Fritz Leiber

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Fritz Leiber 1978

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. (December 24, 1910September 5, 1992) was an American writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction.


Short Fiction[edit]

Night's Black Agents (1947)[edit]

All page numbers from the mass market expanded edition published by Berkley ISBN 0-425-03669-3 in 1978
  • Besides, what difference did if make if there had been two genuine coincidences? The universe was full of them. Every molecular collision was a coincidence. You could pile a thousand coincidences on top of another, he averred, and not get Tom Digby one step nearer to believing in the supernatural. Oh, he knew intelligent people enough, all right, who coddled such beliefs. Some of his best friends liked to relate “yarns” and toy with eerie possibilities for the sake of a thrill. But the only emotion Tom ever got out of such stuff was a nauseating disgust. It cut too deep for joking. It was a reversion to that primitive, fear-bound ignorance from which science had slowly lifted man, inch by inch, against the most bitter opposition.
    • “The Hill and the Hole” (p. 165); originally published in Unknown Worlds, August 1942
  • He had the illusion, he said, of getting perilously close to the innermost secrets of the universe and finding they were rotten and evil and sardonic.
    • “The Dreams of Albert Moreland” (p. 182); originally published in The Acolyte, #10, Spring 1945
  • I’ll have to learn to snowshoe. I had my first lesson this morning and cut a ludicrous figure. I’ll be virtually a prisoner until I learn my way around. But any price is worth paying to get away from the thought-destroying din and soul-killing routine of the city!
    • “Diary in the Snow” (p. 203); originally published in the first edition of Night's Black Agents (1947)
  • There are vampires and vampires, and not all of them suck blood.
    • “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (p. 228); originally published in The Girl with the Hungry Eyes and Other Stories, Avon Publishing, 1949
  • That’s what everybody’s been looking for since the Year One—something a little more than sex.
    • “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (p. 230)
  • There are vampires and vampires, and the ones that suck blood aren’t the worst.
    • “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (p. 240)
  • I realized that wherever she came from, whatever shaped her, she’s the quintessence of the horror behind the bright billboard. She’s the smile that tricks you into throwing away your money and your life. She’s the eyes that lead you on and on, and then show you death. She’s the creature you give everything for and never really get. She’s the being that takes everything you’ve got and gives nothing in return. When you yearn towards her face on the billboards, remember that. She’s the lure. She’s the bait. She’s the Girl.
    • “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (p. 241)
  • I’ve never found anything in occult literature that seemed to have a bearing. You know, the occult—very much like stories of supernatural horror—is a sort of game. Most religions, too. Believe in the game and accept its rules—or the premises of the story—and you can have the thrills or whatever it is you’re after. Accept the spirit world and you can see ghosts and talk to the dear departed. Accept Heaven and you can have the hope of eternal life and the reassurance of an all-powerful god working on your side. Accept Hell and you can have devils and demons, if that’s what you want. Accept—if only for story purposes—witchcraft, druidism, shamanism, magic or some modern variant and you can have werewolves, vampires, elementals. Or believe in the influence and power of a grave, an ancient house or monument, a dead religion, or an old stone with an inscription on it—and you can have inner things of the same general sort. But I’m thinking of the kind of horror—and wonder too, perhaps—that lies beyond any game, that’s bigger than any game, that’s fettered by no rules, conforms to no man-made theology, bows to no charms or protective rituals, that strides the world unseen and strikes without warning where it will, much the same as (though it’s of a different order of existence than all of these) lightning or the plague or the enemy atom bomb. The sort of horror that the whole fabric of civilization was designed to protect us from and make us forget. The horror about which all man’s learning tells us nothing.
    • “A Bit of the Dark World” (pp. 261-262); originally published in Fantastic, February 1962
  • I thought of how people are like planets—lonely little forts of mind with immense black distance barring them off from each other.
    • “A Bit of the Dark World” (p. 263)

Poor Superman (1951)[edit]

Published in Galaxy, July 1951, with the original title Appointment in Tomorrow
  • Everyone knows Newton as the great scientist. Few remember that he spent half his life muddling with alchemy, looking for the philosopher's stone. That was the pebble by the seashore he really wanted to find.

