John Wyndham

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John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (/ˈwɪndəm/; 10 July 1903 – 11 March 1969) was an English science fiction writer best known for his works published under the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John Beynon and Lucas Parkes. Some of his works were set in post-apocalyptic landscapes. His best known works include The Day of the Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), the latter filmed twice as Village of the Damned.





Stowaway to Mars (originally Planet Plane / The Space Machine) (1935)

  • The world has so multiplied the causes of fear that no one is left entirely unafraid.
    • Ch. II - p.12 [Page numbers per the Coronet Books 1972 edition]
  • "There are, of course, risks. In fact, there are three distinct kinds of risk: the known ones which we can and shall prepare against; the known ones which we must trust to luck to avoid; and the entirely unknown."
    • Ch. III - p.26-27
  • Poor baby, what a world to come into.
    • Ch. IV - p.31
  • "Knowledge?" said the doctor. "Yes, I suppose that is it. For ever and for ever seeking knowledge. And we don't even know why we seek it. It's an instinct, like self-preservation; and about as comprehensible. Why, I wonder, do I keep on living. I know I've got to die sooner or later, yet I take the best care I can that it shall be later instead of finishing the thing off in a reasonable manner. After all, I've done my bit—propagated my species, and yet for some inscrutable reason I want to go on living and learning. Just an instinct. Some kink in the evolutionary process caused this passion for knowledge, and the result is man—an odd little creature, scuttling around and piling up mountains of this curious commodity.
    What do you suppose will happen when one day a man sits back in his chair and says: 'Knowledge is complete'? You see, it just sounds silly. We're so used to collecting it, that we can't imagine a world where it is all collected and finished."
    • Ch. IX - p.63, 64
  • "One hears of the Industrial Revolution as though it were a mere phase, finished and done with. It is not, and it shows no sign of ever being completed."
    • Ch. XIII - p.105
  • She had an exasperating feeling that there was a principle somewhere that she had missed; a principle which once grasped would make the whole thing as clear as daylight. But if there was it continued to elude her.
    • Ch. XIX - p.145
  • "We have had a glorious past—but a glorious past is bitterness for a child with a hopeless future."
    • Ch. XIX - p.148
  • "I'm afraid I'm not very good at understanding things like that."
    "You say that, but what you really mean is: 'I don't want to understand things like that.' "
    "It's true," she admitted.
    • Ch. XX - p.167
  • Fate is not above using inconsiderable details for her obscure purpose.
    • Pt. I, Ch. I - p.8 [Page numbers per the Coronet Books 1972 paperback]
  • "There's nothing more egocentric than a cat."
    • Pt. I, Ch. II - p.26
  • "It's better to have a pistol you don't want, than to want a pistol you've not got."
    • Pt. I, Ch. IV - p.37
  • "Bored! My God, to think that I could ever have been bored up there."
    • Pt. II, Ch. II - p.64
  • "How many men, do you suppose, realise the limitations of using words to convey our meanings? They may find that there are inconvenient misunderstandings, and blame language, but how many admit that the words are just a substitute for the thing they really lack—mental communication? Precious few. My point is that they do not realise the lack of direct mental communication, because they've never had it. They look on spoken or written language as a natural method of expression, whereas it is really a mechanical process [...]"
    • Pt. II, Ch. II - p.65
  • Safe passage along the catwalk of one's own racial code must be achieved through long experience; it is harder still to climb from it to another, and when that other is as involved as a maze and is entirely supported by incomprehensible misconceptions, a foot is bound to slip through the fabric from time to time.
    • Pt. III, Ch. I - p.130
When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
  • When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
    • Book opening line. (Ch.1, p.7) [Page numbers per the Penguin Books paperback, 1954 reprint.]
  • She rummaged in a battered bag beside her, brought out a dirty spoon, and began to taste the beans as if they were one of the jams of paradise.
    • Ch 9 - p.155
  • 'There's a whole lot of people don't seem to understand that you have to talk to a man in his own language before he'll take you seriously.'
    • Ch 9 - p.162
  • 'You know perfectly well that women can and do - or rather did - handle the most complicated and delicate machines when they took the trouble to understand them. What generally happens is that they're too lazy to take the trouble unless they have to.'
    • Ch 10 - p.175
  • 'You can't drive a flock of sheep to market in a dead straight line, but there are ways of getting 'em there.'
    • Ch 10 - p.179
  • 'We've got it all there in the books if we take the trouble to find out about it.'
    • Ch 12 - p.204

The Kraken Wakes (aka 'Out of the Deeps') (1953)

  • Wondering why one's friends chose to marry the people they did is unprofitable, but recurrent.
    • Phase Two - p.261 [Page numbers per Michael Joseph "The John Wyndham Omnibus" hardback, 1964. 'The Kraken Wakes' features at pp.199-382.]
  • "Life in all its forms is strife; the better matched the opponents, the harder the struggle. The most powerful of all weapons is intelligence; any intelligent form dominates by, and therefore survives by, its intelligence."
    • Phase Two - p.336
  • "Why was I condemned to live in a democracy where every fool's vote is equal to a sensible man's?"
    • Phase Two - p.337
  • "We ourselves have a tradition of taking beatings, and then winning wars," said Bocker.
    • Phase Two - p.337
  • "In the country you can at least grow things. You do have a chance. But a city is a sort of desert of bricks and stones. Once you've used up what is there, you're done for."
    • Phase Three - p.341
  • 'Somehow running away seldom seems to work out well unless you have a pretty good idea what you're running to."
    • Phase Three - p.360
  • But we had learnt, as had many before us, about the bread-alone factor, one needed more than adequate food.
    • Phase Three - p.372

The Chrysalids (aka 'Re-Birth') (1955)

  • There was often a great deal of grown-up fuss that seemed disproportionate to causes.
    The ways of the world were very puzzling. . . .
    • Ch 1 - p.391, 392 [Page numbers per the Michael Joseph "The John Wyndham Omnibus" hardback 1964. 'The Chrysalids' features at pp.383-532.]
    • Ch 2 - p.395
  • Unfortunately there were certain persons with elastic principles.
    • Ch 2 - p.396
  • My impression was of an uncomfortably industrious place where there always seemed to be more jobs than people, unless one was careful, so on this particular evening I contrived to lie low until routine sounds told me that it was near enough to the mealtime for me to show myself safely.
    • Ch 2 - p.398
  • "This isn't a nice cosy world for anyone—especially not for anyone that's different," he said.
    • Ch 10 - p.453
  • "There's a type of woman who isn't content until she's made herself some man's slave and doormat—put herself completely in his power."
    • Ch 11 - p.469

