- Science fiction rarely is about scientists doing real science, in its slowness, its vagueness, the sort of tedious quality of getting out there and digging amongst rocks and then trying to convince people that what you're seeing justifies the conclusions you're making. The whole process of science is wildly under-represented in science fiction because it's not easy to write about. There are many facets of science that are almost exactly opposite of dramatic narrative. It's slow, tedious, inconclusive, it's hard to tell good guys from bad guys — it's everything that a normal hour of Star Trek is not.
- If the amount of money going into the war economy were invested in landscape restoration, we would be in a far more positive position. It may get a little dire before we pull together, but I think when the prosperous nations, and in particular the US, realise they're wrecking their own kids' lives, there will be a mass change in value. It will be a difficult century, and ugly, but I don't think that in the end people are so stupid as to kill themselves off.
- I think the US is in a terrible state of denial … Worse than that, we seem to be caught in a kind of Götterdämmerung response: we'd rather have the world go down in flames than change our lifestyle or admit we're wrong.
- As quoted in "Future tense" in The Guardian (14 September 2005)
- Science is--or should be--the greenest force of all.
Red Mars (1992)Edit
- The only part of an argument that really matters is what we think of the people arguing. X claims a, Y claims b. They make arguments to support their claims with any number of points. But when their listeners remember the discussion, what matters is simply that X believes a and Y believes b. People then form their judgment on what they think of X and Y.
- Science was many things, Nadia thought, including a weapon with which to hit other scientists.
- They were so ignorant! Young men and women, educated very carefully to be apolitical, to be technicians who thought they disliked politics, making them putty in the hands of their rulers, just like always. It was appalling how stupid they were, really, and he could not help lashing into them.
- thoughts of Frank Chalmers
- Historical analogy is the last refuge of people who can't grasp the current situation.
Green Mars (1993)Edit
- You can't get any movement larger than five people without including at least one fucking idiot.
- It was not power that corrupted people, but fools who corrupted power.
- Even if you want no state, or a minimal state, then you have to argue point by point. Especially since the minimalists want to keep the economic and police system that keeps them privileged. That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves. No! If you want to make the minimum-state case, you have to argue it from the ground up.
- Coyote ("What Is to Be Done?", p. 370)
Plague was plague, and could not be treated lightly. And this plague was obviously worse than most, having killed
everyone in the region.
- A sudden gust: How big the world seems in a wind.
- Book 1: "Awake to Emptiness", Ch. 1
- Plague was plague, and could not be treated lightly. And this plague was obviously worse than most, having killed everyone in the region.
- Book 1: "Awake to Emptiness", Ch. 2
- He often spoke aloud to himself now, or hummed, without ever noticing it, as if ignoring an old companion who always said the same things.
- Book 1: "Awake to Emptiness", Ch. 2
- It is always the teacher who must learn the most … or else nothing real has happened in the exchange.
- Book 2: "The Haj in the Heart", Ch. 5
- What kind of story am I going to give them next? Because that's what we are to other people, boy, we are their gossip. That's all civilization is, a giant mill grinding out gossip. And so I could be the story of the man who rode high and fell hard, and had his spirit broken and crawled off into a hole like a dog, to die as soon as he could manage it. Or I could be the story of a man who rode high and fell hard, and then got up defiant, and walked away in a new direction.
- Book 4: "The Alchemist", § 11
- Rock is much more malleable than ideas.
- Book 6: "Widow Kang", Ch. 3
- The world operates by number, by physical laws, expressed mathematically. If you know these, you will have a better grasp of things. And some possible job skills.
When some French were assembling an encyclopedia of paranormal experiences
, they decided to leave déjà vu
out, because it was so common it could not be considered paranormal.
- We all have seven secret lives. The life of excretion; the world of inappropriate sexual fantasies; our real hopes; our terror of death; our experience of shame; the world of pain; and our dreams. No one ever knows these lives. Consciousness is solitary. Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.
- There was nothing for it but to pace through just behind or ahead of the spooling present that was never there, caught in the nonexistent interval between the nonexistent past and the nonexistent future.
- When some French were assembling an encyclopedia of paranormal experiences, they decided to leave déjà vu out, because it was so common it could not be considered paranormal.
- One of the chief features of incompetence was an inability to see it in oneself.
- Fights over ideas are the most vicious of all. If it were merely food, or water, or shelter, we would work something out. But in the realm of ideas one can become idealistic.
- This vain presumption, of understanding everything, can have no other basis than never understanding anything. For anyone who had experienced just once the understanding of one single thing, thus truly tasting how knowledge is accomplished, would then recognize that of the infinity of other truths, he understands nothing.
- You could never teach other people anything that mattered. The important things they had to learn for themselves, almost always by making mistakes, so that the lessons arrived too late to help. Experience was in that sense useless. It was precisely what could not be passed along in a lesson or an equation.
- Yes. God makes the world using mathematics, and he has given us minds that can see it. We can discover the laws He used! It is a most beautiful thing to witness and understand! It's prayer. It's more than prayer, it's a sacrament, a kind of communion. An apprehension—an epiphany—it's seeing God, while still in this body and in this world! How blessed we are, to be able to experience God like that! Who would not devote their time to understanding more, to seeing deeper in God's manner of thinking about these things?