Mike Resnick

American writer (1942-2020)

Mike Resnick (March 5, 1942 – January 9, 2020) was an American science fiction writer and editor. Resnick was nominated for 37 Hugo Awards and won five times; he won one Nebula Award from eleven nominations.

Mike Resnick, 2008


All page numbers from the second mass market paperback edition published by Tor Books, ISBN 0-812-52256-7, in August 1992, second printing
All italics as in the book
  • Man sells his soul to the devil, he spends the rest of his life trying to stockpile enough money to buy it back.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 20)
  • Somewhere along the way he learned the most important lesson of all, which was that a king with no heirs had better never turn his back on anybody.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 21)
  • No matter what kind of promises a man who’s looking for power makes, he’s not going to turn out to be any different from the one he replaces.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 39)
  • “You never did tell me why you became a bounty hunter.”
    “I’d been a terrorist for twelve years. The only thing I knew how to do really well was kill people.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 40)
  • “You must have been a very serious young man.”
    “Actually, I used to laugh a lot more than I do now.” He shrugged. “That was when I thought one moral man could make a difference. The only thing I find really funny these days is the fact that so many people still believe it.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 40)
  • “Did you find God, or did you buy Him off?”
    “It’s all a matter of viewpoint,” answered Socrates. “I contribute thousands of credits to His churches and sing His praises every morning, and He pretty much protects me and helps take care of business. It’s a mutually nourishing relationship.”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 64)
  • “You know,” he said unhappily, “I never did like you much. You were always too ambitious, always scheming and plotting.”
    “Why should I deny it?” she said calmly. “I’ll only add that it’s people like you who made it easy.”
    “What’ll you do when you finally get to the top, and there are no more bodies to climb over?”
    “Mostly, I’ll enjoy it,” she replied.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 85)
  • “Have you ever done anything, even once, with no thought of a return?” he asked.
    “How old were you? Six?”
    “Younger. And I immediately decided that there was no percentage in it.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 85)
  • I may die unmourned, but I sure as hell don’t plan to die unavenged.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 88)
  • “He does it because he wants to.”
    “Then I was right the first time,” she said decisively. “He’s a fool.”
    “For doing something that makes him happy?”
    “For giving it away for free.”
    “Maybe he’s got enough money,” suggested the Swagman.
    She turned and stared at him. “Do you know anyone who’s got enough money?”
    The Swagman smiled. “Maybe he’s a fool,” he said at last.
    • Chapter 10 (pp. 133-134)
  • You have many wonderful qualities, Virtue—you lie and cheat and blackmail and bluff with great panache, and you’re thoroughly delightful in bed—but you simply aren’t a skilled professional killer.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 141)
  • “I also destroyed a man who was in serious need of destruction,” replied Cain. “On the whole, I’d say the ledger came out on the plus side.”
    “There wasn’t even any paper on Socrates.”
    “Then view killing him as a service to humanity.”
    “I wasn’t aware that you were in the philanthropy business,” said the Swagman.
    “There are more important things than money,” said Cain.
    “True—but all of them cost money.”
    • Chapter 13 (p. 177)
  • “Kabalka Five? That’s an alien world, isn’t it?”
    “It doesn’t take aliens long to find out what men will do for gold,” she replied.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 301)
  • “This is a grim business. There’s nothing romantic about harassing an overwhelming power with no hope of winning.”
    “If he knows he can’t win, why does he do it?”
    “To avoid losing.”
    “That sounds profound, but it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense,” said Cain.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 302)
  • “Does might make right?” she asked.
    Cain shrugged. “No. But it makes it pretty difficult for anyone to tell you you’re wrong.”
    • Chapter 22 (p. 305)
  • “You’ve got quite a library. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many books in one place before.”
    “I like the heft and feel of a book,” replied Santiago. “Computer libraries are filled with electrical impulses. Books are filled with words.”
    • Chapter 22 (p. 307)
  • “Let me suggest that sometimes it’s not a bad idea to judge a man by his enemies.”
    “In your case it’s an absolute necessity,” said Cain sardonically. “I’ve met your friends.”
    • Chapter 22 (p. 308)
  • “Why are you fighting it?”
    “Because somebody has to.”
    “That’s not much of a reason.”
    “It’s the best reason there is,” said Santiago. “The first duty of power is to perpetuate itself. The first duty of free men is to resist it.”
    • Chapter 23 (p. 312)
  • The second you attain power, you become what you’ve been fighting against.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 312)
  • “I persist in fighting because I see something that’s wrong, and the alternative to fighting is to submit.”
    Cain made no comment.
    “If you want a philosophic justification, you’ll find it in my library,” continued Santiago. “I’ve got a much simpler explanation.”
    “What is it?”
    He smiled a savage smile. “When someone pushes me, I push back.”
    • Chapter 23 (p. 312)
  • “There are no bad bounty hunters,” replied Cain. “Just good ones and dead ones.”
    “Why did you become a bounty hunter in the first place?” asked Jacinto.
    “When I realized that I wasn’t going to make the galaxy a better place to live in in one bold stroke, I decided to try doing it one small step at a time.”
