Dan Simmons

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Dan Simmons (born April 4, 1948) is an American science fiction and horror writer.



Hyperion (1989)

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback edition published by Bantam Spectra ISBN 0-553-28368-5
Won the 1990 Hugo Award.
All ellipses in the original
  • “I ignore religions,” said Brawne Lamia. “I do not succumb to them.”
    • Chapter 1 (p. 20)
  • I now understand the need for faith—pure, blind, fly-in-the-face-of-reason faith—as a small life preserver in the wild and endless sea of a universe ruled by unfeeling laws and totally indifferent to the small, reasoning beings that inhabit it.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 90)
  • The lieutenant took his time scanning their visa chips, letting them wait in the drizzle, occasionally making a comment with the idle arrogance common to such nobodies who have just come into a small bit of power.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 105)
  • In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 179)
  • Belief in one’s identity as a poet or writer prior to the acid test of publication is as naive and harmless as the youthful belief in one’s immortality...and the inevitable disillusionment is just as painful.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 186)
  • Words bend our thinking to infinite paths of self-delusion, and the fact that we spend most of our mental lives in brain mansions built of words means that we lack the objectivity necessary to see the terrible distortion of reality which language brings.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 191)
  • Yes, our DNA is unique but so is a salamander’s.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 191)
  • Poets are the mad midwives to reality. They see not what is, nor what can be, but what must become.”
    • Chapter 3 (p. 192)
  • Words are the only bullets in truth’s bandolier. And poets are the snipers.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 192)
  • In the beginning was the Word.
    In the end...past honor, past life, past caring...
    In the end will be the Word.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 233)
  • Another friend, a child psychologist from the college, once commented that Rachel at age five showed the most reliable indicators of true giftedness in a young person: structured curiosity, empathy for others, compassion, and a fierce sense of fair play.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 249)
  • Sol found their tracts the usual combination of double talk and navel lint-gathering common to most religions.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 269)
  • Sarai had treasured every stage of Rachel’s childhood, enjoying the day-to-day normalcy of things; a normalcy which she quietly accepted as the best of life. She had always felt that the essence of human experience lay not primarily in the peak experiences, the wedding days and the triumphs which stood out in the memory like dates circled in red on old calendars, but, rather, in the unself-conscious flow of little things—the weekend afternoon with each member of the family engaged in his or her own pursuit, their crossing and connections casual, dialogues imminently (sic) forgettable, but the sum of such hours creating a synergy which was important and eternal.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 284)
  • The story of Rachel’s unique illness was no secret in Crawford, of course. The fact of it had spread through the college the first year of Rachel’s return and the entire town knew soon after. Crawford reacted in the fashion of small towns immemorial—some tongues wagged constantly, some people could not keep the pity and pleasure at someone else’s misfortune out of their voices and gazes—but mostly the community had folded its protective wings around the Weintraub family like an awkward mother bird shielding its young.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 286)
  • Sol realized what he had known and forgotten about very small communities: they were frequently annoying, always parochial, sometimes prying on a one-to-one level, but never had they subscribed to the vicious legacy of the so-called “public’s right to know.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 287)
  • After fifty-five years of dedicating his life and work to the story of ethical systems, Sol Weintraub had come to a single, unshakable conclusion: any allegiance to a deity or concept or universal principal (sic) which put obedience above decent behavior toward an innocent human being was evil.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 292)
  • Listen! There will be no more offerings, neither child nor parent. There will be no more sacrifices for anyone other than our fellow human. The time of obedience and atonement is past.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 308)
  • “How about,” she said, “that you do the logical thing because it’s the logical thing to do?”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 315)
  • If our society ever opted for Orwell’s Big Brother approach, the instrument of choice for oppression would have to be the credit wake. In a totally noncash economy with only a vestigial barter black market, a person’s activities could be tracked in real time by monitoring the credit wake of his or her universal card. There were strict laws protecting card privacy but laws had a bad habit of being ignored or abrogated when societal push came to totalitarian shove.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 345)
  • It struck me that his dialect was actually the nondialect of someone who has learned a new language perfectly but without the lazy shortcuts of someone born to it.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 355)
  • In such seconds of decision entire futures are made.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 431)
  • There is something about raising a child that helps to sharpen one’s sense of what is real.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 433)
  • It no longer matters who consider themselves the masters of events. Events no longer obey their masters.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 472)
All page numbers are from the mass market paperback edition published by Bantam Spectra ISBN 0-553-28820-2
Nominated for the 1991 Hugo Award and the 1991 Nebula Award.
