The sheer madness of my own position might set me off. This can still happen to me fairly easily. No loss, no pain, no deepening understanding of my predicament changes it. Something strikes me as funny. I begin to laugh and I can’t stop.” ~Lestat
  • “She would have been gorgeous if someone had thrown her into a waterfall and held her there for half an hour...” ~Lestat
  • “I never lie. At least not to those I don’t love.” ~Lestat
  • “And this lesson of mortal peace of mind I never forgot. Even if a ghost is ripping a house to pieces, throwing tin pans all over, pouring water on pillows, making clocks chime at all hours, mortals will accept almost any ‘natural explanation’ offered, no matter how absurd, rather than the obvious supernatural one, for what is going on.” ~Lestat
  • “Talk in the shadows of intrigue. Who cares? Kingdoms rise and fall. Just don’t burn the paintings in the Louvre, that’s all.” ~Lestat
  • “It is petty to destroy anything merely for the sake of the destroying, don’t you think?” ~Lestat
  • “It struck me that her hair might have been described as a shower of gold, that all the old poetry makes sense when you look at one whom you have loved.” ~Lestat
  • “He lives on in my mind now. Pious mortal phrase. And what kind of life is that? I don’t like living here myself!” ~Lestat
  • “What does it mean to live on in the mind of another? Nothing, I think. You aren’t really there, are you?” ~Lestat
  • “I think to be this happy is to be miserable, to feel this much satisfaction is to burn.” ~Lestat
  • “Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds—justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” ~Marius
  • “To be godless is probably the first step to innocence, to lose the sense of sin and subordination, the false grief for things supposed to be lost...[Innocence is] an absence of need for illusions. A love of and respect for what is right before your eyes.” ~Marius
  • “But I knew enough at forty to realize that most people you meet in taverns sound interesting for the first few minutes and then begin to weary you beyond endurance.” ~Marius
  • “The truth is most women are weak, be they mortal or immortal. But when they are strong, they are absolutely unpredictable.” ~Marius
  • “I don’t want to be destroyed. Such dangers and calamities are not interesting to me.” ~Marius

J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • “Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.” ~Sirius Black
  • “Yeah, you are [still being followed], and just as well, isn’t it, if the first thing you’re going to do on your weekend off is organize an illegal defense group.” ~Sirius Black
  • “Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” ~Hermione Granger to Ron Weasley
  • “This is night, Diddykins. That’s what we call it when it goes all dark like this.” ~Harry Potter
  • “You know what? I think we’d better check with Puddlemere United whether Oliver Wood’s been killed during a training session, because [Angelina] seems to be channeling his spirit.” ~Harry Potter
  • “I’m trying to decide what curse to use on Malfoy, sir.” ~Harry Potter
  • “It was quite galling to be told not to be rash by a man who had served twelve years in the wizarding prison, Azkaban, escaped, attempted to commit the murder he had been convicted for in the first place, then gone on the run with a stolen hippogriff...” ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • “The one good thing to be said for this [Divination] lesson was that it was not a double period.” ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • “Even Fred had said that Ron might yet make him and George proud, and that they were seriously considering admitting that he was related to them, something he assured Ron they had been trying to deny for four years.” ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • “’Such a lovely, sweet-tempered girl,’ said Ron, very quietly, prodding his knight forward so that she could begin beating up one of Harry’s knights.” ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • “The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” ~Ginny Weasley
  • “You try putting up tinsel when Peeves had got the other end and is trying to strangle you with it.” ~Ron Weasley
  • “And from now on, I don’t care if my tea leaves spell die, Ron, die - I’m just chucking them in the bin where they belong.” ~Ron Weasley
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  • “I don’t want to stay here over night. I want to find McLaggen and kill him.” ~Harry Potter
  • “You didn’t meet [Aragog], Hermione. Believe me, being dead will have improved him a lot.” ~Ron Weasley

Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows

  • "Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" ~Albus Dumbledore
  • "Another Weasley? You breed like gnomes." ~Auntie Muriel
  • "He looked around at the darkness, as if hoping a bad enough word would swoop down upon him and claim him." ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • "This new idea that You-Know-Who can kill with a single glance from his eyes. That's a basilisk, listeners. One simple test: Check whether the thing that's glaring at you has got legs." ~Fred Weasley
  • "Are--you--mental?" ~Ron Weasley
  • "[Death's got an invisibility cloak] so he can sneak up on people. Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking." ~Ron Weasley
  • "[The wand would attract trouble] only if you shouted about it. Only if you were prat enough to go dancing around, waving it over your head, and singing, 'I've got an unbeatable wand, come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.'" ~Ron Weasley
  • "Blimey, Neville, there's a time and a place for getting a smart mouth." ~Ron Weasley

Claude Roy
Les Commerce des classiques

  • "The Earth has seven continents: Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australasia--and Jules Verne. Every person born this century was brought up on white milk and red books." ~Claude Roy, Les Commerce des classiques

Joanna Russ
”When it Changed”

  • “When one culture has the big guns and the other has none, there is a certain predictability about the outcome.” ~Janet from Joanna Russ’ “When it Changed”

Larry Samuel
563 Stupid Things People Do to Mess Up Their Lives

  • “Ice fish: Fishing through a foot of ice in below-freezing weather...indicates you have severe anger issues. Look deep within to find out why you need to express your dominance over creatures that can’t talk and have no limbs.” ~Larry Samuel, <1>563 Stupid Things People Do to Mess Up Their Lives

”Poem 16”

  • “Some assert that a troop of horsemen, some of foot-soldiers, some a fleet of ships is the most beautiful thing on the dark earth; but I assert that it is whatever anyone loves.” ~Sappho, Poem 16
”Poem 31”
  • “ I look briefly at you, so can I no longer speak at all, my tongue is silent, broken, a silken fire suddenly has spread beneath my skin, with my eyes I see nothing, my hearing hums, a cold sweat grips me, a trembling seizes me entire, more pale than grass am I, I seem to myself to be little short of dead.” ~Sappho, Poem 31

John Scalzi
The Android's Dream

  • "Nice is nice. But being a bitch gets results." ~Andrea Hayter-Ross
  • "Most people, regardless of their training in diplomacy, were simply not psychologically equipped to deal with a member of an alien species freaking out in front of them. The reptile portions of the brain, nestled down close to the brain stem, would too often override the gray matter and send the puny human bolting away, leaking fluids as the 'eject the ballast' portion of the 'fight or flight' response kicked in." ~John Scalzi, The Android's Dream

Dr. Seuss
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

  • “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” ~Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

William Shakespeare

  • “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ~Hamlet
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • “…reason and love keep little company together now-a-days.” ~Nick Bottom
  • “I feel an exposition of sleep come upon me.” ~Nick Bottom, the Weaver
  • “Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? Or do I not, in plainest truth, tell you I do not, nor I cannot love thee?” ~Demetrius
  • "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" ~Robin Goodfellow
  • "Give me your hands, if we be friends:/And Robin shall restore amends." ~Robin Goodfellow
  • “How low am I, thou...painted maypole? Speak! How low am I? I am not yet so low but than my nails can reach into thine eyes!” ~Hermia
  • “You have her father’s love, Demetrius; let me have Hermia’s. Do you marry him?” ~Lysander
  • “Never excuse for, when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed.” ~Theseus
Much Ado About Nothing
  • “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.” ~Beatrice
  • “O lord, he will hang upon him like a disease. He is sooner caught than the pestilence and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! If he have caught the Benedick, 'twill cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.” ~Beatrice
  • “O god, that I were a man, I would eat his heart in the marketplace!” ~Beatrice
  • “Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?” ~Benedick
  • “Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” ~Benedick
  • “The world must be peopled!” ~Benedick
  • “When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.” ~Benedick
  • “There’s a double meaning in that.” ~Benedick
  • “May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.” ~Benedick
  • “One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.” ~Benedick
  • “Friendship is constant in all other things save in the offices and affairs of love.” ~Claudio
The Taming of the Shrew
  • “O! This learning, what a thing it is.” ~Gremio

Bernard Shaw
The Doctor's Dilemma

  • "There is at bottom only one genuinely scientific treatment for all diseases, and that is to stimulate the phagocytes. Stimulate the phagocytes." ~Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonington
  • "Most discoveries are made regularly every fifteen years; and it's fully a hundred and fifty since yours was made last. That's something to be proud of." ~Sir Patrick Cullen
  • "We're not a profession: we're a conspiracy." ~Sir Patrick Cullen about doctors
  • "When you're as old as I am, you'll know that it matters very little how a man dies. What matters is, how he lives. Every fool that runs hsi nose against a bullet is a hero nowadays, because he dies for his country. Why don't he live for it to some purpose?" ~Sir Patrick Cullen
  • "A blackguard's a blackguard; an honest man's an honest man; and neither of them will ever be at a loss for a religion or a mortality to prove that their ways are the right ways. It's the same with nations, the same with professions, the same all the world over and always will be." ~Sir Patrick Cullen
  • "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." ~Sir Colenso Ridgeon
  • "There is no harder scientific fact in the world than the fact that belief can be produced in practically unlimited quantity and intensity, without observation or reasoning, and even in defiance of both, by the simple desire to believe founded on a strong interest in believing. Everybody recognizes this in the case of the amatory infatuations of the adolescents who see angels and heroes in obviously (to others) commonplace and even objectionable maidens and youths. But it holds good over the entire field of human activity. The hardest-headed materialist will become a consulter of table-rappers and slate-writers if he loses a child or a wife so beloved that the desire to revive and communicate with them becomes irresistible. The cobbler believes that there is nothing like leather. The Imperialist who regards the conquest of England by a foreign power as the worst of political misfortunes believes that the conquest of a foreign power by England would be a boon to the conquered." ~Bernard Shaw
  • "I have always despised Adam because he had to be tempted by the woman, as she was by the serpent, before he could be induced to pluck the apple from the tree of knowledge. I should have swallowed every apple on the tree the moment the owner's back was turned." ~Bernard Shaw
  • "For the M.O.H. (Medical Officer of Health) as we know him is only the beginning of that army of Public Hygiene which will presently take the place in general interest and honor now occupied by our military and naval forces. It is silly that an Englishman should be more afraid of a German soldier than of a British disease germ, and should clamor for more barracks in the same newspapers that protest against more school clinics, and cry out that if the State fights disease for us it makes us paupers, though they never say that if the State fights Germans for us it makes us cowards. Fortunately, when a habit of thought is silly it only needs steady treatment by ridicule from sensible and witty people to be put out of countenance and perish." ~Bernard Shaw
  • "Science becomes dangerous only when it imagines that it has reached its goal. What is wrong with priests and popes is that instead of being apostles and saints, they are nothing but empirics who say 'I know' instead of 'I am learning,' and pray for credulity and inertia as wise men pray for scepticism and activity." ~Bernard Shaw
  • "[Professional men of science] are mostly trained not to believe anything unless it is worded in the jargon of those writers who, because they never really understand what they are trying to say, cannot find familiar words for it, and are therefore compelled to invent a new language of nonsense for every bok they write." ~Bernard Shaw
  • "Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. that is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; and do not outlive yourself." ~Bernard Shaw

Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart, and Stephen Sondheim
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

  • My daughter is a eunuch?!” ~Erronius
  • “Her bridal bower has become a bier of bitter bereavement!” ~Miles Gloriosus
  • “I live to grovel.” ~Hysterium
  • “Any coins they put on my eyes I keep!” ~Hysterium
  • “I am not comfortable!” ~Hysterium during “Lovely (Reprise)”
  • “Second time around!” ~Hysterium
  • “Why do older men find me so attractive?!” ~Hysterium
  • ”Nooo! I meant ‘yes,’ it just came out ‘no’.” ~Hysterium
  • “Pseudolus! You have got to stop stealing the neighbor’s things! When I get back from market, I am going to come after you…” ~Hysterium ad libbing
  • “I have to go the Senate this morning. I’m blackmailing one of the senators.” ~Marcus Lycus
  • “A virgin, too. Lot of good it did her, huh? [laughs] Oh, it’s tragic!” ~Psuedolus about “dead Philia”
  • “Look! Your captain’s bride…dead! [soldiers gasp and crowd in] Well give her some air!” ~Pseudolus
  • “Oh, no, I’ve already had [the plague]. I’d tell you about it, but blehhh, it’s disgusting.” ~Pseudolus
  • “I can see it! I can see everything! You have been [Hysterium mimics large breasts] abroad! For [Hysterium flashes 10 fingers twice] 20 years! [Hysterium mimes looking for something] Searching for [Hysterium mimes holding a baby] a child! [Hysterium flashes two fingers] 2 childs! [Hysterium looks disgusted] Children, 2 children! [Hysterium mimics a tall, macho man] A fine, big boy. [Hysterium mimics a short, curvaceous girl] And…a strange, little boy?” ~Pseudolus posing as a seer

Robert Silverberg
"Ishmael in Love"

  • "Why are humans so aggressively mammalian?" ~Ishmael

Kevin Smokler
Bookmark Now

  • "Here's the thing about clichés: They're not clichés if nobody tells you. They're not clichés if you don't know it. And if it is a cliché and you know it, maybe you don't pack it, maybe you don't bring it, and then just imagine what is lost. So much is lost." ~Christian Bauman, "Not Fade Away"
  • "Writing is the only art form where a good number of the artists make a slice of their living criticizing one another in print, in public. Worse, some don't even make their living at it; some do it free of charge." ~Christian Bauman, "Not Fade Away"
  • "Human nature keeps producing newer and technologically cannier things with which to distract itself. For instance, while writing this essay, I have been playing speed games of computer chess. No doubt Willa Cather and John Cheever had their own distractions from writing, but the ability to swap queens with their typewriters was not one of them." ~Tom Bissell, "Distractions"
  • "Reading gives one something to think about other than oneself. The rise of literacy in the West and the collapse of despotism and the mortal wounding of Christian fundamentalism are surely not happy coincidence. I will not make the spinachy claim that reading makes one a 'better person' (the battlefield of literature is filled with too many psychic casualties for that to be true) or that a nation of readers guarantees social justice and harmony. The wicked can and have been astoundingly literate. But a nation of readers would go some way toward ridding a culture so afflicted by solipsism, parochialism, crudeness, and apathy." ~Tom Bissell, "Distractions"
  • "It is a truth universally acknowledged that people write the darnedest things in the margins of their books." ~Tara Bray Smith, "Marginalia and Other Crimes"
  • "I think of the test of a novel as a blueprint and the novelist as architect and builder. I might specify where the walls and windows go, the height of the ceilings; I'll decide on the elevation and orientation, but the readers provide their own experience and tastes and furniture. They paint the walls and move the doors and put in light fixtures, add the hideous horsehair sofa and hand wishy-washy watercolors over the fireplace. One person moves into my text and turns it into a chintzy cottage; for another it becomes a minimalist temple. Every reader inhabits a different novel." ~Nicola Griffith, "As We Mean to Go On"
  • "[As a journalist,] You have to learn to be intrusive, and there's nothing like an editor/deadline/paycheck to help further the education process, especially if the editor is a monster, the deadline is yesterday, and the paycheck is desperately needed to cover you rent." ~Howard Hunt, "The Invisible Narrator"
  • "Writing is hard work, and if anything's true about the process, it's the fact that a good story is hard to find and even trickier to get on paper. What's less romantic than staring alone at a blank screen? And edgy? I've changed the cat litter because I didn't know what my characters were going to say next." ~Adam Johnson, "A Call for Collaboration"
  • "Every writer is given a gift or two--not much more--and his or her job is to learn the rest of the skills, so form and voice can be given to any character who comes along. One beginning writer will have an ear for dialogue, another is mellifluously lyrical. So it goes for description, humor, voice, and so on. Every writer can track his or her progression from leaning on the crutch of one skill until a new one was acquired." ~Adam Johnson, "A Call for Collaboration"
  • "Even though I tried to be all tough guy about my creative process and the work of writing, I am secretly under my breath asking something bigger than I that I think may reside far above me in the sky or clouds or universe to please let me stop running from the work I get to do. And I wrestle between that line of thinking and my belief that writing is nothing so precious that it needs nine tons of mustered strength, random travel, and a favor from God to approach." ~Dan Kennedy, "Welcome. Grab a Broom"
  • " is a common flaw of writers to rationalize everything we do or experience, claiming that it will make us better writers." ~Michelle Richmond, "From Somewhere Down South to South Beach"
  • "Just when it appears that a new medium is going to replace its predecessor, we tend to figure out the true value of the older." ~Douglas Rushkoff, "A Computer Ate My Book"
  • "Real books are more than mere repositories for information. They are objects, and they are meant to be experienced as such. the function of a dictionary is to provide the meaning of a word. The function of a book is to provide a reading experience. It's more than a transmission of data: It's a transmission of essence." Douglas Rushkoff, "A Computer Ate My Book"

