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Alastair Reynolds

“Are you sharpness personified?” Khouri poured herself a few final sips of coffee and then left the rest of it on the stove for when she got back. Coffee was her only vice, one acquired in her soldiering days on the Edge. The trick was to reach a knife-edge of alertness, but not be so buzzing that she could not point the weapon without shaking. “I think I’ve reduced the amount of blood in my caffeine system to an acceptable level, if that’s what you mean.”Chapter 2 p. 27.
Alastair Reynolds self
“It’s all in the fine print. You should read it sometime.” “When I’m gripped by existential boredom,” Khouri said, “I might try it.”Chapter 2 p. 51.
Alastair Reynolds time
She wondered if she could put a dart in his eye. It would not kill him, but it might take the edge off his cockiness.Chapter 2 p. 59.
Alastair Reynolds art
The new regime which had succeeded his after the coup had become as fragmentary as the old, in the time-honoured way of all revolutions.Chapter 3 p. 61.
Alastair Reynolds time
“You can hardly blame them.” “Assuming stupidity is an inherited trait, then no, I can’t.”Chapter 3 p. 67.
Alastair Reynolds you
“How long have we been friends, Dan?” “I wouldn’t exactly call it friendship; more a kind of mutual parasitism.”Chapter 7 p. 166.
Alastair Reynolds friendship
I was going to call it a mistake, but you could argue that there are no mistakes in war, only fortunate and less fortunate events.Chapter 10 p. 220.
Alastair Reynolds war
It seemed that she had not so much misjudged the woman as assigned her to completely the wrong species.Chapter 14 p. 316.
Alastair Reynolds man
“A splendidly inept thing,” Sylveste said, nodding despite himself. “What?” “The human capacity for grief. It just isn’t capable of providing an adequate emotional response once the dead exceed a few dozen in number. And it doesn’t just level off—it just gives up, resets itself to zero. Admit it. None of us feel a damn about these people.”Chapter 15 p. 323.
Alastair Reynolds people
“You look older, son.” “Yes, well, some of us have to get on with the business of being alive in the entropic universe.”Chapter 16 p. 332.
Alastair Reynolds business
“I don’t know.” That was typical Sajaki; like all the genuinely clever people Sylveste had met he knew better than to feign understanding where none existed.Chapter 18 p. 357.
Alastair Reynolds people
For whatever reason, I am now fully conscious. Perhaps all beta-levels are capable of this, or perhaps my sheer connectional complexity ensured that I exceeded some state of critical mass. I have no idea. All I know is that I think, and therefore I’m exceedingly angry.Chapter 18 p. 364.
Alastair Reynolds hate
“I don’t like this at all,” Hegazi said. “Believe me,” Sylveste said, “you’re about to like it a lot less.”Chapter 18 p. 370.
Alastair Reynolds believe
“Haven’t you ever heard of morale-building?” Khouri had asked. “Heard of it,” Volyova said. “Don’t happen to agree with it. Would you rather be happy and dead, or scared and alive?”Chapter 19 p. 381.
Alastair Reynolds happy
She had almost dared ask, but was perhaps too fearful of hearing something she could not refute.Chapter 23 p. 424.
Alastair Reynolds fear
The mere fact that there could be danger in this is fascination in itself; almost an incentive to push further. That’s how you feel, isn’t it? Every argument they could use against you would only strengthen your resolve. Because knowledge makes you hungry, and it’s a hunger you can’t resist, even if you know that what you’re feasting on could kill you.Chapter 26 p. 452.
Alastair Reynolds knowledge
“I imagine you feel insignificant,” Sajaki said, almost as if he had been listening in on the conversation. “Well; you’re justified in feeling that way. You are insignificant. That’s the majesty of this place. Would you choose it any other way?”Chapter 34 p. 523.
Alastair Reynolds you
Khouri did not need to be told that Hades was a neutron star, any more than she needed to be told that there was no such thing as a safe close encounter with one. You either kept away or you died; those were the rules, and there was no force in the universe capable of negating them. Gravity ruled, and gravity did not take into account circumstances, or the unfairness of things, or listen to eleventh-hour petitions before reluctantly repealing its laws. Gravity crushed, and near the surface of a neutron star gravity crushed absolutely, until diamond flowed like water; until a mountain collapsed into a millionth of its height.Chapter 37 p. 554.
Alastair Reynolds universe
I learnt the true meaning of what was euphemistically described as close-quarters combat. No line-of-sight particle-beam weapons now; no delayed-detonation nano-munitions. What close-quarters combat meant was something which would have been infinitely more recognisable to a soldier of a thousand years earlier: the screaming fury of human beings packed so close together that the only effective way to kill each other was with sharpened metal weapons: bayonets and daggers, or with hands around each other’s throats; fingers pressed into each other’s eye-sockets. The only way to survive was to disengage all higher brain-functions and regress to an animal state of mind. So I did. And in doing so, I learned a deeper truth about war. She punished those who flirted with her by making them like herself. Once you opened the door to the animal, there was no shutting it.Chapter 7 p. 108.
Alastair Reynolds truth
“Don’t you agree with me?” “On some distant theoretical level, just possibly.”Chapter 12 p. 177.
Alastair Reynolds you
Who was it who said that a wise man speaks when he has something to say, but a fool speaks because he must?Chapter 12 p. 197.
Alastair Reynolds man
“But you can be sure there are pockets of wealth and influence, and I’m willing to wager that a few people are wealthier and more influential than they were before.” “That’s always the way with disasters,” I said. “What?” “They’re never bad news for everyone. Something nasty always rises to the top.”Chapter 13 p. 208.
Alastair Reynolds people
The one thing I never counted on was having luck on my side. It was generally simpler that way.Chapter 13 p. 209.
Alastair Reynolds luck
“Besides—we all know guns don’t kill people,do they?” “No, it’s the small metal projectiles that generally do the killing,” Cahuella said, smiling.Chapter 19 p. 315.
Alastair Reynolds people
Evolution doesn’t greatly care about what happens to creatures once they’ve passed on their genetic heritage.Chapter 20 p. 332.
Alastair Reynolds evolution
“I gather you were all too busy killing each other.” “That’s a fairly reductive summary of our history, but I don’t suppose it’s too far from the truth.”Chapter 21 p. 359.
Alastair Reynolds truth
The poor didn’t have them and so the rich flaunted them, the larger and more conspicuous the better.Chapter 25 p. 406.
Alastair Reynolds poor
“I don’t trust you.” “Of course you don’t. I know I wouldn’t. And I’m not asking you to. I’m not putting you in a situation in which your trust of me is even remotely relevant. I’m just pointing a gun to your head and giving you orders.”Chapter 26 p. 424.
Alastair Reynolds trust
“Tanner, are you insane?” “Very probably several kinds of insane,” I said. “But I’m afraid it doesn’t change anything. I’m perfectly happy with my current delusional system.”Chapter 27 p. 454.
Alastair Reynolds change
“That’s how it went, wasn’t it Zebra?” “It might,” she said. “If I happened to be colluding in your own delusions.”Chapter 29 p. 479.
Alastair Reynolds you
“Is there anyone in Chasm City she hasn’t deceived?” “Possibly, somewhere, but only as an extreme theoretical possibility.”Chapter 29 p. 481.
Alastair Reynolds possibility
By and large these attempts to rewrite history were not taken seriously, but it was disconcerting to hear that they had gained even a toehold.Chapter 30 p. 490.
Alastair Reynolds history
Just because something had spawned a myth did not automatically mean it had to contain anything of substance.Chapter 33 p. 531.
Alastair Reynolds myth
“Don’t tell me you aren’t the slightest bit curious, Norquinco.” “I hope you burn in hell, Sky Haussmann.” “I’ll take that as a yes.”Chapter 35 p. 562.
Alastair Reynolds hope
“Is there anyone or anything in this city which can’t be bought?” I said, slipping him a note. “Yeah,” the man said, laughing quietly. “But I’m not it.”Chapter 39 p. 634.
