Monday, January 06, 2014

Notable Quotables

While plowing through e-books I'll regularly highlight portions that I find clever.  Below are a few quotes that I'm pulling from my various e-readers.

In the book The Forever War a space marine recounts his first encounter with the extraterrestrials that he's tasked with fighting:
I didn't want to see them dead, but I'd just as soon not have seen them in any condition.
An interesting metaphor to be sure; I'm sure troops sent to Africa carry a similar train of thought!

In a passage in Martian Time Slip PKD predicts the dawn of academic "paper chasing" wherein people become more and more educated for more and more menial work (keep in mind the book was written in 1964):
He himself had emigrated due to his having only a B.A.  Every door had been shut to him, and then he had come to Mars as nothing but a union plumber, and within a few short years, look at him.  On Earth, a plumber with only a B.A. would be raking up dead locusts in Africa as part of a U.S. foreign aid work gang.
Only those with their PhDs in plumbing will be accepted!

In Metro 2033 the protagonist who lives in a post-apocalyptic Moscow metro system, comes to the realization that mankind will never reach the heights that he once had:
Only now did he start to sense how far man now was from his former achievements and conquests.  Like a proud soaring bird, mortally wounded and dropping to the ground in order to hide in a crevice and, having concealed itself there, dies quietly....
Now, when Artyom himself was able to evaluate from what heights mankind had fallen into the precipice, his faith in a beautiful future evaporated once and for all.
One does not have to survive a nuclear war to have that opinion.  I'm sure inhabitants of Europe during the dark ages didn't have that different of an attitude.
Within the Metro system in the book are various factions which adhere to every ideology under the sun. The most successful and enviable clan is the one that controls the ring and when the protagonist, who had survived fascists, cultists, communists and other near-do-wells comes in contact with this clan it turns out to be controlled by a clan which espouses free markets and individual success.  This clan is careful to keep its success close to the vest and is leery of letting anyone in, to which the protagonist remarks in regard to immigration:
The number of places in paradise is limited; only in hell is entry open to all.
In the book Roadside Picnic a comment is made in regards to the inevitability of the types of "trades" that some men fall into:
Pigs can always find mud.
Elsewhere in the book a comment is made in regards to the deviation to ignorance (or more kindly, "normalcy bias") that the vast majority of people default to:
He knew that billions and billions didn't know a thing and didn't want to know and, even if they did find out, would act horrified for ten minutes and immediately forget all about it.
At the back of the book, the author makes some comments in regards to getting his book published.
On commie control freaks who kept the book from being published for many years:
I don't even want to mention them here-let them be swallowed up by the past, like evil spirits, and disappear...
A statement on small minded control freaks (PC zealots, I'm looking at you):
The only people who boggle at what is perfectly natural are those who are the worst swine and the finest experts in filth.  In their utterly contemptible pseudo-morality they ignore the contents and madly attack individual words.

In Starship Troopers, the character played in the movie by Michael Ironside goes on a pages long rant against communism, all of which is very good but too much to quote in full.  However, along the way he also makes some social commentary; on the failure of criminal justice, specifically in regards to juveniles:
As for 'unusual', punishment must be unusual or it serves no purpose.
On social workers:
...except that the time-tested method of instilling social virtue and respect for law in the minds of the young did not appeal to the pre-scientific pseudo-professional class who called themselves 'social workers' or sometimes 'child psychologists.'  It was too simple for them, apparently, since anybody could do it, using only the patience and firmness needed in training a puppy.
What inspired this post was an excellent line from the PKD novel Counter-Clock World:
I mean, we all lie to ourselves; we tell our own selves more lies than we ever do other people. 

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