    “Have you ever regretted it?”
    “Not really,” replied Cain. “We all make choices; most of us get pretty much what we deserve.”
    • Chapter 25 (p. 339)
  • I wish you were as bright as you think you are.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 360)
  • “Then, if there are no further objections, I think I’ll take my leave of you,” he said, walking to the door. “I crave the company of honest men and women.”
    “I doubt that the feeling is mutual,” said Cain.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 371)
All page numbers from the trade paperback first edition published by Axolotl Press/Pulphouse Publishing, catalog number 15
Novella nominated for the 1992 Nebula Award, the 1991 Hugo Award, and the 1991 Locus Award
  • “For the longest time I thought my future would be in ornithology and taxidermy, but eventually I found men more interesting than animals.” Suddenly he grinned. “Or at least, more in need of leadership.”
    “Well, we’ve come to the right place,” replied Boyes. “I think the Congo is probably more in need of leadership than most places.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 25)
  • “I obviously have more faith in these people than you do, John.”
    “Maybe that’s because I know them better.”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 43)
  • “You sound like a pessimist, Yank,” said Roosevelt.
    “Pessimism and realism are next-door neighbors on this continent, Teddy,” said Rogers.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 95)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 0-441-77285-4, first printing
  • “As for talking business,” he continued carefully, “I haven’t heard any offers yet.”
    “You’re still alive,” said MacLemore. “That’s not necessarily a permanent condition.”
    • Chapter 3 (pp. 27-28)
  • “Don’t believe everything you hear,” said the Mouse.
    Ryan laughed again. “If I believed half of what I heard, I’d be dead and buried already.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 59)
  • “You haven’t changed at all, Carlos. You never trusted anyone or anything.”
    “Maybe that’s why I’m still alive.”
    • Chapter 13 (p. 109)
  • “Why did you ever like him, Mouse?” asked Penelope.
    “I was lonely,” said the Mouse with a sigh, “and sometimes lonely people make poor choices.”
    • Chapter 20 (p. 172)
  • “There’s a possibility that I’m wrong.”
    “That’s the first rational thing you’ve said.”
    • Chapter 29 (p. 246)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 0-441-58694-5, first printing
  • What this embassy needs is more killers and less bureaucrats.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 113)
  • “A moral assassin,” she said with an amused smile.
    “Not everyone gets into this business because they like to kill people,” he replied.
    “Then why do you do it?”
    “Because I find all forms of business distasteful,” answered Chandler. “This one pays me enough so that I don’t have to work very often.”
    • Chapter 20 (pp. 162-163)
  • “Look,” said Chandler. “Either we’ve got free will or we don’t. If we do, then we are doing the right thing. If we don’t, then we can’t do anything else, anyway. So what’s the point of worrying about it?”
    “Because we can stop right now if we decide to.”
    He smiled. “And how will you know that the Oracle didn’t change her mind and choose a future in which we stopped?”
    She wearily leaned back on the chair. “Where does it end?”
    “Second guessing fate?” asked Chandler. “Never. That’s why it’s a good idea not to start.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 167)
  • “Well, it’s a practical approach,” she conceded. “But it’s not very satisfying. I think an animal in the forest might have that same viewpoint.”
    “I spend most of my life with the animals in the forest,” replied Chandler. “Very few of them have high blood pressure or heart attacks. Maybe they know something we don’t know.”
    “They don’t know anything,” said Jade. “They just react.”
    “They stay warm and dry and well fed,” he noted. “When all is said and done, that’s all most humans are really trying to do.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 168)
  • I’m trying to tell you that you can trust me because I’m motivated by the most basic human emotion: greed.
    • Chapter 24 (p. 194)
  • We have nothing in common except our enmity.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 237)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace Books, ISBN 0-441-68329-0, first printing
  • The only thing I’m really good at is wishing I was somewhere else.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 26)
  • “Don’t ever take a job as a diplomat or a politician,” said the Iceman wryly.
    “I beg your pardon.”
    “You’re a lousy liar.”
    • Chapter 8 (p. 67)
  • “Fast is good,” said the Iceman. “Accurate is better.” He paused again. “And knowing when not to shoot is better still.”
    • Chapter 8 (pp. 70-71)
  • “She didn’t kill him,” explained the Iceman. “She could have saved him, but she chose not to. Legally it’s not the same thing; morally it is.”
    • Chapter 11 (pp. 93-94)
  • There are a thousand events that must transpire, each in its exact order; a million futures must vanish every nanosecond; and you ask me to explain all this to you? Poor little human, who seeks only a full belly and a fat wallet, who dreams of heroic deeds and grateful maidens, and who is doomed only to become a speck of dust in a galaxy already overflowing with dust.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 147)
  • “He was destined to desert me.”
    “How do you know I won’t?”
    “Because you are selfish enough and greedy enough and immoral enough to realize that your best interest lies in total fealty to me,” she replied.
    “I don’t know that I especially like that assessment of me,” said the Kid.
    “The question is not whether you like it,” replied Penelope, “but whether it is true.”
    • Chapter 19 (p. 167)
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