Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941, in Mobile, Alabama) is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.
In the Ocean of Night (1977)
- Disintegration of structure equals information loss.
- The Snark, a member of a machine-intelligence civilization, p. 195
- Organic forms are in the universe of things and also reside in the universe of essences. There we cannot go. … You are a spontaneous product of the universe of things. We are not. This seems to give you … windows. It was difficult for me to monitor your domestic transmissions, they fill up with branches, spontaneous paths, nuances…
- The Snark, p. 195
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Bantom Books
- They will do anything for the worker, except become one.
- Chapter 5 (p. 46, concerning the peers)
- “The peers just fill the air with their speeches.”
“And from what I've seen, vice versa.”
- Chapter 5 (p. 46)
- Only fools get to join.
- Chapter 10 (p. 110, concerning the nuclear club)
- At least being prosperous set one apart in England; here it guaranteed nothing, not even taste.
- Chapter 11 (p. 134, concerning the USA)
- Everybody feels he has a right to a life of luxury — or at least comfort — so there’s a lot of frustration and resentment when the dream craps out.
- Chapter 11 (p. 136)
- Yes, perhaps that was it. For decades now the picture of the world painted by the scientists had become strange, distant, unbelievable. Far easier, then, to ignore it than try to understand. Things were too complicated. Why bother? Turn on the telly, luv. Right.
- Chapter 11 (p. 146)
- It was an example of what he thought of as the Law of Controversy: Passion was inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.
- Chapter 14 (p. 182, known as Benford's law of controversy)
- To shine is better than to reflect.
- Chapter 16 (p. 220)
- All right, he thought, so the details were not perfect. But maybe, in a sense, that was part of the magic, too.
- Chapter 16 (p. 229)
- There was something about such reflex stupidity that never failed to irritate him.
- Chapter 17 (p. 231)
- “One of the laws of nature,” Gordon said, “is that half the people have got to be below average.”
”For a Gaussian distribution, yeah,” Cooper said. “Sad, though.”
- Chapter 17 (p. 234)
- (Crank theories) always violated the first rule of a scientific model: they were uncheckable.
- Chapter 17 (p. 235)
- Somehow to them, the press was always the judge of things scientific.
- Chapter 17 (p. 236, concerning cranks)
- “Free will again,” Cathy said.
“Or free won’t,” Peterson said mildly.
- Chapter 23 (p. 291)
- If you were damned certain you weren’t looking for something, there was a very good chance you wouldn’t see it.
- Chapter 25 (p. 305)
- Religions do not teach doubt.
- Chapter 27 (p. 322)
- You had to form for yourself a lucid language for the world, to overcome the battering of experience, to replace everyday life’s pain and harshness and wretched dreariness with — no not with certainty but with an ignorance you could live with. Deep ignorance, but still a kind that knew its limits. The limits were crucial.
- Chapter 31 (p. 360)
- No matter how much you plan for it, the real thing seems curiously, well, unreal.
- Chapter 37 (p. 395)
- It was getting the results that made science worth doing; the accolades were a thin, secondary pleasure.
- Chapter 39 (p. 411)
- The personal was, compared with the tides of great nations, a bothersome detail.
- Chapter 43 (p. 441)
- Modern economics and the welfare state borrowed heavily on the future.
- Chapter 43 (p. 445)
- Science is like literature, a continuing dialog among diverse and conflicting voices, no one ever wholly right or wholly wrong, but a steady conversation forever provisional and personal and living.
- Afterword (p. 498)
Foundation's Fear (1997)
- Any technology that does not appear magical is insufficiently advanced.
- This is derived from the third of Arthur C. Clarke's three laws : "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." There are other variants which had inverted this including one known as Gehm's corrollary, published several years earlier : "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced." The earliest variant seems to be "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology." It has been called "Niven's Law" and attributed to Larry Niven by some, and to Terry Pratchett by others, but without any citation of an original source in either case — the earliest occurrence yet located is an anonymous one in Keystone Folklore (1984) by the Pennsylvania Folklore Society.