Try and Change the Past (1958)[edit]

Published in Astounding (March 1958)
  • He had the dim realization that the universe, like a huge sleepy animal, knew what he was trying to do and was trying to thwart him. This feeling of opposition made him determined to outmaneuver the universe—not the first guy to yield to such a temptation, of course.

A Pail of Air (1964)[edit]

All page numbers from the mass market first edition published by Ballantine (#U2216)
  • “Life’s always been a business of working hard and fighting the cold,” Pa was saying. “The earth’s always been a lonely place, millions of miles from the next planet. And no matter how long the human race might have lived, the end would have come some night. Those things don’t matter. What matters is that life is good. It has a lovely texture, like some thick fur or the petals of flowers—you’ve never seen those, but you know our ice-flowers—or like the texture of flames, never twice the same. It makes everything else worth while. And that’s as true for the last man as for the first.”
  • To understand why George fell for this story, one must remember his stifled romanticism, his sense of personal failure, his deep need to believe. The thing came to him like, or rather instead of, a religious conversion.
  • “You are not the first to be shocked and horrified by chess,” he assured her. “It is a curse of the intellect. It is a game for lunatics—or else it creates them.”
    • “The 64-Square Madhouse” (p. 74); originally published in If, May 1962

Crazy Joanna (1968)[edit]

Published in Galaxy, February 1968
  • Two things will last to the end of time, at least for the tribes of Western Man, no matter how far his spaceships rove. They are sorcery and romantic love, which come to much the same thing in the end.

Catch that Zeppelin! (1975)[edit]

This short story won both the 1976 Hugo Award and the 1975 Nebula Award
Published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1975
  • Beside me, traffic growled and snarled, rising at times to a machine-gun rata-tat-tat, while pedestrians were scuttling about with that desperate ratlike urgency characteristic of all big American cities, but which reaches its ultimate in New York.
  • There is an inescapable imperative about certain industrial developments. If there is not a safe road of advance, then a dangerous one will invariably be taken.

A Rite of Spring (1977)[edit]

Published in Universe 7, edited by Terry Carr
  • The Seven Subjects of Sensational Journalism: crime, scandal, speculative science, insanity, superstitions such as numerology, monsters, and millionaires.
    • p. 26

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series (1939-1988)[edit]

The books are listed in their series order, not chronologically by date of publication

Swords and Deviltry (1970)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace (Catalogue number 79170)
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Then he was running not so much away from the cold and its crippling, supernatural horrors, as toward civilization, which was once again a bright emblem in his brain, an answer to all small-mindedness.
    • The Snow Women (p. 67)
  • Sooner give a cobra a kiss, than a secret to a woman.
    • The Snow Women (p. 71)
  • Barbarism can match civilization’s every stench. Not one move in our frostbit lives but is strictured by a mad god’s laws, which we call customs, and by black-handed irrationalities from which there is no escape.
    • The Snow Women (p. 73)
  • Afterward loses too many battles to Too Late.
    • The Snow Women (p. 77)
  • I know, I know, the folk here are narrow-visioned, custom-bound. But matched with the twisted minds of civilization, they’re straight as pines.
    • The Snow Women (p. 89)
  • Women are horrible. I mean, quite as horrible as men. Oh, is there anyone in the wide world that has aught but ice water in his or her veins?
    • The Snow Women (p. 115)
  • Aye, we played at being mice, forgetting cats are real.
    • The Unholy Grail (p. 138)
  • And I, well, in the month I’ve been here I’ve learned that the only way to survive in civilization is to abide by its unwritten rules—far more important than its laws chiseled in stone—and break them only at peril, in deepest secrecy, and taking all precautions.
    • Ill Met in Lankhmar (p. 194)
  • For what is life but greed in action?
    • Ill Met in Lankhmar (p. 230)
  • Fafhrd retorted, a little hotly, “Killing in fight isn’t murder.”
    Again the Mouser shrugged. “Killing is murder, no matter what nice names you give. Just as eating is devouring, and drinking guzzling.”
    • Ill Met in Lankhmar (p. 242)