Vivian Sobchack
Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film

  • “Visually, Robby [the Robot] looks like the offspring of some mad mating between the Michelin tire man and a juke box.” ~Vivian Sobchack, Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film
  • “What is visually fascinating and disturbing about the images in films like Siegel’s Body Snatchers is the way in which the secure and familiar are twisted into something subtly dangerous and slyly perverted....As viewers, we are forced into an extremely active role watching these films, a role not often demanded of us by movies; we are seduced by the minimal activity and novelty of what’s on the screen into an attentive paranoia which makes us lean forward to scan what seem like the most intentionally and deceitfully flat images for signs of aberrant alien behavior from the most improbable of suspects.” ~Vivian Sobchack, Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film
  • “...the more a film costs, the fewer risks it is likely to take.” ~Vivian Sobchack, Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film


  • “Silence can hold more pain than the loudest cries.” ~Theban
  • “All happiness must be crowned with wisdom.” ~Theban
Oedipus Rex
  • “This lady is his wife and mother…of his children.” ~Chorus about Oedipus and Jocasta
  • “At least your father’s death has lightened up the scene.” ~Jocasta
  • “Mere words will not stay one whom murder never could.” ~Oedipus
  • “Oh, what anguish to be wise where wisdom is a loss!” ~Oedipus

Brian M. Stableford
The Realms of Tartarus

  • “The slick myth always outlives any semblance of the reality.” ~Rath
  • “Time has to be taken. If you get into the habit of saving it, you get out of the habit of spending it.” ~Rath
  • “The machine isn’t duplicating human functions—but the human is failing to duplicate, in any meaningful degree, the machine functions.” ~Rypeck
  • “Heres’ mind was a mind perennially locked in high gear. Whereas most men despair of the practicality of thinking of two things at once, Heres found difficulty in restraining himself to one.” ~Brian M. Stableford, The Realms of Tartarus

Neal Stephenson

  • “All people have religions. It’s like we have religion receptors built into our brain cells, or something, and we’ll latch onto anything that’ll fill that niche for us.” ~Juanita Marquez
  • “That’s my expression. I made it up. An expression like that is just like a virus, you know—it’s a piece of information—data—that spreads from one person to the next.” ~L. Bob Rife
  • “Southern California doesn’t know whether to bustle or just strangle itself on the spot.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “Videotape is cheap. You never know when something will be useful, so you might as well videotape it.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “The boys decided to get all ‘mature’ on Y.T. Males of this age are preoccupied with snapping each other’s underwear and drinking until they are in a coma. But around a female, they do the ‘mature’ thing. It is hilarious.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “These new Knight Visions cost her a big wad of her Mob drug-running money. Just the kind of thing Mom had in mind when she insisted Y.T. get a part-time job.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “Guns take a long time to work (you have to wait for the victim to bleed to death).” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest [jerkface] in the world.” ~Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • “She’s a woman, you’re a dude. You’re not supposed to understand her. That’s not what she’s after....She doesn’t want you to understand her. She knows that’s impossible. She just wants you to understand yourself. Everything else is negotiable.” ~Y.T.