All ellipses in the original
  • Doing a life study while drunk and in the process of being seduced is never a formula for quality art.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 43)
  • It was a dramatization of total chaos, a functional definition of confusion, an unchoreographed dance of sad violence. It was war.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 51)
  • My own guess is that it’s a myth fueled by the same hunger for superstitious verities that drives other religions.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 91)
  • Those who ignore history’s lessons in the ultimate folly of war are forced to do more than relive them...they may be forced to die by them.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 94)
  • War does not call for judgment,” I said, “merely survival.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 105)
  • “I wish we had the technology to fight God on an equal basis,” he said in low, tight tones. “To beard him in his den. To fight back for all of the injustices heaped on humanity. To allow him to alter his smug arrogance or be blown to hell.”
    • Chapter 29 (pp. 226-227)
  • There would be no more offerings. Not this day. Not any day. Humankind had suffered enough for its love of gods, its long search for God. He thought of the many centuries in which his people, the Jews, had negotiated with God, complaining, bickering, decrying the unfairness of things but always—always—returning to obedience at whatever the cost. Generations dying in the ovens of hatred. Future generations scarred by the cold fires of radiation and renewed hatred.
    Not this time. Not ever again.
    • Chapter 30 (p. 237)
  • Sol remembered the dream, remembered his daughter’s hug, and realized that in the end—when all else is dust—loyalty to those we love is all we can carry with us to the grave.
    • Chapter 30 (p. 242)
  • Mobs have passions, not brains.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 266)
  • The place was part museum, part library, and part archive; I loved it at first sight...and smell, for here there were thousands of printed books, many very old indeed, and nothing smells quite as wonderful as old books.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 269)
  • He knew what had to be done. It is not always the same as knowing what to do.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 310)
  • Christ may have lost his faith for a few seconds; He did not sell it in the marketplace for the trinkets of ego and curiosity.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 310)
  • Gold,” says the Consul, knowing that this is the only syllable that has held its power over the ages.
    • Chapter 35 (p. 316)
  • Have you considered that these prophecies were not divine revelations, but merely manipulation from some secular power?
    • Chapter 36 (p. 337)
  • The Great Change is when humankind accepts its role as part of the natural order of the universe instead of its role as a cancer.
    • Chapter 38 (p. 369)
  • We are created for precisely this sort of suffering. In the end, it is all we are, those limpid tide pools of self-consciousness between crashing waves of pain.
    • Chapter 41 (p. 409)
  • Human philosophy tends to shake down into values which might be categorizes as intellectual, religious, moral, and aesthetic.
    • Chapter 41 (p. 419)
  • “Sometimes,” said General Morpurgo, taking her hand, “dreams are all that separate us from the machines.”
    • Chapter 43 (p. 474)
  • Religion and ethics were not always—or even frequently—mutually compatible. The demands of religious absolutism or fundamentalism or rampaging relativism often reflected the worst aspects of contemporary culture or prejudices rather than a system which both man and God could live under with a sense of real justice.
    • Chapter 45 (p. 490)
  • With a sudden clarity which went beyond the immediacy of his pain or sorrow, Sol Weintraub suddenly understood perfectly why Abraham had agreed to sacrifice Isaac, his son, when the Lord commanded him to do so.
    It was not obedience.
    It was not even to put the love of God above the love of his son.
    Abraham was testing God.
    By denying the sacrifice at the last moment, by stopping the knife, God had earned the right—in Abraham’s eyes and the hearts of his offspring—to become the God of Abraham.
