John C. Wright

If atheism solved all human woe, then the Soviet Union would have been an empire of joy and dancing bunnies, instead of the land of corpses.

Truth does not become more or less true, whether those who know it are many or few.

Even a prison the size of a universe is still a prison. And it is every prisoner’s duty to escape.

Vows are powerful things, he said. They set things in motion.

I can't wait to get my memory back. It sounds like I am a really cool person.

The pride of young men requires that they seem wise, despite their inexperience, and the only way to appear all-knowing without going to the tedium of acquiring knowledge, is to hold all knowledge in weary-seeming contempt.

All medieval and classic cultures of the ancient world, including those on which Tolkien modeled his elves, routinely exposed their young and marriageable women to the fortunes of war, because bearing and raising the next generation of warriors is not needed for equality-loving elves.
Equality-loving elves. Who are monarchists. With a class system. Of ranks.


Liu Cixin

No, emptiness is not nothingness. Emptiness is a type of existence. You must use this existential emptiness to fill yourself.

Weakness and ignorance are not barriers to survival, but arrogance is.

It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.

To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.

Your lack of fear is based on your ignorance.

I’m a simple man without a lot of complicated twists and turns. Look down my throat and you can see out my ass.

Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains.

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds other life—another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people. An eternal threat that any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out. This is the picture of cosmic civilization. It’s the explanation for the Fermi Paradox.


Katherine Addison

He remembered the moment when his thoughts had inverted themselves—that shift from not being able to please everyone to not trying—and the way that change had enabled him to see past the maneuverings and histrionics of the representatives to the deeper structures of the problem; it was the same with the Corazhas.

The reminder that other lives had tragedies without reference to his own was both salutary and painful.

Yes, but one cannot prevent change simply by wishing it not to happen.

And she has always gotten very angry at people who won’t play the roles she puts them in.

You are very decisive in your indecision.

She would not be what she is if she had ever had something given her that was a burden equal to her strength.


Daniel Polansky

It’s a dangerous thing, pretense. A man ought to know who he is, even if he isn’t proud to be it.

The dangerous men were still asleep, their blades sheathed next to their beds. The really dangerous men had been up for hours, and their quills and ledgers were getting hard use.

I’ve heard people speak of themselves as addicted to reading, but I think those people never stole from their family so they could afford this month’s serial, or sucked off a sailor for a new book of short stories.

For a while a person is a junkie and a bartender or a junkie and a father or a junkie and a thief, but after a while he’s just a junkie.

Thus far, the best that could be said for the day was that it was half over.

I remember the lightning in the air, and the lovers bidding goodbye to each other in the streets, and I can tell you what I think. We went to war because going to war is fun, because there's something in the human breast that trills at the thought, although perhaps not the reality, of murdering its fellows in vast numbers. Fighting a war ain't fun - fighting a war is pretty miserable. But starting a war? Hell, starting a war is better than a night floating on daeva's honey.


Naomi Novik

You intolerable lunatic, he snarled at me, and then he caught my face between his hands and kissed me.

If you don't want a man dead, don't bludgeon him over the head repeatedly.

Truth didn’t mean anything without someone to share it with; you could shout truth into the air forever, and spend your life doing it, if someone didn’t come and listen.

And I wasn't old enough to be wise, so I loved her more, not less, because I knew she would be taken from me soon.

What an unequaled gift for disaster you have.

I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on.

I was a glaring blot on the perfection. But I didn't care: I didn't feel I owed him beauty.

We're meant to go. We're not meant to stay forever.

I don't want more sense! I said loudly, beating against the silence of the room. Not if sense means I'll stop loving anyone. What is there besides people that's worth holding on to?


Charlie Jane Anders

You know... no matter what you do, people are going to expect you to be someone you're not. But if you're clever and lucky and work your butt off, then you get to be surrounded by people who expect you to be the person you wish you were.

Society is the choice between freedom on someone else’s terms and slavery on yours.

A society that has to burn witches to hold itself together is a society that has already failed, and just doesn't know it yet.

Boredom is the mind’s scar tissue.

Self-awareness paradoxically requires an awareness of the other.

I am unflappable,” Laurence told the bus driver. Who shrugged, as if he’d thought so too, once upon a time, until someone had flapped him.

We don’t need better emotional communication from machines. We need people to have more empathy. The reason the Uncanny Valley exists is because humans created it to put other people into. It’s how we justify killing each other.

When the world turns chaotic, we must be the better part of chaos.


Becky Chambers

Ninety percent of all problems are caused by people being assholes.
What causes the other ten percent? asked Kizzy.
Natural disasters, said Nib.

All you can do, Rosemary – all any of us can do – is work to be something positive instead. That is a choice that every sapient must make every day of their life. The universe is what we make of it. It’s up to you to decide what part you will play.

We cannot blame ourselves for the wars our parents start. Sometimes the very best thing we can do is walk away.

I can wait for the galaxy outside to get a little kinder.

People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.

The people we remember are the ones who decided how our maps should be drawn. Nobody remembers who built the roads.

No sapient could sustain happiness all of the time, just as no one could live permanently within anger, or boredom, or grief.


Ada Palmer

Is it not miraculous, reader, the power of the mind to believe and not believe at once?

Books, even made-up stories, can't all have happy endings because they reflect the real world, and the real world isn't always happy.

Oh, miraculous chameleon, science, who can reverse your doctrine hourly and never shake our faith! What cult ever battered by this world of doubt can help but envy you?

What we choose means more than what is handed to us by chance.

Celibacy is the most extreme of sexual perversions, after all.

We all imagine happy endings to such books, pick out the page, the paragraph, in which we would step in and pluck the innocents to safety.

Now, the penis is round, and the anus is round, while the vagina’s opening is long and narrow; clearly then Nature designed the penis to fit into the anus, not into the vagina.

As Machiavelli observed, Rome showed, tyrant after tyrant, how those reared in palatine luxury, expecting to be master of the world, basely abused the godlike authority that fell to them unearned, while those promoted through merit—Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius—made judicious use of the Imperium of which they considered themselves, not owners, but custodians. It is not power that corrupts, but the belief that it is yours.


Kim Stanley Robinson

It was that sort of sleep in which you wake every hour and think to yourself that you have not been sleeping at all; you can remember dreams that are like reflections, daytime thinking slightly warped.

That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.

You can't get any movement larger than five people without including at least one fucking idiot.

Economics was like psychology, a pseudoscience trying to hide that fact with intense theoretical hyperelaboration. And gross domestic product was one of those unfortunate measurement concepts, like inches or the British thermal unit, that ought to have been retired long before.

Beauty is power and elegance, right action, form fitting function, intelligence, and reasonability. And very often expressed in curves.

We all have 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 else knows these lives. Consciousness is solitary. Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.


Yoon Ha Lee

The problem with authority is that if you leave it lying around, others will take it away from you.

All communication is manipulation, Jedao said. You’re a mathematician. You should know that from information theory.

In space there are no seasons, and this is as true of the ships that cross the distances between humanity's far-flung homes. But we measure our seasons anyway: by a smile, a silence, a song.

But then, war is about taking the future away from people.

The silence could have swallowed a star.

I’m not a linguist, but do you ever think there’s something wrong with the things we do and don’t have words for?

There are too many shapes of love to be counted. One of them is forgiveness.

She said you are not the sum of your loyalties, you are the sum of your choices.

What was a shadow, after all, but a shape in the moving world reduced to a projection of possibilities?

The point of war is to rig the deck, drug the opponent, and threaten to kneecap their family if they don't fold.