Pat Cadigan

American science fiction author

Pat Cadigan (born September 10, 1953) is an American-born science fiction author, whose work is described as part of the cyberpunk movement.

Pat Cadigan, 2007


  • Mindplayers didn't really address a lot about the criminal element of this particular world. Everybody in the Mindplayers world couldn't possibly live like the few people that you saw. A lot of times, a culture almost seems to float on top of its own black market, and things from that filter up through the culture. I get the feeling that this law-abiding peaceful thing that I live in now is almost never-never land - to a certain extent it's not even really real. I spent a decade working for Hallmark cards, which is supposed to epitomise sweetness and light and good living and ethics and morals. But Hallmark, like many American manufacturers, has a lot of things like toys and ornaments manufactured in the Far East, by people in sweat-shops. These are children, old people, poor people, people who don't have enough to eat; we get these things so cheaply because we simply use these people and throw them away. This is what I mean about our culture, our never-never land, floating on top of our underworld.

Short fiction


Naming Names (1992)

Page number from Gardner Dozois (ed.) The Year's Best Science Fiction: Tenth Annual Collection. (Originally published in Narrow Houses, edited by Peter Crowther)
  • That was the real price, I thought. Once you had power, you ended up having to depend on it. Eventually, like anything else, it owned you.
    Eventually? No, from the beginning; we just don’t bother admitting it at first.
    • p. 389

Is There Life After Rehab? (2005)

Page numbers from Rich Horton (ed.), Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006. (Originally published in Sci Fiction, August 17, 2005)
  • There were those who insisted this had already happened, but they could never come up with any solid examples, only vague stories involving the cousin of a daughter of a friend-of-a-friend who overheard someone on an all-night bus telling someone else about it.
    • p. 175
  • Technology disgusts me. My senses tell me what I need to know. The rest is noise.
    • p. 180

Picking Up the Pieces (2011)

Page number from the original publication in Ellen Datlow (ed.) Naked City, ISBN 978-0-312-60431-8, first printing
  • I pushed her back hard. “You don’t belong with them; you’re not special, you have no place in any unseen world; you’re like me and the rest of our family. Get used to it!”
    She looked at me like I’d slapped her.
    “Oh, sorry,” I said, feeling equally stung by her reaction. “It’s hell being ordinary, but that’s the human condition.”
    • p. 191
All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Bantam Spectra, ISBN 0553265857, 2nd printing
Italics and formatting as in the book
  • Everybody wants to be somebody but nobody wants to be just anybody.
    • Part 1, Altered States of Consciousness, Chapter 2, “The Reality Affixer” (p. 13)
  • Meditation was such a loose term; you can do almost anything mentally and call it meditation.
    • Chapter 4, “Outside” (p. 35)
  • “Is that the way you feel about it?” I asked.
    “I’m a lawyer. I deal with the law as it is, not how I feel about it.”
    • Chapter 5, “Conscious Choices” (p. 42)
  • If fasting really had anything to do with enlightenment then millions of people throughout the ages had died of the secret of life. And the secret of life was, in its entirety, that starvation hurt like a bastard.
    • Chapter 9, “The Eye Trick” (p. 78)
  • If a dataline is running and there’s no one there to watch it, has anything really happened?
    • Chapter 11, “How to Find Your Pathos” (p. 85)
  • I remembered the sign in front of the cathedral: You are here. (Where did you think you were?)
    • Chapter 11, “How to Find Your Pathos” (p. 89)
  • I said, What are you, a federal employee or just a freelance zombie?
    • Part 2, Altering States of Consciousness, Chapter 1, “The Pathosfinder Gets a Job” (p. 105)
  • And that vulgar gold lamé upholstery giving me a rash. You can dispute taste but you can’t stop it.
    • Chapter 5, “Nearly Departed” (p. 154)
  • Truth and information are not the same thing!
    • Part 3, Alerted Snakes of Consequence, Chapter 2, “Clean, No Starch” (p. 180)
  • “Truth and information are not the same thing. I promise you that’s a fact.”
    “So you told yourself. But you have to admit that they do coincide often enough to let us all get around in the world safely.”
    • Chapter 3, “Jascha” (p. 183)
  • Fusion power we licked; static cling has us on the ropes. It’s a funny world.
    • Chapter 7, “Lunatic Bridge” (p. 231)
  • Some people gain freedom by trading one form of bondage for another.
    • Chapter 7, “Lunatic Bridge” (p. 238)
  • Maybe it’s better to be half of something wonderful than a whole nothing at all.
    • Chapter 7, “Lunatic Bridge” (p. 239)
  • Old responses live long, die hard, and frequently leave a troublesome corpse.
    • Chapter 7, “Lunatic Bridge” (p. 245)
  • Help him by helping him resist your help.
    • Chapter 7, “Lunatic Bridge” (p. 249)
  • It gets tricky here, but it’s always seemed to be that sanity is, or can be, as relative as anything else. Sacrifice an animal to Zeus and predict the future from the formation of its entrails—do that as a general in ancient Greece hoping for victory in a coming battle and you’re prudent. Do it today and you’re a clinical paranoid and a mean one, too. Sanity, like customs and manners, seems to have a strong basis in the accepted standards of a particular time and place.
    • Author’s Afterward (pp. 278-279)
All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Bantam Spectra
  • If you’re really going to die on me, you could at least rub my neck before you go.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 2)
  • “‘Truth is cheap, but information costs.’ I can’t remember who said that.”
    “Vince What’s-His-Name,” said Sam. “Died in a terrorist raid or something. I thought you said all information should be free.”
    “It should. It isn’t. Knowledge is power. But power corrupts. Which means the Age of Fast Information is an extremely corrupt age in which to live.”
    “Aren’t they all?” Sam asked him.
    • Chapter 5 (pp. 52-53)
  • Keep your best whiskey in a bottle marked ‘mouthwash.’
    • Chapter 5 (p. 57)
  • The authenticity may have been dubious, but the excitement had been real.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 93)
  • The Beater has still been young enough to feel immortal, at least on his better days. It was all, Wow, if we don’t slow down, we’re gonna die before we get old, except somehow it hadn’t happened that way. So they’d all assumed it never would, not dying, not getting old—hell, not even growing up.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 109)
  • Nothing stays the same, Gina, nothing works forever. If I don’t like it, that’s too bad. If you don’t like it, that’s still too bad.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 113)
  • It was a lonely thing. There was no way to be sure if it meant the same thing to both of you. He’d forgotten that part of making love, how you couldn’t assume that intent was as joined as bodies were.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 234)
  • Everything seemed to happen when you were looking the other way.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 238)
  • The only place to go now is into the context. If you can find it. Between the context and the content, between the mainline and the hardline, falls the shadow.
    • Chapter 29 (p. 334)
  • If you can’t fuck it, and it doesn’t dance, eat it or throw it away.
    • Chapter 29 (p. 334; catch phrase repeated several times in the book)
  • Reaching in, he wrapped the exposed wires around his fingers and ripped them out. The locks released, letting the door fall open a crack.
    “That’s what we call a Luddite hack.”
    • Chapter 29 (p. 338)
  • He had the sudden urge to put his arms around her, but the look on her face said that if he made a move toward her, she would move away, and maybe she would keep moving away from him until the distance between them was too great to cross again in one lifetime.
    • Chapter 29 (p. 339)
  • That was it, then, civilization was officially collapsed if the cops had stopped ticketing abandoned cars and roosted on them instead.
    • Chapter 31 (p. 364)
  • Fez gave her a squeeze. “You’re a genius, Sam-I-Am.”
    She squirmed away from him uncomfortably. “It just makes sense, is all.”
    “Sometimes that’s all it takes to be a genius.”
    • Chapter 32 (p. 387)
  • Ninety percent of life was being there, and the rest was being there on time.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 389)
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