Sheri S. Tepper

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To my mind, the expression of divinity is in variety, and the more variable the creation, the more variable the creatures that surround us, botanical and zoological, the more chance we have to learn and to see into life itself, nature itself.

Sheri Stewart Tepper (born July 16, 1929) is a prolific author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels, frequently with a feminist slant. She has written under several pseudonyms, including A. J. Orde, E. E. Horlak, and B. J. Oliphant. Her early work was published under the name Sheri S. Eberhart.

Quotes[edit]

I have always lived in a world in which I'm just a spot in history. My life is not the important point. I'm just part of the continuum, and that continuum, to me, is a marvelous thing.
Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one's own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality.
I am myself, though from moment to moment something else seems to be looking on.
People allow themselves to believe an event if it's called a miracle while disdaining the same event if it's called magic. Or vice versa.

Locus interview (1998)[edit]

"Sheri S. Tepper : Speaking to the Universe" in Locus magazine (September 1998)
  • To my mind, the expression of divinity is in variety, and the more variable the creation, the more variable the creatures that surround us, botanical and zoological, the more chance we have to learn and to see into life itself, nature itself. If we were just human beings, living in a spaceship, with an algae farm to give us food, we would not be moved to learn nearly as many things as we are moved by living on a world, surrounded by all kinds of variety. And when I see that variety being first decimated, and then halved — and I imagine in another hundred years it may be down by 90% and there'll be only 10% of what we had when I was a child — that makes me very sad, and very despairing, because we need variety. We came from that, we were born from that, it's our world, the world in which we became what we have become.
  • The only people who have the long view are some scientists and some science fiction writers. I have always lived in a world in which I'm just a spot in history. My life is not the important point. I'm just part of the continuum, and that continuum, to me, is a marvelous thing. The history of life, and the history of the planet, should go on and on and on and on. I cannot conceive of anything in the universe that has more meaning than that.

The Visitor (2002)[edit]

Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day's receipts...
Only by repudiating both devils and small gods will they ever know the Real One.
The sooner we can separate salvageable skeptics from self-righteous absolutists, the sooner we can move along.
Ignorance perpetuates itself just as knowledge does. Men write false documents, they preach false doctrine, and those beliefs survive to inspire wickedness in later generations.
  • Picture this:
    A mountain splintering the sky like a broken bone, its western precipice plummeting onto jumbled scree.
    • Ch. 1 : caigo faience, first lines
  • Long ago, the people of the world cried out for help. In the reaches of heaven their cry was heard, and a Visitor came in answer to it. The Visitor began helping immediately, but secretly. Now the visitor intends to be known to the people of the world and the people of the world must deal with that knowledge.
    • Guardian Camwar, in Ch. 4 : the cooper
  • We are to be needed, but I'm not sure for what.
    • Guardian Camwar, in Ch. 4 : the cooper
  • You asked for wisdom? Hear these words. Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one's own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality.
    • Guardian Camwar, in Ch. 4 : the cooper
  • I am myself, though from moment to moment something else seems to be looking on. Whatever will be required of me, however, can best be done if I remember who I am.
    • Guardian Camwar, in Ch. 4 : the cooper
  • We must be able to find out what really is. ... It is not enough merely to tell stories about what exists. We must go out into the world again. The sign has come. Therefore, build ships!
    • Guardian Camwar, in Ch. 4 : the cooper
  • The Regime has become so smug it can't tell the difference among the revolutionary, the innovative, or the merely various. The high command knows so little about the outside that if I came back with a fully equipped chemical laboratory and told them I'd found it in a cave, they'd probably believe that, so long as I brought it back peicmeal in my saddle bags, thus proving I hadn't known it was there beforehand.
    • Ch. 37 : leaving bastion
  • Those of us from Chasm started calling it the Visitor because that's a relatively comfortable label. It implies the stay is temporary, the the thing will go away. We think the Visitor must be part of a race of beings who live in space, though we're guessing at that. We also postulate that they hitch rides on bits of space trash that are moving somewhere, like the one that came at us. Anyhow, the Visitor is getting closer by the day.
    • Ch. 37 : leaving bastion
  • The world stopped. She was somewhere else, learning things she had no names for. She was being instructed. Nell was in abeyance. The mind she shared was full of those treasures she had always sought, the workings of the universe, the reasons and intentions of the galaxies. Time passed forever.
    • Ch. 40 : at ogre's gap
  • She knew ... everything. She had no words for what she knew. The pause became anticipatory silence. There were no words she could use for the reality and truth and understanding she had been given.
    • Ch. 40 : at ogre's gap
  • People allow themselves to believe an event if it's called a miracle while disdaining the same event if it's called magic. Or vice versa. Life arises naturally; where life is, death is, joy is, pain is. Where joy and pain are, ecstasy and horror are, all part of the pattern. They occur as night and day occur on a whirling planet. They are not individually willed into being and shot at persons like arrows. Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day's receipts…
    • Guardian Galenor in Ch 43 : various pursuits
  • I will raise up prophets to make conflicting pronouncements that inevitably will be garbled in transcription, resulting in mutually exclusive definitions of orthodoxy from which the open-minded will flee in dismay.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • Occassionally, I will do a conspicuous miracle to save one dying child while a thousand children starve elsewhere. This will convince sensible people I am perverse, and they will curse my name. Be sure to recruit those who do, they'll be invaluable. Only by repudiating both devils and small gods will they ever know the Real One.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • I will be a sham, but not a snob. I will let every man, woman, or child, no matter how greedy or wicked, claim to have a personal relationship with me. In other words, I will be as arbitrary, inconsistent, ignorant, pushy, and common as humans are, and what more have they ever wanted in a god?
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • Not many years before the Happening, one of your country's largest religious bodies officially declared that their book was holier than their God, thus simultaneously and corporately breaking several commandments of their own religion, particularly the first one. Of course they liked the book better! It was full of magic and contradictions that they could quote to reinforce their bigoted and hateful opinions, as I well know, for I chose many parts of it from among the scrolls and epistles that were lying around in caves here and there. They're correct that a god picked out the material; they just have the wrong god doing it.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • Creation has the truth written all over it — the age of the universe, the history of the world — but nine-tenths of mankind either don't know it or think it's a sham, because it isn't what their book or their prophet says, and it isn't cozy or manipulable enough.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • The sooner we can separate salvageable skeptics from self-righteous absolutists, the sooner we can move along.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • You will divide the sheep from the goats and you will encourage the one and shepherd the other. You always had a leaning that way. Each of you will find the fight that suites yourself and your being. You will triumph, suffer, weep, rejoice, possibly die... If you die another will rise up in your name, if you don't die, you'll live an extremely long life. You are my angels, for whom an almost heaven waits ... Your work will be long, howerver, long and hard before you can rest in it.
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • The space began to move around them as the being on her plinth receded. The splintered world hurtled toward them as though they were in a kaleidoscope, images whirling to join, spinning outward to disintegrate, vortices of jagged light, horizons of endless time, pinwheels of splendor that rushed at them and receded through which they heard the small god cry, "You will not see me soon again. It is not fitting that gods, however small, consort casually with their servants. I leave you as Guardians for all that live on this world."
    • The small god in Ch. 44 : the visitor
  • Ignorance perpetuates itself just as knowledge does. Men write false documents, they preach false doctrine, and those beliefs survive to inspire wickedness in later generations. ... Conversely, some men write and teach about the truth, only to be declared heretic by the wicked. In such cases evil has the advantage, for it will do anything to suppress truth, but the good man limits what he will do to suppress falsehood.
    One might almost make a rule of it: "Whoever declares another heretic is himself a devil. Whoever places a relic or artifact above justice, kindness, mercy, or truth is himself a devil and the thing elevated is a work of evil magic."
    • Arnole, in Ch. 45 : not in conclusion
  • To the Chasmites, truth is determined by how well it fits their expectations, and doesn't that sound familiar? ... They have consistently refused to have a god contest, and I fear they will have to encounter the godlet rather forcibly before they believe there is anything there at all.
    • Guardian Dismé Latimer in Ch. 46 : nell latimer's journal

External links[edit]

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