Poul Anderson

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
Poul Anderson

Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926July 31, 2001) was a prominent American science fiction author who wrote during a Golden Age of the genre. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy.


  • You know what they say about bold spacemen never becoming old spacemen.
    • "Garden in the Void" (1952)
  • Better a life like a falling star, brief bright across the dark, than the long, long waiting of the immortals, loveless and cheerlessly wise.
    • The Broken Sword (1954)
  • A man isn't really alive till he has something bigger than himself and his own little happiness, for which he'd gladly die.
    • "Ghetto" (1954)
  • We're mortal - which is to say, we're ignorant, stupid, and sinful - but those are only handicaps. Our pride is that nevertheless, now and then, we do our best. A few times we succeed. What more dare we ask for?
    • Ensign Flandry (1966)
  • We live with our archetypes, but can we live in them?
    • "The Fatal Fulfillment" (Short Story), March 1970. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Timidity can be as dangerous as rashness.
    • "The Saturn Game" (1981)

Harvest of Stars (1993)[edit]

  • "I've heard assorted rhapsodies about humankind going to the stars, of course. Who hasn't? Each of them founders on the practical problems."
    "The fish that first ventured ashore had considerable practical problems."
    • Ch. 40
  • Light fills the air, wind is aglow, drink of it, breathe of it, make leafing.
    Rainfall sows itself, it grows down through soil to the secret places where stones abide; it brings the strength of them up rootward.
    Lie still, molder away, then be again grass.
    • Ch. 55
  • Anybody can find infinite Mandelbrot figures in his navel.
    • Ch. 60
  • All those agonizing philosophical-theological conundrums amount to "Ask a silly question, get a silly answer."
    • Ch. 63

Poul Anderson: Fifty Years of Science Fiction (1997)[edit]

"Poul Anderson: Fifty Years of Science Fiction," Locus Magazine (April 1997)
  • I wrote the first book, Harvest of Stars, and as I was writing it, I saw that certain implications had barely been touched on... It's perfectly obvious that two completely revolutionary things are going on, with cybernetics, and biological science.
  • In Harvest of Stars, there is this notion, not original with me of course, that it will become possible to download at least the basic aspects of a human personality into a machine program...
  • So much American science fiction is parochial -- not as true now as it was years ago, but the assumption is one culture in the future, more or less like ours, and with the same ideals, the same notions of how to do things, just bigger and flashier technology. Well, you know darn well it doesn't work that way...


  • I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
    • Often referred to as Anderson's Law.
    • Cited in:
      • Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling by Harold Kerzner. Google Books. Accessed September 5, 2009.
      • Checkland, P.B. (1985). Formulating problems in Systems Analysis. In: Miser, H. J. and Quade E. S. (eds.) (1985). Handbook of Systems Analysis: Overview of Uses, Procedures, Applications, and Practice. Chapter 5, pp. 151-170. North-Holland, New York.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: