Neal Stephenson

#31528 Neal Stephenson

The corporations have already planted their own bombs. All we have to do is light the fuses. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about light
#31529 Neal Stephenson

The science fiction approach doesn't mean it's always about the future; it's an awareness that this is different. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about science
#31530 Neal Stephenson

For a Westerner to trash Western culture is like criticizing our nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere on the grounds that it sometimes gets windy, and besides, Jupiter's is much prettier. You may not realize its advantages until you're trying to breathe liquid methane. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about time
#31531 Neal Stephenson

I think visual literacy and media literacy is not without value, but I think plain old-fashioned text literacy and mathematical literacy are much more powerful and flexible ways to organize your mind. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about power
#31532 Neal Stephenson

Why Baroque? Because it is set in the Baroque, and it IS baroque. Why Cycle? Because I am trying to avoid the T-word ("trilogy"). In my mind this work is something like 7 or 8 connected novels. These have been lumped together into three volumes because it is more convenient from a publishing standpoint, but they could just as well have been put all together in a single immense volume or separated into 7 or 8 separate volumes. So to slap the word "trilogy" on it would be to saddle it with a designation that is essentially bogus. Having said that, I know everyone's going to call it a trilogy anyway. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about work
#31533 Neal Stephenson

So I’m well aware that there are certain people frustrated with the endings of my books. I can remember at the time I was writing it, I told a friend of mine that the climax ofwas now longer than Moby Dick: There’s a helicopter that gets brought down; there’s a private jet that blows up; some people die; there’s confrontation and a girl goes home with her mom — so it seems like a good ending to me. [audience laughter] Once you write a book or two with controversial endings — and that meme gets going, of “Stephenson can’t write endings” — then that gets slapped on everything that you do no matter how elaborate the ending is. I thinkdoes OK on that score. I’m sure that I’ll be hearing from some of the “Stephenson can’t write endings” people, but I think that it has a decent enough ending. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about writing
#31534 Neal Stephenson

As far as culture and politics are concerned, the important theme is long-attention-span vs. short-attention-span thinking. I'm sure that your readers can think of any number of ways in which having a longer attention span can be useful. But I'll name one. Bankers with long attention spans don't lend money to people who can't pay it back. If we had more bankers who adopted a long-term view of their responsibilities, we might not be in the middle of a financial crisis that is blowing away . .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about politics
#31535 Neal Stephenson

Any strategy that involves crossing a valley—accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance—will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about world
#31536 Neal Stephenson

Now, at the little southern black college where I went to school, we had no megadorms. We were cool at the right times and academic at the right times .... Boston University, where I did my Master's ... most students had no time for sonic war, and the rest vented their humors in the city, not in the dorms. Ohio State was nicely spread out, and I lived in an apartment complex where noisy shit-for-brains undergrads were even less welcome than tweedy black bachelors. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about humor
#31537 Neal Stephenson

This is a history, in that it intends to describe what happened and suggest why. ... I may have fooled around with a few facts. But I served as witness until as close to the end as anyone could have ... and so there is not so much art in this as to make it irrelevant. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about art
#31538 Neal Stephenson

What you are about to read is not an aberration: it can happen in your local university too. The Big U, simply, was a few years ahead of the rest. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about you
#31539 Neal Stephenson

“,” I said. “The simpler the molecule, the better the drug. So the best drug is oxygen. Only two atoms. The second-best, nitrous oxide—a mere three atoms. The third-best, ethanol—nine. Past that, you’re talking lots of atoms.” “So?” “Atoms are like people. Get lots of them together, never know what they’ll do.” .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about people
#31540 Neal Stephenson

One of the problems, hanging out with me, is that I can turn any topic into a toxic horror story. I've lost two girlfriends and a job by reading an ingredients label out loud, with annotations, at the wrong time. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about time
#31541 Neal Stephenson

And I hadn't even told him the truth. Actually, the shit coming out of Basco's pipes was a hundred thousand times more concentrated than was legally allowed. ... That kind of thing goes on all the time. But no matter how many diplomas are tacked to your wall, give people a figure like that and they'll pass you off as a flake. You can't get most people to believe how wildly the eco-laws get broken, but if I say "More than twice the legal limit," they get comfortably outraged. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about truth
#31544 Neal Stephenson

It's the ultimate Boston transportation. On land…all those slow cars get in the way. There's public transit – the T — but if you're in good shape, it's usually faster to walk. Bicycles aren't bad. But on water, nothing stops you and there isn't anything important in Boston that isn't within two blocks of being wet. The harbor and the city are interlocked like wrestling squid, tentacles of water and land snaking off everywhere, slashed with bridges or canals. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about good
#31545 Neal Stephenson

In four years of work, I've idled my Zodiac down every one of its thousands of inlets, looked at every inch of its fractal coastline and found every single goddamned pipe that empties into it. Some of the pipes are big enough to park a car in and some are the size of your finger, but all of them have told their story to my gas chromatograph. And often it's the littlest pipes that cause the most damage. When I see a big huge pipe coming right out of a factory, I'm betting the pumpers have at least read the EPA regs. But when I find a tiny one, hidden below the waterline, sprouting from a mile-wide industrial carnival, I put on gloves before taking my sample. And sometimes the gloves melt. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about love
#31547 Neal Stephenson