Swords Against Death (1970)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Ace ISBN 0-441-79190-5, 12th printing, August 1984
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Revenge is empty. It cannot bring back the dead.
    • The Circle Curse (p. 12)
  • We have searched the wide world over and not found forgetfulness.
    • The Circle Curse (p. 15)
  • “Oaths are made to be kept only until their purpose be fulfilled,” the fluty voice responded. “Every geas is lifted at last, every self-set rule repealed. Otherwise orderliness in life becomes a limitation to growth; discipline, chains; integrity, bondage and evil-doing.”
    • The Circle Curse (p. 17)
  • Thieves and astrologers moved restlessly in their sleep, sensing that the hours of night and work were drawing near.
    • The Jewels in the Forest (p. 21)
  • Let fools seek it. They shall win it not. For although my treasure house be empty as air, no deadly creature in rocky lair, no sentinel outside anywhere, no pitfall, poison, trap, or snare, above and below the whole place bare, of demon or devil not a hair, no serpent lethal-fanged yet fair, no skull with mortal eye a-glare, yet have I left a guardian there. Let the wise read this riddle and forbear.
    • The Jewels in the Forest (pp. 24-25)
  • Unlike men, rubies and emeralds do not rest quietly in their graves.
    • The Jewels in the Forest (p. 27)
  • “What’s the use of knowing the name of a skull? One would never have occasion to talk of it,” said the fat thief loudly. “What interests me is that it has rubies for eyes.”
    • Thieves’ House (p. 63)
  • Too much good luck was always dangerous.
    • The Sunken Land (p. 130)
  • They, like many priests, had been much too fanatical and not nearly as clever as the god they served.
    • The Seven Black Priests (pp. 175-176)
  • Girls had a way of blotting out all lesser, but not thereby despicable, delights. Girls were for dessert.
    • Bazaar of the Bizarre (p. 231)
      • First published in Fantastic Stories of Imagination (1963), this novelette has been reprinted in several anthologies, including The Spell of Seven (ed. L. Sprague de Camp, Pyramid Books, 1965), Bazaar of the Bizarre (Donald M. Grant, Publisher, 1978), and Ill Met in Lankhmar (White Wolf Publishing, 1995), ISBN 1-56504-926-8.
  • The Devourers want not only the patronage of all beings in all universes, but—doubtless because they are afraid someone will some day raise the ever-unpleasant question of the true worth of things—they want all their customers reduced to a state of slavish and submissive suggestibility, so that they are fit for nothing whatever but to gawk at and buy the trash the Devourers offer for sale.
    • Bazaar of the Bizarre (pp. 233-234)
  • The Devourers want to brood about their great service to the many universes—it is their claim that servile customers make the most obedient subjects for the gods.
    • Bazaar of the Bizarre (p. 234)

Swords in the Mist (1968)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Ace (catalogue number 79181)
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • “So tell me, giant philosopher, why we’re not dukes,” the Gray Mouser demanded, unrolling a forefinger from the fist on his knee so that it pointed across the brazier at Fafhrd. “Or emperors, for that matter, or demigods.”
    “We are not dukes because we’re no man’s man,” Fafhrd replied smugly, setting his shoulders against the stone horse-trough. “Even the duke must butter up a king, and demigods the gods. We butter no one. We so our own way, choosing our own adventures—and our own follies! Better freedom and a chilly road than a warm hearth and servitude.”
    “There speaks the hound turned out by his last master and not yet found new boots to slaver on,” the Mouser retorted with comradely sardonic impudence.
    • The Cloud of Hate (p. 13)
  • Aye, there’s the bitter core of all freedom: no pay!
    • The Cloud of Hate (p. 16)
  • Bored and insecure men will loose arrows at dust motes.
    • Lean Times in Lankhmar (p. 24)
  • Pulg, alongside his pink streak of sentimentality, had recently taken to sporting a gray one of superstition.
    • Lean Times in Lankhmar (p. 35)
  • There would have been no insurmountable problem at all, of course, if Bwadres had only had that touch of realism about money matters that, when a true crisis arises, is almost invariably shown by even the fattest, greediest priest or the skinniest, most unworldly holy man.
    • Lean Times in Lankhmar (p. 35)
  • I can see now that if I’d stayed I’d have gone the way of Pulg and all such Great Men—fat, power-racked, lieutenant-plagued, smothered with false-hearted dancing girls, and finally falling into the arms of religion. At least I’m saved that last chronic ailment, which is worse than the dropsy.
    • Lean Times in Lankhmar (pp. 64-65)
  • Know it or not, man treads between abysses a tightrope that has neither beginning nor end.
    • When the Sea-King’s Away (p. 84)
  • It was the laughter of the Elder Gods observing their creature man and noting their omissions, miscalculations and mistakes.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 1 Tyre (p. 106)
  • That is as far from the truth as I am from the Secret of the Sphinx.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 2 Ningauble (p. 115)
  • It was more a patriotic than religious matter with Fafhrd. He believed in Odin only during moments of sentimental weakness.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 2 Ningauble (p. 115)
  • They are in their fashion fearless, irreligiously considering themselves the coequals of destiny and having only contempt for the Demigoddess of Chance, the Imp of Luck, and the Demon of Improbability.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 2 Ningauble (p. 119)
  • Eventually the tale came to an end, suddenly and seemingly in the middle, like a piece of foreign music.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 2 Ningauble (p. 123)
  • He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 2 Ningauble (p. 123)
  • Knowledge takes precedence over death.
    • Adept’s Gambit, Section 9 The Castle Called Mist (p. 187)