    • Chapter 45 (p. 491)
  • The modern universe, as machine and man had come to understand it, needed no Creator; in fact, allowed no Creator. Its rules allowed very little tinkering and no major revisions. It had not begun and would not end, beyond cycles of expansion and contraction as regular and self-regulated as the seasons on Old Earth. No room for love there.
    It seemed that Abraham had offered to murder his son to test a phantom.
    • Chapter 45 (pp. 492-493)
  • I learned that poets aren’t God, but if there is a God...or anything approaching a God...he’s a poet. And a failed one at that.
    • Chapter 45 (p. 504)

Endymion (1996)

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback edition published by Bantam Spectra ISBN 0-553-57294-6
All ellipses and italics in the original
  • I was not surprised to wake up alive. I suppose one is surprised only when one awakens dead.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 20)
  • De Soya blinks. “Suicide is a mortal sin,” he says.
    On the screen the girl nods seriously. “Yes,” she says, “but I am not a Christian. Also, I'd rather go to hell than go with you.”
    • Chapter 24 (p. 184)
  • Why am I seeking logic or sanity here? I'd asked myself at the moment. There hasn’t been any so far.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 190)
  • Information is always to be treasured, Raul. It is behind only love and honesty in a person’s attempt to understand the universe.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 198)
  • I realized that night the import and the terrible difficulty in the task ahead of me—in keeping this child safe from the sharp edges of a strange and indifferent universe.
    I think that is was on this alien and storm-tossed night that I first understood what it might be like to be a parent.
    • Chapter 30 (p. 262)
  • One of the men in the boat—I could not remember which character—had moved through all of the circles of theological supposition: praying, believing that God was a merciful Deity who sat up nights worrying about him, then believing that God was a cruel bastard, and finally deciding that no one was listening.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 344)
  • The universe is indifferent to our fates. This was the crushing burden that the character took with him as he struggled through the surf toward survival or extinction. The universe just does not give a shit.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 344)
  • I heard the hiss and felt the blessed numbness spreading. If there is a God, I thought, it’s a painkiller.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 350)
  • Entropy is a bitch,” I said.
    “Now, now,” said Aenea from where she was leaning on the terrace wall. “Entropy can be our friend.”
    “When?” I said.
    She turned around so that she was leaning back on her elbows. The building behind her was a dark rectangle, serving to highlight the glow of her sunburned skin. “It wears down empires,” she said. “And does in despotisms.”
    • Chapter 34 (p. 357)
  • “Humanity has evolved—as far as it has evolved,” continued the old priest, “with no thanks to its predecessors or itself. Evolution brings human beings. Human beings, through a long and painful process, bring humanity.”
    Empathy,” Aenea said softly.
    • Chapter 44 (p. 449)
  • The future is never written...only penciled in.
    • Chapter 50 (p. 497)
  • I began to understand. “A Faustian bargain...,” I said.
    “The Faustian bargain,” said the girl. “All the church had to do to gain the universe was sell its soul.”
    • Chapter 50 (p. 498)
  • Life is brutal that way...the loss of irrecoverable moments amid trivia and distraction.
    • Chapter 60 (p. 561)
All page numbers are from the mass market paperback edition published by Bantam Spectra ISBN 0-553-57298-9
All ellipses and italics in the original
  • Each of them was intimately aware of the procedure for electing a pope—not only of the antiquated mechanisms, of course, but of the politicking, pressuring, deal-making, bluffing, and outright blackmail that had often accompanied the process over the centuries.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 10)
  • “What was the Depression?”
    “Bad economic times in their pure capitalist nation-state,” Aenea said. “Remember, the economy wasn’t really global then, and it depended upon private money institutions called banks, gold reserves, and the value of physical money—actual coins and pieces of paper that were supposed to be worth something. It was all a consensual hallucination, of course, and in the 1930s, the hallucination turned nightmare.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 34)
  • Never make unsupportable assumptions about your enemies, Martin. It can be a fatal self-indulgence.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 49)
  • Aenea smiled but her eyes still glistened. “Humans have been waiting for Jesus and Yahweh and E. T. to save their asses since before they covered those asses with bearskins and came out of the cave,” she said. “They’ll have to keep waiting. This is our business...our fight...and we have to take care of it ourselves.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 72)
  • I realized then what I had known since I was a child watching my mother die of cancer—namely, that beyond ideology and ambition, beyond thought and emotion, there was only pain. And salvation from it.”
