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- You don't think progress goes in a straight line, do you? Do you recognize that it is an ascending. accelerating, maybe even exponential curve? It takes Hell's own time to get started, but when it goes it goes like a bomb.
- "Day Million" (1966), collected in Day Million (1970)
- Advertising reaches out to touch the fantasy part of people's lives. And you know, most people's fantasies are pretty sad.
- The Way The Future Was, (autobiography, 1978)
- Anyway, that's what life is, just one learning experience after another, and when you're through with all the learning experiences you graduate and what you get for a diploma is, you die.
- Gateway (1978)
- When you spend weeks on end close to another person, so close that you know every hiccough, every smell and every scratch on the skin, you either come out of it hating each other or so deep in each other's gut that you can't find a way out. Klara and I were both. Our little love affair had turned into a Siamese-twin relationship. There wasn't any romance in it. There wasn't room enough between us for romance to occur. And yet I knew every inch of Klara, every pore, and every thought, far better than I'd known my own mother. And in the same way: from the womb out. I was surrounded by Klara.
- Gateway (1978)
- When my mother died and left me it hurt, but I was poor and confused and used to hurting. When the love of my life, or at any rate the woman who seemed to come to be the love of my life after she was safely gone, also left me — without quite dying, because she was stuck in some awful astrophysical anomaly and far out of reach forever — that also hurt. But I was hurting all over anyway then. I wasn't used to happiness, hadn't formed the habit of it. There is a Carot's law to pain. It is measured not by absolutes, but the difference between source and ambience, and my ambience had been too safe and too pleasurable for too long to equip me for this. I was in shock.
- There is no greater dark than the dark between the stars.
- Heechee Rendezvous (1984)