Swords Against Wizardry (1968)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Ace (Catalogue number 79161)
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • The worst thing about mountain climbing is that the easy parts go so quickly.
    • Stardock (p. 41)
  • Let never the gems of business be mixed with the jewels of pleasure.
    • The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar (p. 88)
  • He knew that sooner or later, in spite of all protecting charms and precautions, Death would creep silently on him or spring suddenly from some unguarded moment. This very night his horoscope might signal Death’s instant escapeless approach; and though men lived by lies, treating truth’s very self as lie to be exploited, the stars remained the stars.
    • The Lords of Quarmall (p. 116)

The Swords of Lankhmar (1968)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Ace (Catalogue number 79221)
  • With a happy roaring shout only he could hear, blood rushed through the Mouser’s arteries toward his center, reviving his limp manhood in a mere moment, as a magically summoned genie offhandedly builds a tower.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 97)
  • This was ecstacy indeed, he assured himself. It seemed to him that he was now in the Ninth and topmost Heaven, where a few select heroes luxuriate and dream and submit themselves to almost unendurable pleasures, at whiles glancing down with lazy amusement at all the gods toiling at their sparrow-watching and incense-sniffing and destiny-directing on the many tiers below.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 99)
  • When one achieves revenge, the innocent perforce suffer.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 106)
  • The more brilliant the enchanted male, the stupider the enchanting female.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 165)

Swords and Ice Magic (1977)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace ISBN 0-441-79166-2, first printing (July 1977)
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Now it may be that in the world of Newhon there are gods of whom even Death does not know and who from time to time take pleasure in putting obstacles in his path. Or it may be that Chance is quite as great a power as Necessity.
    • The Sadness of the Executioner (p. 9)
  • For the gods have very sharp ears for boasts, or for declarations of happiness and self-satisfaction, or for assertions of a firm intention to do this or that, or for statements that this or that must surely happen, or any other words hinting that a man is in the slightest control of his own destiny. And the gods are jealous, easily angered, perverse, and swift to thwart.
    • Under the Thumbs of the Gods (p. 35)
  • “There are some things man was not meant to know,” the Mouser said in a most portentous voice. Then, swiftly switching to the familiar, “or rather, since I am in no way superstitious, there are some things that have not yet yielded to our philosophy.”
    • Trapped in the Sea of Stars (p. 62)
  • And just think what rare delights—nay, what whole sets of ecstasies and blisses—this much gold would buy. How fortunate that metal was mindless slave of the man who held it!
    • The Frost Monstreme (p. 85)
  • Inconsiderate creatures, gods were.
    • Rime Isle (p. 191)
  • That was another trouble with women, they were never there when you wanted or really needed them. They helped each other, all right, but they expected men to do all sorts of impossible feats of derring-do to prove themselves worthy of the great gift of their love (and what was that when you got down to it?—a fleeting clench-and-wriggle in the dark, illuminated only by the mute, incomprehensible perfection of a dainty breast, that left you bewildered and sad).
    • Rime Isle (p. 196)
  • But oh, this lifelong servitude to girls—whimsical, innocent, calculating, icicle-eyed and hearted, fleeting, tripping little demons! White, slim-necked, sharp-toothed, restlessly bobbing weasels with the soulful eyes of lemurs!
    • Rime Isle (p. 198)

