Catherine Webb

British writer

Catherine Webb (born 1986) is a British author. She also writes fantasy novels for adults under the name Kate Griffin, and science fiction as Claire North.

Quotes edit

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (2014) edit

All page numbers are from the hardcover first American edition published by Redhook Books ISBN 978-0-316-39961-6, first printing
Published under the pseudonym Claire North
Won the 2015 John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Nominated for the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2014 British Science Fiction Award
  • Complexity should be your excuse for inaction.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 65)
  • Pure science is no more and no less than the logical process of deduction and experimentation upon observable events. It has no good or bad about it, merely right or wrong in a strictly mathematical definition. What people do with that science is cause for ethical debate, but it is not for the true scientist to concern themselves with that. Leave it to the politicians and philosophers.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 70)
  • Time was simple, is simple. We can divide it into simple parts, measure it, arrange dinner by it, drink whisky to its passage. We can mathematically deploy it, use it to express ideas about the observable universe, and yet if asked to explain it in simple language to a child–in simple language which is not deceit, of course–we are powerless. The most it ever seems we know how to do with time is to waste it.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 72)
  • There is no loss, if you cannot remember what you have lost.
    • Chapter 26 (p. 108)
  • A scientific argument must have some degree of data, some…some sniff of theoretical basis behind it; otherwise it’s not a scientific argument, it’s a philosophical debate.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 119; ellipsis as in the book)
  • The roads were defined merely by the place where the mud was most pressed down.
    • Chapter 39 (p. 170)
  • “Politics,” he spat. “Everyone is always looking for material to use against everybody else.”
    • Chapter 45 (p. 193)
  • “Do you think you’ve ever made a difference to the course of linear events?” I inquired. “Have you, personally, ever affected the outcome of a war?”
    “Fuck no!” He chuckled. “We’re just fucking soldiers. We kill some guys, they kill our guys, we kill their guys back—none of it fucking means anything, you know? Just numbers on a page, and only when the numbers get big enough do the fat cats who decide this shit sit down and go, ‘Wow, let’s make the decisions we were always gonna have to make anyway.’ I’m no threat to temporal events, partner—I’m just the fire in the stove. And you know the best bit?” He beamed, climbing to his feet, tossing a fist full of bunched-up notes into the corner of the hut, like a master throwing scraps to a pet. “None of it fucking matters. Not one bullet, not one drop of blood. None of it makes any fucking difference at all.”
    • Chapter 50 (pp. 216-217)
  • Knowledge is not a substitute for ingenuity, merely an accelerant.
    • Chapter 51 (p. 224)
  • “Go with it?”…
    “Don’t fight against inevitability,” I translated loosely. “Life is until it is not, so why get fussed? Don’t hurt anyone, try not to give your dinner guests food poisoning, be clean in word and deed—what else is there? Just be a decent person in a decent world.”
    “Everyone’s a decent person,” she replied softly, “in their own eyes.”
    • Chapter 51 (p. 227; ellipsis represents the elision of a brief linguistic note)
  • Men must be decent first and brilliant later, otherwise you’re not helping people, just servicing the machine.
    • Chapter 51 (p. 228)
  • Surely even the most vehement of ideologues couldn’t find anything wrong with Norway?
    • Chapter 63 (p. 292)
  • “I have to congratulate you,” she murmured as we walked, “on the thoroughness of your preparations. Every document and contact indicates that you are who you claim to be, a great achievement considering that you are not.”
    • Chapter 63 (p. 296)
  • The world is ending, as it always must. But the end of the world is getting faster.
    • Chapter 74 (p. 353)

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: