Daniel Abraham

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I want my villains to be understood and forgiven.

Daniel Abraham (born November 14, 1969) is a Hugo-nominated, American fantasy/science-fiction writer. He is the author of the The Long Price Quartet series and the The Dagger and the Coin series.


  • I was listening to Tim Powers talking and he said he didn't want his villains just defeated, he wanted them humiliated and destroyed. And I thought: 'I don't. I want my villains to be understood and forgiven.
  • Writers are a basically insecure bunch. We are convinced that everything we do sucks, all the time. It's something you have to fight. The best way to make sure that your writing will never be particularly good is to use it for something besides telling the story. And I think there's a real tension between sophistication and accessibility.
    • interview with Locus Magazine, June 2008
  • I don't find fantasy to be more or less suited to philosophical questions than any other genre, really. I think that the soul of fantasy—or second-world fantasy at least—is our problematic relationship with nostalgia. The impulse to return to a golden age seems to be pretty close to the bone, at least in western cultures, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's a human universal. For me, it's tied up with the experience of aging and the impulse to recapture youth. Epic fantasy, I think, takes its power from that. We create golden eras and either celebrate them or—more often—mourn their loss.
  • I think that the successful genres of a particular period are reflections of the needs and thoughts and social struggles of that time. When you see a bunch of similar projects meeting with success, you’ve found a place in the social landscape where a particular story (or moral or scenario) speaks to readers. You’ve found a place where the things that stories offer are most needed.
    And since the thing that stories most often offer is comfort, you’ve found someplace rich with anxiety and uncertainty. (That’s what I meant when I said to Melinda Snodgrass that genre is where fears pool.)
  • For the moment, it's called the Dagger and the Coin, but with any luck, that'll swap out for a better name. There are some things in the proposal that need to get smoothed out so that everyone's on board, but I think it'll happen.
    It's a very different from the Long Price books. It looks and feels more like traditional epic fantasy -- quasi-Europe, ferinstance, and some dragons in the background, no 15-year gaps between books -- but the plot structure is packed with everything I think is cool. There are echoes I'm intentionally building in of from things as familiar as Firefly and The Count of Monte Cristo and as obscure as Tevis' Queen's Gambit and Reck-Malleczewen's Diary of a Man in Despair. And the magic system is all about faith and deception, which will be tricky and fun both.
    What I want to do is write something that I could read now (39 years old, married, raising a kid, 10 year IT career behind me, post 9-11, post-Bush, etc.) with the same joy I read the Belgariad when I was 16.

Leviathan Wakes (2011)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback first edition published by Orbit Books
Published in collaboration with Ty Franck under the pseudonym James S. A. Corey
Nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award
  • Say what you will about organized crime, at least it’s organized.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 20)
  • If Miller had ever been called upon to describe her, the phrase deceptive coloration would have figured in.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 21)
  • “Too many dots,” Miller said. “Not enough lines.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 109)
  • The enlisted guys will be okay, but the officers get the sense of humor trained out of ’em.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 113)
  • It was a real book—onionskin pages bound in what might have been actual leather. Miller had seen pictures of them before; the idea of that much weight for a single megabyte of data struck him as decadent.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 150)
  • If things got out of hand, it would mean six or seven million dead people and the end of everything Miller had ever known.
    Odd that it should feel almost like relief.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 164)
  • He couldn’t fix the cancer of war, couldn’t even slow down the spread, but at least he could admit it was happening.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 164)
  • She didn’t care. Not caring was how she got through the day.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 170)
  • “See, this is why I can’t ever be in command,” she said.
    “Don’t like making tough calls with incomplete information?”
    “More I’m not suicidally irresponsible,” she replied.
    • Chapter 17 (pp. 178-179)
  • The beautiful thing about losing your illusions, he thought, was that you got to stop pretending.
    • Chapter 18 (p. 184)
  • Never knew if you had any luck left unless you pushed it.
    • Chapter 18 (p. 187)
  • It’s the problem with politics. Your enemies are often your allies. And vice versa.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 194)
  • He probed himself like a doctor searching for inflammation. Did it hurt here? Did he feel the loss there?
    He didn’t. There was only a sense of relief so profound it approached giddiness.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 226)
  • All bluster, no balls.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 228)
  • This was the kind of man who’d killed Julie, Miller thought. Stupid. Shortsighted. A man born with a sense for raw opportunity where his soul should have been.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 281)
  • When, Miller wondered, does someone stop being human? There had to be a moment, some decision that you made and before it, you were one person, and after it, someone else...If he’d seen it in someone else—Muss, Havelock, Sematimba—he wouldn’t have taken more than a minute to realize they’d gone off the rails. Since it was him, he had taken longer to notice. But Holden was right. Somewhere along the line, he’d lost himself.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 284)
  • “There’s a right thing to do,” Holden said.
    “You don’t have a right thing, friend,” Miller said. “You’ve got a whole plateful of maybe a little less wrong.”
    • Chapter 36 (p. 363)
  • “We regret the necessity of this action,” she said to everyone everywhere. “But in the cause of freedom, there can be no compromise.”
    That’s what it’s come to, Miller thought, rubbing a hand across his chin. Pogroms after all. Cut off just a hundred more heads, just a thousand more heads, just ten thousand more heads, and then we’ll be free.
    • Chapter 36 (p. 364)
  • There was life out there. They had proof of it now. And the proof came in the shape of a weapon, so what did that tell him?
    • Chapter 38 (p. 379)
  • Holden decided that he was okay with not feeling any remorse for them. The moral complexity of the situation had grown past his ability to process it, so he just relaxed in the warm glow of victory instead.
    • Chapter 41 (p. 412)
  • Liquor doesn’t make you feel better. Just makes you not so worried about feeling bad.
    • Chapter 42 (p. 427)
  • “Stop,” Holden said. “I don’t care. I don’t want to hear any more of your stories about how being a cop makes you wiser and deeper and able to face the truth about humanity. As far as I can tell, all it did was break you. Okay?”
    “Yeah, okay.”
    “Dresden and his Protogen buddies thought they could choose who lives and who dies. That sound familiar? And don’t tell me it’s different this time, because everyone says that, every time. And it’s not.”
    • Chapter 43 (p. 437)
  • And now they were making music from the screams of the dying. Of the dead. The were dancing to it in the low-rent clubs. What it must be like, Miller thought, to be young and soulless.
    But no. That wasn’t fair. Diogo was a good kid. He was just naive. The universe would take care of that, given a little time.
    • Chapter 44 (p. 445)
  • Miller was staring at him like an entomologist trying to figure out exactly where the pin went.
    • Chapter 45 (p. 457)
  • If Fred couldn’t build himself a peace treaty, the OPA would never win against the discipline and unity of an inner planet navy. But they would also never lose. War without end.
    Well, what was history if not that?
    And how would having the stars change anything?
    • Chapter 46 (p. 467)
  • He considered recording it. His suit would be able to make a simple visual file and stream the data out in real time. But no. This was his moment. His and Julia’s. The rest of humanity could guess what it had been like if they cared.
    • Chapter 48 (p. 488)
  • It was as easy as keying in a door code. Somehow he felt that arming fusion bombs to detonate around him should have been more difficult.
    • Chapter 50 (p. 504)
  • He cut the connection before she could answer. Long goodbyes weren’t anyone’s strong suit.
    • Chapter 50 (p. 504)
  • That man could take a visitation from God with thirty underdressed angels announcing that sex was okay after all and make it seem vaguely depressing.
    • Epilogue (p. 560)

Abaddon's Gate[edit]

  • Annie, If I wanted to suck vile fluids out of a flaccid and indifferent tube, I'd have stayed on Earth with my husband.

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