Alastair Reynolds man
“Until recently we were a trio. Before that, a quartet. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m beginning to detect a trend.”Chapter 1 p. 1
Alastair Reynolds art
“I thought debate was supposed to be healthy,” she countered. “It is,” Auger replied, “so long as you don’t disagree with me.”Chapter 2 p. 17
Alastair Reynolds health
As always, it was necessary to strike a balance between a cavalier disregard for the rules and a professional understanding that some rules were more flexible than others.Chapter 2 p. 19
Alastair Reynolds understanding
Charm was what he excelled at. If anyone sensed his underlying shallowness, they usually mistook it for well-hidden great depth of character, like misinterpreting a radar bounce.Chapter 4 p. 42
Alastair Reynolds character
“The Fascists got what they deserved,” Floyd said. “My husband lived long enough to see those monsters come to come to power. He saw through their lies and promises, but he also knew that they spoke to something nasty and squalid in the human spirit. Something in all of us. We want to hate those who are not like us. All we need is an excuse, a whisper in the ear.”Chapter 9 p. 135
Alastair Reynolds power
“Maybe it’s not as bad as she fears. Old people always think the world is going to ruin. It’s their job.” “Maybe they’re right,” Floyd replied.Chapter 9 p. 138
Alastair Reynolds fear
“There’s a catch,” Skellsgard said. “Another one? But of course there is. You know, I’m thinking I should start a collection.”Chapter 11 p. 171
Alastair Reynolds art
“The central defect of the human mind,” Custine said, “is its unfortunate habit of seeing patterns where none exist. Of course, that is also its chief asset.” “But sometimes a very dangerous one.”Chapter 12 p. 178
Alastair Reynolds time
Why was it never good news that put problems into perspective? Why did it always take another set of problems?Chapter 14 p. 219
Alastair Reynolds good
“It must be a real one-horse town.” Auger shook her head as she lit a cigarette. “It has wild ambitions of becoming a one-horse town.”Chapter 15 p. 242
Alastair Reynolds wild
She must have walked through life with men like him falling at her feet, squashing them underfoot like autumn leaves. It probably happened so often that all she noticed was that nice crunching sound.Chapter 21 p. 357
Alastair Reynolds life
“I’ll survive,” Floyd said. “I’m a private detective. If I don’t get clouted on the head at least once a week, I’m not doing my job properly.”Chapter 24 p. 392
Alastair Reynolds job
“Is that as bad as it sounds?” Floyd asked. “No,” Auger said. “It’s worse. A lot worse.”Chapter 30 p. 466
Alastair Reynolds bad
The future might have been crammed with miracles and wonders, but it also offered truly awesome opportunities for screwing up.Chapter 30 p. 467
Alastair Reynolds future
Anxiety is a useful tool: it forces us to make plans. But when too much anxiety freezes us into indecision, it needs checking.Chapter 33 p. 506
Alastair Reynolds anxiety
No one ever took music away from me, but I’m damned if it ever sounds quite as good as it used to when I was twenty.Chapter 36 p. 555
Alastair Reynolds music
“I feel as if I’m missing all the excitement.” ”In my experience,” Tunguska said, making himself a temporary seat, “excitement is always better when it happens to other people.”Chapter 36 p. 561
Alastair Reynolds people
“But at least you cared. At least you were ready to do something.” “This little mess,” Auger said, “is all because of people who were ready to do something. People like me, who always know when they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Maybe what we need is a few less of us.”Chapter 36 pp. 565-566
Alastair Reynolds people
The simple fact was that she no longer hated them as a matter of principle. It was also a source of shameful amazement that she could ever have wasted so much energy on groundless prejudice, when acceptance and tolerance would have been the easier, even the lazier, course.Chapter 36 p. 567
Alastair Reynolds men
But when she tried to say something, the words always seemed trite and inadequate. Nothing measured up. When any moment might be their last, there was nothing she could ever imagine saying that had the necessary dignity to fill that instant. Silence was better. Silence had its own dignity.Chapter 37 p. 573
Alastair Reynolds words
Auger could not help marvelling at the experience of being inside the ALS sphere and seeing her world as it should have been. This was an earth that had never known nuclear war, or runaway climatic catastrophe, or smart weather, or a Nanocaust. The sight of it made her want to weep. No image had ever come close to the heartbreaking beauty of this small blue world, a beauty all the more acute now that she knew how exquisitely fragile it was. It was the beauty of a butterfly’s wing.Chapter 40 pp. 596-597
Alastair Reynolds war
There was something about the cocksure confidence of that statement that gave Auger goose pimples. It was like an invitation to fate.Chapter 40 p. 599
Alastair Reynolds men
I guess I’ll do what everyone else does: get on with my life and forget the big questions.Chapter 41 p. 606
Alastair Reynolds life
To be remembered at all is an achievement of sorts.
Alastair Reynolds men
Weve had science fiction novels where China is dominant; weve had novels where India is dominant, and I suppose its all about getting away from that cliched old tired idea that the future belongs to the West.
Alastair Reynolds science
Nightside, cities glistened in chains, and a spray of tinkertoy habitats girdled the planet. Gossamer starbridges reached from the equator towards orbit.
Alastair Reynolds war
To see something marvelous with your own eyes-thats wonderful enough. But when two of you see it, two of you together, holding hands, holding each other close, knowing that youll both have that memory for the rest of your lives, but that each of you will only ever hold only have an incomplete half of it, and that it wont ever really exist as a whole until youre together, talking or thinking about that moment ...thats worth more than one plus one. Its worth four, or eight, or some number so large we cant even imagine it.
Alastair Reynolds men
The cards always look different when its your turn to play them; loaded with subtly different possibilities.