Wallace Stevens

  • “I am what is around me.” ~Wallace Stevens, “Theory”

Robert Louis Stevenson
"A Chapter on Dreams"

  • "The whole of my published fiction should be the single-handed product of some Brownie, some Familiar, some unseen collaborator, whom I keep locked in a back garret, while I get all the praise and he but a share (which I cannot prevent him getting) of the pudding." ~Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Chapter on Dreams"
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • "In a letter to John Paul Bocock in November 1887, Stevenson argued that [The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde] was a study in hypocrisy, not sexuality, and that in any case sexuality in a story was usually only the vehicle from analysis, not the subject itself." ~Martin A. Danahay, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the Critics"
    • "I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others; and presently some bland old bird (the last you would have thought of) is knocked on the head in his own back garden and the family have to change their name. No sir, I make it a rule of mine: the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask." ~Mr. Enfield ("queer" in this case of course meaning "weird")

    Bram Stoker

    • "Perhaps we have lost the true threat, the true violence, of Stoker's King Vampire because for a century which has seen the Somme, Hiroshima, the Holocaust, "ethnic cleansings" in the Balkans and attempted genocide in Rwanda, the cold impersonal horror he personifies and portends is too uncomfortably close to home. Perhaps Auerbach is right: the monster is not Victorian England, the monster is us." ~Glennis Byron, "The Vampire Today"
    • “I suppose there is something in a woman’s nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood…” ~Mina Harker
    • “We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked; I felt this big, sorrowing man’s head resting on me, as though it were that of the baby that someday may lie on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange it all was.” ~Mina Harker
    • "Some of the 'New Women' writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the New Woman won't condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself." ~Mina Murray
    • “Little girl, your honesty and pluck have made me a friend, and that’s rarer than a lover; it’s more unselfish anyhow.” ~Quincey P. Morris
    • "He went to the door and opened it; a most unnecessary proceeding it seemed to me. I have always thought that a wild animal never looks so well as when some obstacle of pronounced durability in between us; a personal experience has intensified rather than diminished that idea." ~A reporter in Dracula
    • "Mem., under what circumstances would I not avoid the pit of hell?" ~Dr. John Seward
    • "The real God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall; but the God created from human vanity sees no difference between an eagle and a sparrow." ~Dr. John Seward
    • “The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him.” ~Professor Abraham Van Helsing
    • “Friend Quincey is right! His head is what you call in plane with the horizon.” ~Professor Van Helsing
    • "My thesis is this: I want you to believe....To believe in things that you cannot. Let me illustrate. I heard once of an American who so defined faith: 'that which enables us to believe things which we know to be untrue.' For one, I follow that man. He meant that we shall have an open mind, and not let a little bit of truth check the rush of a big truth, like a small rock does a railway truck. We get the small truth first. Good! We keep him, and we value him; but all the same we must not let him think himself all the truth in the universe." ~Dr. Abraham Van Helsing
    • “Being proposed to is all very nice and all that sort of thing, but it isn’t at all a happy thing when you have to see a poor fellow, whom you know loves you honestly, going away and looking all broken-hearted…” ~Lucy Westenra

    Pulbis Syrus

    • “He who fears all snares falls into none.” ~Pulbis Syrus, Sententiae

    Unknown Author
    "It's Now Time to Take Doctor Who Seriously

    • "'I... am... alone...' complains the solitary surviving Dalek we met in the first series. You felt for the poor homicidal little dustbin." ~"It's Now Time to Take Doctor Who Seriously"
    • "At one point the Doctor is offered a device powerful enough to rewrite history – 'I could stop the War' - but resists the temptation. (Possibly because the person offering it was the man from the Gold Blend ads, possibly because he was an evil interplanetary bat-creature... the Doctor's motives are inscrutable.)" ~"It's Now Time to Take Doctor Who Seriously"

    John Updike
    The Centaur

    • ”I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep since I was four years old.” ~George Caldwell
    • “Nothin’ much in Maryland.” ~Hitchhiker
    • “Things never fail to fail.” ~John Updike, The Centaur
    • “So much of Peter’s energy is spent in wishing he could take back things he has said.” ~John Updike, The Centaur
    • “Humanity, which has so long entranced him, disgusts him packed and tangled like germs in this overheated auditorium.” ~John Updike, The Centaur
    • “Monsters are most vulnerable in their transitions.” ~John Updike, The Centaur

    Jules Verne
    Around the World in Eighty Days

    • "Passports never serve any other purpose than to annoy honest citizens and help criminals escape." ~Detective Fix
    • "As for seeing the town, [Phileas Fogg] did not even think of it, being of that breed of Britons who have their servants do their sightseeing for them." ~Jules Verne (as translated by William Butcher), Around the World in Eighty Days
    • "With the devil-may-care attitude of the Americans, one can say that when they play safe, one would be crazy not to play safe as well." ~Jules Verne (as translated by William Butcher), Around the World in Eighty Days

    The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
    • "I am said to be learned; that is a mistake, commander: I know nothing, and if I have published a few books that are selling not too badly, I was wrong; the public is very kind to buy them! I do not know anything, I repeat, except that I know nothing." ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "The happiest animal would be a snail which could grow a shell when it wished, and I will try to be an intelligent snail." ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "That's just the problem: the bears seem very rare and wild; they're not civilized enough to come and get shot." ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "Optical illusions are the only illusions left to me, my friends, but it won't be easy to lose them!" ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "[I'm not a genius], my friend; I'm only a man who's read a lot and has a good memory." ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "Why lower oneself to taking pride from being American or British, when you can boast of being men!" ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "Comets are the deus ex machina; every time you're embarrassed in cosmography, you bring in a comet. It is the most helpful heavenly body I know, for at the slightest sign from scientists it does its level best to fix everything!" ~Dr. Clawbonny
    • "Sailors with a good ship under their feet can go to the ends of the world." ~Johnson from The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
    • "You can't swim 300 miles, even if you're the best Briton on earth. Even patriotism has its limits." ~Johnson from The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
    • "If you intend us to die of cold, we request that you inform us." ~Richard Shandon
    • "It can be seen that, although the field of conjectures was extremely limited, imaginations still found a way of getting lost there." ~Jules Verne (as translated by William Butcher), The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
    • "[Dr. Clawbonny's] eyes, small like those of witty men, and his mouth, large and mobile, were three safety valves which enabled him to let out this overflow of himself." ~Jules Verne (as translated by William Butcher), The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
    • "Nothing is worse than fur neckpieces or mufflers, soon stiffened by the ice; in the evening they could only have been removed with a hatchet, not a convenient way to get undressed, even in the Arctic." ~Jules Verne (as translated by William Butcher), The Adventures of Captain Hatteras