The Knight and Knave of Swords (1988)[edit]

Page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace ISBN 0-441-45125-X, first printing (February 1990)
See Fritz Leiber's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Lord, what romantical fools men were, to overpass the known and good in order to strain and stretch after the mysterious merely unknown. Were dreams simply better than reality? Had fancy always more style?
    • Sea Magic (p. 12)
  • Food for the hungry Isle. There was your real thinking man’s treasure, he told himself, beside which gold and twinkling jewels were merest trinkets, or the pointy breasts of young love or words of poets or the pointed stars themselves that astrologers cherished and that made men drunk with distance and expanse.
    • The Mer She (p. 26)
  • Women have power over men almost as great as gods do.
    • The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (p. 62)
  • And the mighty are great worriers and spend much time preventing anything that troubles their peace of mind.
    • The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (p. 67)
  • “Legends travel on rainbow wings and sport gaudy colors,” the harbormaster answered him, “while truth plods on in sober garb.”
    • The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (p. 84)
  • Old legends said Death had a skinny sister denominated Pain, passionately devoted to the loathsome torture that often was Death’s prelude.
    • The Mouser Goes Below (p. 166)
  • Great conquerors live on as their enemies’ devils.
    • The Mouser Goes Below (p. 176)
  • Yes, indeed, he assured himself rapidly, things did seem to be working around to a grand payoff in the great game of trading heroic feats for intimate maidenly favors that all heroes lived or at least hoped by, no matter how disordered and irregular the bookkeeping.
    • The Mouser Goes Below (p. 246)

Gather, Darkness! (1950)[edit]

First serialized in Astounding Science Fiction in 1943; published as a novel in 1950. All page numbers from the 1975 mass market paperback edition published by Ballantine Books (Catalogue number 24585)
  • “You have been told that the Great God rules the universe—earth and sky. I tell you the Great God is fake!”
    • Chapter 1 (p. 8)
  • But now the priests think only one thing. How to hold on to their power as long as mankind lasts—until the sun darkens and the earth freezes!
    • Chapter 1 (p. 15)
  • No matter how hard and wearisome an age this might be, it was certainly a very exciting one with regard to manifestations of the supernatural.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 54)
  • “Armon Jarles, there is only the cosmos and the electronic entities that constitute it, without soul or purpose, save so far as neuronic minds impose purpose upon it.
    “Armon Jarles, the Hierarchy embodies the highest form of such purpose.
    “Armon Jarles, the supernatural and the idealized have one trait in common. They are not. There is only reality.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 105)
  • What is idealism? It is distortion. A giving of false values to things which in reality do not possess those values. Personalities differ chiefly in their pattern of values. When the values are largely false, the personality is unstable.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 106)
  • He knew that ahead lay many perils—threats to his bodily welfare. And recently Jarles had come to have a great respect for that bag of flesh and bones which contained his ego.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 117)
  • The idea of brutality actually shocks him, thought Goniface amusedly. I wonder what name he has for the toil we exact of the commoners, and the penances we impose on them?
    • Chapter 13 (p. 126)
  • I suppose that every blundering idealist who hasn’t been brought face to face with the hard facts of life carries, at the back of his mind, a sneaking suspicion that villainy is a very dashing and romantic thing. When your mind turned turtle, or when they turned it for you, your new personality was necessarily fabricated out of all your fragmentary romantic notions of villainy—unlimited ambition and conceit, absolute lack of emotion, and all the rest of the supervillain ideology!
    • Chapter 14 (p. 144)
  • “Dreams mean nothing,” he said coldly. “They are unreal.”
    “They’re as real as anything else,” she shot back at him. “And they merely mean conscience.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 145)
  • “Conscience is only social pressure,” he told her, tense without quite knowing why, “the impulse to submerge your ego in that of the herd, and do what other people want you to because you’re afraid of their censure. Realistic self-interest frees a person from the childish restrictions of conscience.”
    “Are you sure of that, Jarles? What about your dreams? Conscience may be partly what you say it is, but it’s more than that. It’s hearkening to the wisest thoughts that have occurred to the minds of the human race.”
    • Chapter 14 (pp. 145-146)
  • After all, to the truly skeptical mind, diabolic forces are just as reasonable building blocks for the cosmos as mindless electrons. No possibility, however seemingly fantastic, should revolt the truly skeptical mind. It all depends on the evidence. The evidence decides everything.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 195)
  • Goniface was thinking how like his own was the destiny of the whole Hierarchy and of every priest in it. Whether they murdered their families—and their own youth—actually or only in spirit, it amounted to the same thing. They betrayed and deserted them, left them for dead, to enjoy the power and pleasures of a sterile tyrant class.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 207)