Jim and his crew of a dozen or so specialize in loud, sloppy publicity seeking…. Myself, I like the stiletto-in-the-night approach. That's partly because I'm younger, a post-Sixties type, and partly because my thing is toxics, not nukes or mammals. … there are all kinds of direct, simple ways to go after toxic criminals. You just plug the pipes. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about art
#31548 Neal Stephenson

Most of my colleagues go on backpacking trips when they have to do some thinking. I go to a good hardware store and head for the oiliest, dustiest corners. ... If they're really good, they don't hassle me. They let me wander around and think. Young hardware clerks have a lot of hubris. They think they can help you find anything.... Old hardware clerks have learned the hard way that nothing in a hardware store ever gets bought for its nominal purpose. You buy something that was designed to do one thing, and you use it for another. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about war
#31549 Neal Stephenson

Any property that's open to common use gets destroyed. Because everyone has incentive to use it to the max, but no one has incentive to maintain it. .

Neal Stephenson
#31550 Neal Stephenson

I don't like sewing machines. I don't understand how a needle with a thread going through the tip of it can interlock the thread by jamming itself into a little goddamn spool. It's contrary to nature and it irritates me. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about god
#31551 Neal Stephenson

Talking to cancer victims never makes me feel righteous, never vindicated. It makes me slightly ill and for some reason, guilty. If people like me would just keep our mouths shut, people like him would never suspect why they got cancer. They’d chalk it up to God or probability. They wouldn't die with hearts full of venom. It is a strange world that Industry has made. Kind of a seething toxic harbor, opening out on a blue unspoiled ocean. Most people are swimming in it, and I get to float around on the surface, on my Zodiac, announcing that they're in trouble. What I really want to do is make a difference. But I'm not sure I have, yet. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about art
#31552 Neal Stephenson

"It might interest you to know that our state is tired of being used as a chemical toilet so that people in Utah can have plastic lawn furniture." "I can't believe an assistant attorney general came right out and said that." "Well, I wouldn't say it in public." .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about people
#31553 Neal Stephenson

He had a sense of irony that ruled his life, made it impossible for him to use his considerable brains in any kind of serious job. Kind of like me. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about life
#31554 Neal Stephenson

There was a white man sitting at the kitchen table, warming his hands by wrapping them around a hot cup of tea. He had kind of an oblong face, curly red hair piled on top, a close-cropped but dense red beard, shocking blue eyes that always looked wide open. He face was ruddy with the outdoors, and the way he was sitting there with that tea, he looked so calm, so centered, almost like he was in meditation. When I came in, he looked at me and smiled just a trace, without showing his teeth…" .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about war
#31555 Neal Stephenson

He was a peculiar guy. I'd never met him, just seen his picture and heard tell of him from the veterans of GEE's early days… And I’d seen him on film… sitting right underneath a five-ton container of radioactive waste, getting thrown into the sea when it was dropped on his Zodiac… And he was like that even when he wasn't working — a drunk, a bar fighter. But the guy I was looking at was totally different. Shit, he was drinking herb tea. He talked in a slow, lilting baritone murmur, he paused in the middle of sentences to make sure the grammar was right, to pick just the right word. But it wasn't a wimpy Boone I was looking at. I had to remember the action he'd just pulled off, on short notice, on my behalf…. Boone turned and looked at me with his invisible smile again. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about work
#31556 Neal Stephenson

Subtitle: "In which the hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and wondrous meatspace of three continents, chronicling the laying of the longest wire on Earth" .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about art
#31557 Neal Stephenson

Everything that has occurred in Silicon Valley in the last couple of decades also occurred in the 1850s. Anyone who thinks that wild-ass high tech venture capitalism is a late-20th-century California phenomenon needs to read about the maniacs who built the first transatlantic cable projects. The only things that have changed since then are that the stakes have gotten smaller, the process more bureaucratized, and the personalities less interesting. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about change
#31558 Neal Stephenson

Bothand the Internet were established basically for strategic military reasons. In both cases, what was built by the military was merely a kernel for a much vaster phenomenon that came along later. This kernel was really nothing more than a . If you wanted to follow those rules, you could participate, otherwise you were free to go elsewhere. Because the protocol laid down a standard way for people to interact, which was clearly set out and could be understood by anyone, it attracted smart, adaptable, ambitious people from all over the place, and at a certain point it flew completely out of control and turned into something that no one had ever envisioned: something thriving, colorful, wildly diverse, essentially peaceful, and plagued only by the congestion of its own success. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about success
#31559 Neal Stephenson

Both of them have seen many young Western men arrive here on business missions and completely lose control of their sphincters and become impediments to any kind of organized activity. Daily hired Wall because, like Daily, he is a stable family man who has his act together…and they seem to be making excellent progress toward their goal, which is to run two really expensive wires across the Malay Peninsula. They tend to be absolutely straight shooters…. Their openness would probably be career suicide in the atmosphere ofcourt-eunuch intrigue that is public life in the United States today. On the other hand, if I had an unlimited amount of money and woke up tomorrow morning with a burning desire to see a 2,000-hole , I would probably call men like Daily and Wall, do a handshake deal with them, send them a blank check, and not worry about it. .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about life
#31560 Neal Stephenson

The world has actually been wired together by digital communications systems for a century and a half. Nothing that has happened during that time compares in its impact to thein 1858. That was so impressive that a mob of celebrants poured into the streets of New York and set fire to . .

Neal Stephenson Quotes about time

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