    A Fantasy of Dr. Ox
    • "Dr. Custos, he was an honourable practitioner who, following the example of his colleagues, cured his patients of all their illnesses, except the one they died from: a disagreeable habit that has been picked up, unfortunately, by all the members of the medical profession, whichever country they practise in." ~Jules Verne (as translated by Andrew Brown), A Fantasy of Dr. Ox
    • "Chapter 14: In which things aer taken so far that the inhabitants of Quiquendone, the readers, and even the author demand that it all be brought to an end" ~Jules Verne (as translated by Andrew Brown), A Fantasy of Dr. Ox
    • "Chapter 16: In which the intelligent reader clearly sees that he had guessed correctly, despite all the author's precautions" ~Jules Verne (as translated by Andrew Brown), A Fantasy of Dr. Ox

    Journey to the Center of the Earth
    • "Enough. When science has spoken, one can only remain silent thereafter!" ~Professor Lidenbrock
    • "Science, my boy, is composed of errors, but errors that it is right to make, for they lead step by step to the truth." ~Professor Lidenbrock

    The Meteor Hunt

    • "But if lucky little Omicron was immune to seasickness, and Mr. de Schack had the cast-iron stomach of a multibillionaire, this wasn't the case with Forsyth and Dr. Hudelson. It was their first time at sea and they were paying heavy tribute to King Neptune." ~Jules Verne as translated by Frederick Paul Walter and Walter James Miller, The Meteor Hunt

    The Mysterious Island

    • "History loves heroic madness, while condemning the consequences that result from it." ~Cyrus Smith
    • "Bows and arrows sufficed for centuries to stain the earth with blood. Powder is only an invention of yesterday, but war is as old as the human race, unfortunately." ~Gideon Spilett
    • "Of all masters, necessity is the one we listen to the most and the one who teaches us the best." ~Jules Verne as translated by Sidney Kravitz, The Mysterious Island
    • "They had knowledge, and the man who has knowledge succeeds where others would vegetate and inevitably perish." ~Jules Verne as translated by Sidney Kravitz, The Mysterious Island
    • "Ayrton's and Gideon Spilett's carbines then spoke and doubtless said some disagreeable things to two convicts, because they immediately fell backwards to the ground." ~Jules Verne as translated by Sidney Kravitz, The Mysterious Island

    Paris in the Twentieth Century

    • "I have no more than a single day of freedom, at least I shall spend it as I please. I have a little money, and it I shall spend on books beginning with the great poets and illustrious authors of the last century. Each evening they will console me for the vexations of each day." ~Michel Dufrénoy
    • "We'll get there eventually--nothing is eternal in this world, not even stairs." ~Quinsonnas
    • " had taken a hundred and fifty years to acknowledge this truth, that in dealing with crowds, it is wiser to multiply exits than to limit them." ~Jules Verne as translated by Richard Howard, Paris in the Twentieth Century
    • "...there is no space so great that it cannot eventually be filled." ~Jules Verne as translated by Richard Howard, Paris in the Twentieth Century
    • "...he inhaled that literary fragrance that rose to his brain like a warm emanation of bygone centuries, shaking hands with all these friends of the past he would have known and loved, had he had the wit to be born sooner!" ~Jules Verne as translated by Richard Howard, Paris in the Twentieth Century
    • "Chapter XIII: Concerning the Ease with Which an Artist Can Starve to Death in the Twentieth Century" ~Jules Verne as translated by Richard Howard, Paris in the Twentieth Century
    • "This was not a satisfactory state of affairs; reality would have to be faced, and he had not yet acquired the habit." ~Jules Verne as translated by Richard Howard, Paris in the Twentieth Century

    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas

    • "Informing the shareholders would be a kind gesture. But who knows how the news would be received? What gamblers usually regret the most is losing not their money but their mad hopes. In the end, I pity them less than the thousands of wretches who could have benefited from so many riches if properly distributed, whilst now they will never be of any use to them at all!" ~Dr. Aronnax
    • "Walls were invented to annoy scientists. There shouldn't be any walls." ~Conseil