Conjure Wife (1953)[edit]

First published in Unknown Worlds in 1943; published as a novel in 1953. All page numbers from the 2009 trade paperback edition published by Orb
  • What is superstition, but misguided, unobjective science? And when it comes down to that, is it to be wondered if people grasp at superstition in this rotten, hate-filled, half-doomed world of today? Lord knows, I'd welcome the blackest of black magic, if it could do anything to stave off the atom bomb.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 26).
  • A scientist ought to have a healthy disregard for coincidences.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 39).
  • Thoughts are dangerous, he told himself, and thoughts against all science, all sanity, all civilized intelligence, are the most dangerous of all.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 106).
  • What was life worth, anyway, if you had to sit around remembering not to mention this, that, and the other thing because someone else might be upset?
    • Chapter 11 (p. 116).
  • Things are different from what I thought. They’re much worse.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 209).

The Green Millennium (1953)[edit]

All page numbers from the May 1976 mass market paperback edition published by Ace (catalog number 30301)
  • He opened his eyes and looked down at his pale chest With the two lone hairs that were a sardonic last farewell from glorious jungle ape-hood.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 2)
  • Hey, am I dreaming?...Or have I really blasted off from behind the hair line? The second question, though not spoken, was quickly suppressed. He felt too good to let it worry him. If this was insanity, then three cheers for paranoia!
    • Chapter 1 (p. 2; ellipsis represents a minor elision of description)
  • The only thing robots couldn’t do, it seemed, was sit in foxholes. That was one place where Phil recalled no mechanical competition.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 5)
  • For a full century now Americans have been living in one of those ages of collective madness and herd delusion, comparable only to the Dutch tulip mania, the witchcraft dread, the dancing madness, Trotskyism, and the Crusades. Until 1950 ours might have been called the Automobile Mania, but now the imagination can only grope for a name—I’m writing an unpopular book on the subject, you see. Not that this current social madness is a deep secret or anything to be startled at. What other results could have been expected when American society began to overvalue on the one hand security, censorship, an imagined world-saving idealism and self-sacrifice in war, and on the other hand insatiable hunger for possessions, fiercely competitive aggressiveness, sadistic male belligerence, contempt for parents and the state, and a fantastically overstimulated sexuality?
    • Chapter 4 (p. 32)
  • They sat in small parties with a truculent quietness that sneered at and challenged the frantic hustle of the times and the belief that the hustle was leading anywhere.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 90)

The Big Time (1958)[edit]

  • What have I always told you about Soldiers? The bigger the gripe, the smaller the cause! It is infallible!
  • I know only too well from a personal experience that is number one on my list of things to be forgotten.
  • It’s this mucking inefficiency and death of the cosmos — and don’t tell me that isn’t in the cards! — masquerading as benign omniscient authority.
  • Nations are as equal as so many madmen or drunkards.
  • In the wake of a Big Change, cultures and individuals are transposed, it’s true, yet in the main they continue much as they were, except for the usual scattering of unfortunate but statistically meaningless accidents.
  • Sometimes I wonder if our memories are as good as we think they are and if the whole past wasn’t once entirely different from anything we remember, and we’ve forgotten that we forgot.
  • Poets are wiser than anyone because they’re the only people who have the guts to think and feel at the same time.
  • Of course, if you assume a big enough conspiracy, you can explain anything, including the cosmos itself.
  • Now is a bearable burden. What buckles the back is the added weight of the past’s mistakes and the future’s fears.
  • For that matter, where did I get off being critical of anyone?