Alastair Reynolds you
The human capacity for grief. It just isnt capable of providing an adequate emotional response once the dead exceed a few dozen in number. And it doesnt just level off - it just gives up, resets itself to zero.
Alastair Reynolds grief
How did you . . . pass the time?’ Sunday asked. ‘You couldn’t just ching out of it, could you?’ ‘We had a different form of chinging,’ Eunice said. ‘An earlier type of virtual-reality technology, much more robust and completely unaffected by time lag. You may have heard of it. We called it “reading”.
Alastair Reynolds time
Enjoy it, kid. Enjoy feeling that you can make a difference. Floyd flashed him a smile. It wont last for ever.
Alastair Reynolds joy
As the old saying went, the Manhattan Project wasnt built in a day. Or was that Rome? Something to do with Earth, anyway.
Alastair Reynolds art
Victory loses its meaning without the memory of what youve vanquished.
Alastair Reynolds memory
Its an ancient technique known as lying, Khouri.
Alastair Reynolds lying
Autocratic governments are masters of self-contradiction. They say one thing, do another.
Alastair Reynolds men
Without risk in our lives, were scarcely better than machines ourselves.
Alastair Reynolds live
I really struggle to pinpoint whether I became a scientist because I like science fiction, or did I gravitate to science fiction because I identified strongly with scientists.
Alastair Reynolds science
You worry that were becoming monsters. Merlin, we already were monsters. You didnt make us any worse.
Alastair Reynolds you
At one time, the treatment for a certain kind of psychosis had been to push an ice pick up through the orbit of the eye, into the frontal lobe; the ice pick was then stirred around until it reduced the problematic brain tissue to non-functioning porridge.
Alastair Reynolds time
It’s the people who don’t worry—those who never have any doubts that what they’re doing is good and right—they’re the ones that cause the problems.
Alastair Reynolds people
I think Ive reduced the amount of blood in my caffeine system to an acceptable level.
Alastair Reynolds think
It looked like a biology lesson for gods, or a snapshot of the kind of pornography which might be enjoyed by sentient planets.
Alastair Reynolds god
A citys only ever three hot meals away from anarchy.
Alastair Reynolds anarchy
When youre writing stuff thats already clotted with neologisms and trying to get across fairly abstruse concepts, youre already putting a heavy burden on the reader.
Alastair Reynolds writing
When I look back at many of the moments of wonder, awe, or terror that Ive got from science fiction, its often been because Ive been put in the head of one of the characters.
Alastair Reynolds science
I always say that keeping abreast of science should never be seen as a chore. It should be something you do naturally. I dont sit there reading New Scientist, putting post-it notes next to ideas.
Alastair Reynolds science
I am playing in a playground thats already been played in. I am always aware that a lot of the furniture in science fiction is second hand.
Alastair Reynolds science
I couldnt ever write a straight crime novel: thered be an intrusion of weirdness at some point.
Alastair Reynolds novel
If theres a story I absolutely cannot tell without faster-than-light travel, then I am quite prepared to accept it - even though I dont personally believe it is possible.
Alastair Reynolds travel
Im always a little bit cautious around invented terminology because so much science fiction is off-putting to the uninitiated. You open up the first page, and its full of all these made-up words.
Alastair Reynolds science
Im not a morning person: I cant function until Ive had a coffee - or several.
Alastair Reynolds coffee
Im still bothered by the threat of nuclear war.
Alastair Reynolds war
Im fascinated by steam engines and with Victorian engineering generally, and as a corollary to that, Im fascinated by the idea of long-lived technologies.
Alastair Reynolds live
Im not massively fond of right-wing nutters or war criminals.
Alastair Reynolds war
I prioritise story over science, but not at the expense of being really stupid about it.
Alastair Reynolds science
I think I set myself on a course to become a scientist around about the time that Carl Sagans Cosmos series was on television, and there really was no going back for me at that point, and then I went on to study space science and then get my Ph.D., then go aboard and work in the European Space Agency.
Alastair Reynolds science
I think the danger with using the term trilogy is that it sets up particular expectations in the readers mind.
Alastair Reynolds art
I was never strong at maths, but I eventually got onto a university physics/astronomy course, and that led on to my Ph.D. and eventual employment.
Alastair Reynolds men
One of the big breakthroughs I had as a writer was when I stopped agonising over every word.
Alastair Reynolds sin
Ive never had much interest in spinoffery - the idea of writing in someone elses universe generally leaves me cold - but Doctor Who is different. Ive grown up with it. Its been part of my life since I was tiny, watching Jon Pertwee on a grainy black and white television in Cornwall and being terrified out of my mind.
Alastair Reynolds life

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