    Kurt Vonnegut
    Cat’s Cradle

    • "Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way." ~Bokonon
    • "What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years? Nothing." ~The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon
    • "Why should I bother with made-up games when there are so many real ones going on?" ~Dr. Felix Hoenikker
    Hocus Pocus
    • “We could have saved it, but we were too doggone cheap.” ~Ed Bergeron’s epitaph for the planet
    • “[Freedom of speech] isn’t something somebody else gives you. That’s something you have to give yourself.” ~Dr. Helen Dole
    • “What makes so many Americans proud of their ignorance? They act as though their ignorance somehow made them charming.” ~Dr. Helen Dole
    • “How is this for a definition of high art: ‘Making the most of the raw materials of futility’?” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “I tried to give the most honest answer I could to any question anyone might care to put to me. Otherwise I stayed silent. I volunteered no advice at Athena, and none in Scipio under siege. I simply described the truth of the inquirer’s situation within the context of the world outside as best I could. What he did next was up to him. I call that being a teacher. I don’t call that being a mastermind of a treasonous enterprise. All I ever wanted to overthrow was ignorance and self-serving fantasies.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “Let them wonder, as I had when I walked into the spider web, what on Earth had happened to their previously dependable, forgiving Universe.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “People are never stronger than when they have thought up their own arguments for believing what they believe. They stand on their own 2 feet that way.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people’s vanity and foolishness.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “Plutonium! Now there’s the stuff to put hair on a microbe’s chest.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” ~Eugene Debs Hartke
    • “Just because something can reproduce, that doesn’t mean it should reproduce.” ~Jack Patton
    The Sirens of Titan
    • "I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all." ~Malachi Constant
    • "Sometimes I think it is a great mistake to have matter that can think and feel. It complains so. By the same token, though, I suppose that boulders and mountains and moons could be accused of being a little too phlegmatic." ~Winston Niles Rumfoord
    • "There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia." ~Winston Niles Rumfoord
    • "Any man who would change the World in a significant way must have showmanship, a genial willingness to shed other people's blood, and a plausible new religion to introduce during the brief period of repentance and horror that usually follows bloodshed." ~Winston Niles Rumfoord in his Pocket History of Mars
    • "One day the schoolchildren were taken by Miss Fenstermaker on an educational tour of a flamethrower factory." ~Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
    Welcome to the Monkey House
    • “When machines start delivering themselves, I guess that’s when the people better start really worrying.” ~Director in “Who Am I This Time?”
    • “The mind is the only thing about human beings that’s worth anything. Why does it have to be tied to a bag of skin, blood, hair, meat, bones, and tubes? No wonder people can’t get anything done, stuck for life with a parasite that has to be stuffed with food and protected from weather and germs all the time. And the fool thing wears out anyway—no matter how much you stuff and protect it!” ~Dr. Ellis Konigswasser
    • “He covered his shyness by speaking absently—as though he were a secret agent pausing briefly on a mission between beautiful, distant, and sinister points. This manner of speaking had always been Newt’s style, even in matters that concerned him desperately.” ~Kurt Vonnegut, “Long Walk to Forever”
    • “I wonder now what Ernest Hemmingway’s dictionary looked like, since he got along so well with dinky words that everybody can spell and truly understand.” ~Kurt Vonnegut, “New Dictionary”

    Sarah Vowell
    The Partly Cloudy Patriot

    • “It is curious that we Americans have a holiday—Thanksgiving—that’s all about people who left their homes for a life of their own choosing, a life that was different from their parents’ lives. And how do we celebrate it? By hanging out with our parents! It’s as if on the Fourth of July we honored our independence from the British by barbequing crumpets.” ~Sarah Vowell, “The First Thanksgiving”
    • “I’m standing at the cutting board chopping sage and it hits me what it means that [my mother] is letting me be in charge of the dressing: I am going to die. Being in charge of the dressing means you are a grown-up for real, and being a grown-up for real means you’re getting old and getting old means you are definitely, finally, totally going to die. My mother is a grandmother and my sister is a mother and I have decided the dressing will be yellow this year, therefore, we’ll all be dead some day.” ~Sarah Vowell, “The First Thanksgiving”
    • “Maybe sometimes, in quiet moments of reflection, my mom would prefer that I not burn eternally in the flames of hell when I die, but otherwise she wants me to follow my own heart.” ~Sarah Vowell, “The Partly Cloudy Patriot”
    • “I think the only reason seemingly every man, woman, and child in America goes to see [Tom Cruise’s] movies is not that he blinds us with beauty or talent or emotion. We can’t take our eyes off him because he makes us a little nervous. Not too nervous—that’s why we invented Dennis Hopper. Cruise makes us stealth nervous, just jittery enough to keep us awake.” ~Sarah Vowell, “Tom Cruise Makes Me Nervous”
    • “When the cute little kid in Jerry Maguire gave [Tom] Cruise a hug, my first reaction was parental. I wanted to grab the chid away, scolding, ‘We don’t do that. We don’t touch burning stoves, strangers’ candy, and we do not touch Tom Cruise.’” ~Sarah Vowell, “Tom Cruise Makes Me Nervous”

    Jessica Wagstrom
    The Most Popular Book in the Whole World

    • "I was so distracted by his mind boggling beauty to care that he was being retarded." ~Friggin' Beautiful about Xlormp

    Bill Watterson
    Calvin and Hobbes

    • "It's not denial. I'm just very choosy about the reality I accept." ~Calvin

    H.G. Wells
    The Island of Dr. Moreau

    • “I perceived that I was hungry and prepared to clamber out of the hammock which, very politely anticipating my intention, twisted round and deposited me upon all-fours on the floor.” ~Edward Prendick