    • Chapter 8 (p. 121)
  • “What?”
    “Never mind. It will make sense when it comes about. All improbabilities do when probability waves collapse into event.”
    • Chapter 8 (p. 135)
  • I thought—To lose all this forever?
    And I hallucinated Aenea’s voice saying To lose all this forever is the essence of being human, my love.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 163)
  • I don’t think that I want to make any wager if it means dealing with a Church that has grown so corrupt that it makes obedience and submission the price of its saving the life of someone’s child.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 165)
  • Pascal’s Wager never appealed to me. It seems logically...shallow.”
    “Perhaps because it posits only two choices,” said Aenea. Somewhere in the desert night, an owl made a short, sharp sound. “Spiritual resurrection and immortality or death and damnation,” she said.
    “Those last two aren’t the same thing,” I said.
    “No, but perhaps to someone like Blaise Pascal they were. Someone terrified of ‘the eternal silence of these infinite spaces.’”
    “A spiritual agoraphobic,” I said.
    Aenea laughed. The sound was so sincere and spontaneous that I could not help loving it. Her.
    Religion seems to have always offered that false duality,” she said, setting her cup of tea on a flat stone. “The silences of infinite space or the cozy comfort of inner certainty.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 166)
  • “Perhaps our reservoir of spiritual faith has run out.”
    “Perhaps it should have run out a long time ago,” I said sternly. “Superstition has taken a terrible toll on our species. Wars...pogroms...resistance to logic and science and medicine...not to mention gathering power in the hands of people like those who run the Pax.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 166)
  • Dogma and hierarchy are endemic to such structures...indeed, such are the structures of any theocracy.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 187)
  • The human mind gets used to strangeness very quickly if it does not exhibit interesting behavior.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 227)
  • “And the sad fact is that all nanotech life out of our control—out of anyone’s control. The essence of nanotech life’s evolution is autonomy, self-will, and goals which have nothing to do with those of the harboring life form.”
    “Humanity, you mean,” said Lourdusamy.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 261)
  • I ached everywhere. It was hard to separate the dull agony of the shattered leg from the ache in my head and my back and my guts. My skull felt as if there were a ball of mercury in it that shifted ponderously long seconds after my head itself turned. The vertigo made me sick again, but I had nothing left to vomit. I hung on the tangle of branches and contemplated the glories of adventure.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 272)
  • Twenty kilometers. At an average speed of 120 klicks per hour, we should cover the distance in ten minutes. Ten freezing, adrenaline-pumping, gorge-rising, terror-beating-against-the-ribs, react-in-a-microsecond-or-die seconds.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 297)
  • Crudely effective, but wildly inefficient.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 334)
  • To see and feel one’s beloved naked for the first time is one of life’s pure, irreducible epiphanies. If there is a true religion in the universe, it must include that truth of contact or be forever hollow. To make love to the one true person who deserves that love is one of the few absolute rewards of being a human being, balancing all of the pain, loss, awkwardness, loneliness, idiocy, compromise, and clumsiness that go with the human condition. To make love to the right person makes up for a lot of mistakes.
    • Chapter 18 (pp. 348-349)
  • “I am of no faith,” said Aenea. “If one defines faith as belief in the supernatural.”
    • Chapter 19 (p. 371)
  • “We know for a fact that the Buddha refused to speculate with his disciples on whether there was such a thing such as life after death. ‘Such questions,’ he said, ‘are not relevant to the practice of the Path and cannot be answered while bound by the restraints of human existence.’ Most of Buddhism, you see, gentlemen, can be explored, appreciated, and utilized as a tool toward enlightenment without descending into the supernatural.”
    • Chapter 19 (p. 375)
  • “The Void Which Binds is touched by all of us who have wept with happiness, bidden a lover good-bye, been exalted with orgasm, stood over the grave of a loved one, or watched our baby open his or her eyes for the first time.”