The Silver Eggheads (1962)[edit]

All page numbers from the Del Rey mass market paperback edition, ISBN 0-345-27966-2, 3rd printing, February 1979
  • Humans aren’t as you idealized them, Blanda. Humans are dream-killers. They took the bubbles out of soapsuds, Blanda, and called it detergent. They took the moonlight out of romance and called it sex.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 28)
  • "Excuse me, Gaspard,” Flaxman interjected, “but would you mind turning the emotional down and the factual up?”
    • Chapter 8 (p. 39)
  • Their feeble attempts to appear concerned only made them look to him more like two fat cats full of stolen cream and with a map of the secret tunnel leading to the meat locker tucked inside their fur vests.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 39)
  • “How like humans,” he said drily. “The universe is vast, majestic, intricate, patterned with inexhaustible beauty, vivid with infinitely varied life—and there’s only one thing in it that really interests you. The same thing that makes you buy books, build families, create atomic theories (I imagine) or, once upon a time, write poetry. Sex.”
    • Chapter 26 (p. 116)
  • To Space-Age man, every mystery is a greed-magnet.
    • Chapter 30 (p. 135)

The Wanderer (1964)[edit]

All page numbers from the 2000 paperback edition published by Victor Gollancz
  • I abominate any organization that denies cats are people!
    • Chapter 3.
  • It was always worth everything to get away by himself, climb a bit, and study the heavens.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 26).
  • There was always something new to be seen in the unchanging night sky.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 33).
  • They’ve heard about space but they still don’t believe in it. They haven’t been out here to see for themselves that there isn’t any giant elephant under the earth, holding it up, and a giant tortoise holding up the elephant. If I say “planet” and “spaceship” to them, they still think “horoscope” and “flying saucer”.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 37).
  • Devils may be nothing but beings intent on their purpose, which now happens to collide with yours.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 113).
  • Not for the first time Richard reflected that this age’s vaunted ‘communications industry’ had chiefly provided people and nations with the means of frightening to death and simultaneously boring to extinction themselves and each other.
    • Chapter 21 (p. 158).
  • There was an omnipresent sense of crisis.
    • Chapter 33 (p. 259).
  • The greater the variety of intelligent life Don saw, the more he became sensitive to its presence.
    • Chapter 33 (p. 259).
  • Paul stared out at the randomly scattered, lonely stars and wondered why he had always so easily accepted that they represented order.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 270).
  • Then time seemed to stop, or rather to lose its directional urgency of movement; it became a place in the open where one stood rather than a low, narrow corridor down which one was hurried.
    • Chapter 40 (p. 312).
  • The gods spend the wealth the universe gathers, they scan the wonders and fling them to nothingness. That’s why they’re the gods! I told you they were devils.
    • Chapter 42 (pp. 336-337).
  • What do you care? You always liked loneliness better than you liked people. No offence — liking yourself’s the beginning of all love.
    • Chapter 42 (p. 340).

Our Lady of Darkness (1977)[edit]

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback edition published by Berkley Medallion ISBN 0-425-03660-X
  • Science has only increased the area of the unknown. And if there is a God, her name is Mystery.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 43)
  • You know, all insanity is a form of artistic expression, I often think. Only the person has nothing but himself to work with—he can’t get at outside materials to manipulate them—so he puts all his art into his behavior.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 56)
  • It was funny, though, how the human mind would cast doubt even on itself in order to explain away unusual and unconventional things it had seen vividly and unmistakably. It left you in the middle, the human mind did.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 83)
  • I am up to date only sporadically. I live firmly in the world of art, where reality and fantasy are one.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 89)
  • Now as for thinking your account a tale or story, my dear Franz, to be a good story is to me the highest the highest test of the truth of anything. I make no distinction whatever between reality and fantasy, or the objective and the subjective. All life and all awareness are ultimately one, including intensest pain and death itself. Not all the play need please us, and ends are never comforting. Some things fit together harmoniously and beautifully and startlingly with thrilling discords—those are true—and some do not, and those are merely bad art.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 95)
  • I think all modern cities, especially the crass, newly built, highly industrial ones, should have ghosts. They are a civilizing influence.
    • Chapter 18 (p. 98)
  • What was the whole literature of supernatural horror but an essay to make death itself exciting?—wonder and strangeness to life’s very end.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 166)
  • “You’ve got to believe there’s some sort of sense in everything that crazies say.”
    “All of us.”
    • Chapter 30 (p. 181)

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