    Oscar Wilde
    The Importance of Being Earnest

    • “An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter that she could be allowed to arrange for herself.” ~Lady Bracknell
    • "The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!" ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a defiite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then th excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “It is awfully hard work doing nothing. However, I don’t mind hard work where there is no definite object of any kind.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “It is perfectly childish to be in deep mourning for a man who is actually staying for a whole week with you in your house as a guest. I call it grotesque.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • “One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses. Every serious Bunburyist knows that.” ~Algernon Moncrieff
    • "Algie, you're always talking nonsense." ~Jack Worthing
    • “When one is in town, one amuses oneself. When one is in the country, one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.” ~Jack Worthing
    • “Some aunts are tall, some aunts are not tall. That is a matter that surely an aunt may be allowed to decide for herself.” ~Jack Worthing
    • “My dear Algy, you talk as if you were a dentist. It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn’t a dentist. It produces a false impression.” ~Jack Worthing
    • “Her mother is perfectly unbarable. Never met such a Gorgon…I don’t really know what a Gorgon is like, but I am quite sure that Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster, without being a myth, which is rather unfair.” ~Jack Worthing
    • “You don’t think there is any chance of Gwendolen becoming like her mother in about a hundred and fifty years, do you, Algy?” ~Jack Worthing
    Lady Windmere's Fan
    • “Oh, all of them, my dear, all of them, without any exception. And they never grow any better. Men become old, but they never become good.” ~The Duchess of Berwick in response to “Are all men bad?”
    • “Do you know I am afraid that good people do a great deal of harm in this world. Certainly the greatest harm they do is that they make badness of such extraordinary importance. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” ~Lord Darlington
    • “I can resist everything except temptation.” ~Lord Darlington
    • “Oh, nowadays so many conceited people go about Society pretending to be good, that I think it shows rather a sweet and modest disposition to pretend to be bad. Besides, there is this to be said. If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.” ~Lord Darlington
    The Picture of Dorian Gray
    • “We women, as someone says, love with our ears, just as you men love with your eyes, if you ever love at all.” ~Duchess of Monmouth
    • "The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer." ~Lord Henry Wotton
    • "I love acting. It is so much more real than life." ~Lord Henry Wotton
    "The Sphinx Without a Secret"
    • “My dear Gerald, women are meant to be loved, not to be understood." ~the narrator of "The Sphinx Without a Secret"

    Thornton Wilder
    Our Town

    • “Wherever you come near the human race, there’s layers and layers of nonsense…” ~Stage Manager

    Tennessee Williams
    The Glass Menagerie

    • “Sticks and stones can break our bones, but the expression on Mr. Garfinkle’s face won’t harm us!” ~Amanda Wingfield
    • “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of the stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth that has the appearance of illusion.” ~Tom Wingfield
    • “Every time you come in yelling that [goshdarn] ‘Rise and Shine!’ ‘Rise and Shine!’ I say to myself, ‘How lucky dead people are!’” ~Tom Wingfield
    • “You know it don’t take too much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura. But who in the [Tartarus] ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?” ~Tom Wingfield

    Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman

    • "...follow coincidence far enough and you'll find it tied to fate..." ~Apoletta
    • “[Raistlin]’s probably really grateful, just doesn’t know how to express it properly.” ~Tasselhoff Burrfoot
    • "I'll bet my beard that Tasslehoff's involved." ~Flint Fireforge
    • "Of all the hatreds, the ones among families are the cruelest." ~Flint Fireforge
    • "Sanity ended when we followed Tika into the kitchen of the Inn of the Last House." ~Tanis Half-Elven
    • “Don’t change colors to match the walls. Look like you belong and the walls will change color to match you.” ~Old Kender Proverb
    • "Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it." ~Raistlin
    • “Try to avoid getting yourself killed. It would annoy me greatly to have to train another bodyguard.” ~Rasitlin Majere to his twin brother, Caramon
    • "'No,' Tanis agreed." ~Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman, Dragons of Winter Night
    • “Though [Tanis] had come to a strong belief in the true gods – more through Laurana’s love and faith in them than anything else – he felt uncomfortable trusting his life to them, and he grew impatient with those like Elistan who, it seemed, placed too great a burden on the gods. Let man be responsible for himself for a change, Tanis thought irritably.” ~Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Time of the Twins
    • “Feeling very self-righteous and noble (and suddenly very bored), the kender glared at the clerics irritably, wishing they’d hurry up.” ~Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Time of the Twins
    • “Another time [Tas] misjudged the depth of the water running in the street and found himself being washed down the block at a rapid rate. This was amusing and would have been even more fun if he’d been able to breathe.” ~Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Time of the Twins

    Walt Whitman
    ”Song of Myself”

    • “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself,/(I am large, I contain multitudes.)” ~Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

    W.B. Yeats
    “The Salley Gardens”

    • “But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears” ~W.B. Yeats, “The Salley Gardens
    “The Stolen Child”
    • “Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” ~W.B. Yeats, “The Stolen Child”

    Roger Zelazny
    ”A Rose for Ecclesiastes”

    • “Someday I’m going to write an article for the Journal of Semantics, called ‘Tone of Voice: An Insufficient Vehicle for Irony’.” ~Roger Zelazny, “A Rose for Ecclesiastes”

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