Natural History (2003)
- All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published by Bantam Books
- “So, you’re saying you have no idea what this stuff is.” At last, something that sounded plausible.
- Chapter 2 “Isol and Corvax” (p. 29)
- Delirium, dream, death—Three-D. What was the fourth?
- Chapter 3 “Uluru” (p. 45)
- What’s the point of history, if it has nothing to say to the present?
- Chapter 5 “Ancient History” (p. 56)
- You could try and breed territoriality out of the bone, but like a bad fairy it popped up again and again in all sorts of guises and from all kinds of DNA. As long as there was plenty, then everyone was happy to pay culture its due, but as soon as there was trouble—bang, out came the demonization memes and, lo and behold, they were back to the Dark Ages faster than you could say “mattock.”
- Chapter 8 “Briefing” (p. 101)
- Life did what it did, purposelessly, and only humans strove to impose a meaning where no meaning was needed. She viewed herself as random flotsam upon the face of the deep. Without a religious foundation, she wasn’t bothered by any questions of an insult to God or the hubris of Prometheus that might have arisen.
- Chapter 8 “Briefing” (p. 103)
- I love to live vicariously, in a book or a holo, but I think I can stand one dose of reality before it’s my time.
- Chapter 10 “Idlewild” (p. 128)
- Gritter thought it was about time the complacent louts at the top of the heap got to have a genuine red-hot poker up the ass.
- Chapter 21 “The Big Debate” (p. 219)
- It is the rare person who can stand aside and observe that our minds and identities are largely constructs of our social order, that we are abstract and arbitrary collections of ideas that resemble dusty archives in the galleries of a museum, visited by nobody, and maintained by a series of those insensible robots that are our habits.
- Chapter 25 “Tom Who Built the Aeroplane” (pp. 254-255)
- The gun is a consequence of our minds. If we were in love with peace, and had no will to destroy each other, there would be no gun.
- Chapter 28 “Tom Speaks” (p. 291)
- So she might die here—well, she could have died anywhere, so who cared where? That didn’t interest her. Life and mystery, that interested her. Perhaps she would have been keener on death and its processes if she’d had a religious side, but to her the religions of the ages were all mixed up in her head, a ceaselessly overworked agglutination of thousands of years of responding to the fears she didn’t possess.
- Chapter 30 “Communication Failure” (p. 301)
- On the other hand...why was there always an “other hand”?
- Chapter 31 “Swallowing Hard on It” (p. 314)