    Aenea is looking at me as she speaks, and I feel the gooseflesh rise along my arms.
    “The Void Which Binds is always under and above the surface of our thoughts and senses,” she continues, invisible but as present as the breathing of our beloved next to us in the night. Its actual but unaccessible presence in our universe is one of the prime causes for our species elaborating myth and religion, for our stubborn, blind belief in extrasensory powers, in telepathy and precognition, in demons and demigods and resurrection and reincarnation and ghosts and messiahs and so many other categories of almost-but-not-quite satisfying bullshit.”
    • Chapter 20 (p. 400)
  • Thus evolved some members of the Core—not altruists, but desperate survivalists who realized that the only way ultimately to win their never-ending zero-sum game was to stop the game. And to stop the game they needed to evolve into a species capable of empathy.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 406)
  • “The Core knows what Teilhard de Chardin and other sentimentalists refused to acknowledge: evolution is not progress, that there is no ‘goal’ or direction to evolution. Evolution is change. Evolution ‘succeeds’ if that change best adapts some leaf or branch of its tree of life to conditions of the universe.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 406)
  • “There is no guarantee of happiness, wisdom, or long life if you drink of me this evening,” she says, very softly. There is no nirvana. There is no salvation. There is no afterlife. There is no rebirth. There is only immense knowledge—of the heart as well as the mind—and the potential for great discoveries, great adventures, and and a guarantee of more of the pain and terror that make up so much of our short lives.”
    • Chapter 20 (p. 408)
  • While I was obsessed with my own misery, there were other things occurring in the human universe.
    • Chapter 21 (p. 422)
  • These were not religious fanatics, I saw, not mindless servants or self-punishing ascetics, but were, instead, row upon row of intelligent, questioning, alert young men and women.
    • Chapter 21 (p. 454)
  • “Almost everything interesting in the human experience is the result of an individual experiencing, experimenting, explaining, and sharing,” said my young friend. “A hive mind would be the ancient television broadcasts, or life at the height of the datasphere...consensual idiocy.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 464)
  • If there is a true secret to the universe, it is this...these first few seconds of warmth and entry and complete acceptance by one’s beloved.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 531)
  • I realized that for this moment, nothing in the past mattered. Nothing terrible in the future mattered. What mattered was her skin against me, her hand holding me, the perfume of her hair and skin and the warmth of her breath against my chest. This was satori. This was truth.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 532)
  • Although there are those among us now who have been granted the gift of being able to glimpse patterns of the future, probabilities tossed like dice on the uneven blanket of space and time, even these gifted ones know that no single future has been preordained for us or our posterity. Events are fluid. The future is like smoke from a burning forest, waiting for the wind of specific events and personal courage to blow the sparks and embers of reality this way or that.
    • Chapter 25 (pp. 535-536)
  • If the universe has any soul, it is the soul of irony.
    • Chapter 25 (p. 548)
  • Choose again.
    • Chapter 26 (p. 569 and often repeated; the central message of Aenea's teaching)
  • There are no ghosts, my love. Death is final. The soul is that ineffable combination of memory and personality which we carry through life...when life departs, the soul also dies. Except for what we leave in the memory of those who loved us.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 578)
  • I could not do this, I realized, if I were immortal. This degree of love of life and of one another is granted, I saw for once and for ever, not to immortals, but to those who live briefly and always under the shadow of death and loss.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 665)
  • “One of the few benefits of the fall of civilization as we know it,” he says, “is that there are private cellars with fine vintages everywhere one digs. It is not theft. It is archaeology.”
    • Chapter 33 (p. 674)
  • As is always the case when you are with the actual human being behind the celebrity or legend, there is something human about the man or woman that makes things less than myth.
    • Chapter 33 (p. 677)
  • No lifetime is long enough for those who wish to create, Raul. Or for those who simply wish to understand themselves and their lives. It is, perhaps, the curse of being human, but also a blessing.
    • Chapter 33 (p. 684)
  • If one is to observe, M. Endymion, one must be in the proper place to observe.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 701)
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