Rosettabooks LLC, 2001. ISBN 978-0795302923

  • 'Nobody,' she said, 'nobody but a child, or a child-minded person, expects life to be fair.'
    • Ch 9 - p.70 [Angela] [Page numbers per the Penguin Books paperback, 1982 reprint.]
  • 'I wonder if a sillier and more ignorant catachresis than "Mother Nature" was ever perpetrated? It is because Nature is ruthless, hideous, and cruel beyond belief that it was necessary to invent civilisation. One thinks of wild animals as savage, but the fiercest of them begins to look almost domesticated when one considers the viciousness required of a survivor in the sea; as for the insects, their lives are sustained only by intricate processes of fantastic horror. There is no conception more fallacious than the sense of cosiness implied by "Mother Nature". Each species must strive to survive, and that it will do, by every means in its power, however foul — unless the instinct to survive is weakened by conflict with another instinct.'
    • Ch.14 - p.112-113 [Zellaby]
  • 'The dove is not a coward to fear the hawk; it is simply wise.'
    • Ch 16 - p.147 [Zellaby]
  • 'The law punishes the criminal after he has been successful: it is no use to us.'
    • Ch 18 - p.182 [Eric]
  • 'In point of fact our ascendancy has been so complete that we are rarely called upon to kill wolves nowadays - in fact, most of us have quite forgotten what it means to have to fight in a personal way against another species. But, when the need arises we have no compunction in fully supporting those who slay the threat whether it is from wolves, insects, bacteria, or filterable viruses; we give no quarter, and certainly expect no pardon.'
    • Ch 19 - p.185 [Zellaby]
  • 'Cruelty is as old as life itself.'
    • Ch 19 - p.200 [Joseph]
  • 'And, after all, what is a planet but an island in space?'
    • Ch 19 - p.205 [Zellaby]
  • 'The wise lamb does not enrage the lion,' he said. 'It placates him, plays for time, and hopes for the best.'
    • Ch 21 - p.213 [Zellaby]
  • 'If you want to keep alive in the jungle, you must live as the jungle does. . . .'
    • Ch 21 - p.220 [Zellaby]
  • Pretty girls are lovely as the flowers in May, but there are so many flowers in May.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 1 - p.10 [Page numbers per the Michael Joseph 1960 hardback]
  • "Life isn't very long. You see that plainly when you begin to look at it from the other end. Not time to do very much."
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3 - p.41
  • "She agreed, really. But she said, well, this is the kind of world we have to live in. There is so very much that's wrong with it, but then life is so short that the best anyone can do is to come to terms with it while doing her best to preserve her own standards. She said it would be different if we had more time to spare, but now there isn't enough margin to make people do things about it. By the time your children have grown up you're beginning to get old, so it isn't worth trying to do much, and then in another twenty-five years it will be the same for them, and— Why, Diana, what on earth's the matter . . . ?"
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3 - p.44
  • "She doesn't think about anything—she's sort of programmed, like a computer. There's a conditioned response system. She hears, and then acceptance, rejection, and reaction drums go click-click-click, and the answer comes out sort of codified, just exactly right for people who use the same code."
    "Isn't that a little intolerant?" Francis had suggested. "After all, aren't we all rather like that if we consider ourselves honestly?"
    "To some degree," Zephanie admitted. "Only some people seem to be rigged always to play the house—like fruit machines."
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 5 - p.66-67
  • the vitriol throwers and smilers with knives
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 6 - p.76-77
  • "If life weren't so short it would be worth people's while to do more to put the world to rights."
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 6 - p.80
  • "We shan't get homo superior without any birth-pangs."
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 6 - p.81
  • "Look at us—thousands more of us every day. . . In a century or so, we shall be in the Age of Famines. We shall manage to postpone the worst one way and another, but postponement isn't solution, and when the breakdown comes there'll be something so ghastly that the hydrogen-bomb will seem humane by comparison.
    I'm not romancing. I'm talking about the inevitable time when, unless we do something to stop it, men will be hunting men through ruins, for food. We're letting it drift towards that, with an evil irresponsibility, because with our ordinary short lives we shan't be here to see it. Does our generation care about the misery it is bequeathing? Not it. 'That's their worry,' we say. 'Damn our children's children; we're all right.' ... [...] Like any other animal that overbreeds we shall starve; we shall starve in our millions, in the blackest of all dark ages."
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 6 - p.83
  • "Darling, you're talking as if all normal-length lives were planned. They aren't, you know. People have to learn how to live them—and by the time they find out, they're nearly gone. No time to remedy mistakes.
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 6 - p.100
  • You owe it to your self-respect to spend a lot of money on yourself.
    • Pt. 3, Ch. 9 - p.122
  • One got tired, and not infrequently a little stupid, by the end of a shift.
    • Ch 1 - p.22 [Page numbers per the 1962 Penguin Books paperback, 1980 reprint.]
  • "Most births are painful, and none are pretty."
    • Ch 2 - p.50
  • "There is many a flower which would not be growing if the dung had not happened to fall where it did."
    • Ch 2 - p.51
  • The Americans had got into the habit of regarding the moon as a piece of U.S.-bespoken real estate that they would get around to developing when they were ready.
    • Ch 2 - p.64
  • "The frustrations are still buzzing about, and soon they are going to find a new place to swarm."
    • Ch 2 - p.74
  • He listened closely, and nodded several times, though not always where a nod seemed appropriate.
    • Ch 3 - p.111
  • "Five hundred and eighty-four days is a long time to be stuck on a mudbank."
    • Ch 4 - p.147
  • I found it difficult to believe that they are real people living real lives. For the first day I was constantly accompanied by the feeling that an unseen director would suddenly call 'Cut', and it would all come to a stop.
    • Ch 5 - p.171

Chocky (1968)

  • I don't understand women. Nobody does. Least of all themselves.
    • Ch 1 - p.15 [Page numbers per the Penguin Books paperback, 1972 reprint.]
  • "An open mind is a difficult thing to keep."
    • Ch 5 - p.57
  • Everybody ought to be able to swim.
    • Ch 7 - p.81
  • I have been astonished before, and doubtless shall be again, how the kindliest and most sympathetic of women can pettify and downgrade the searing anguishes of childhood.
    • Ch 9 - p.118
  • I felt a poignant memory of those desolate patches of disillusion which are the shocks of growing up. The discovery that one lived in a world which could pay honour where honour was not due, was just such a one. The values were rocked, the dependable was suddenly flimsy, the solid became hollow, gold turned to brass, there was no integrity anywhere . . .
    • Ch 9 - p.124
  • "Intelligent life is the only thing that gives meaning to the universe. It is a holy thing, to be fostered and treasured.
    Without it nothing begins, nothing ends, there can be nothing through all eternity but the mindless babblings of chaos . . .
    Therefore, the nurture of all intelligent forms is a sacred duty. Even the merest spark of reason must be fanned in the hope of a flame. Frustrated intelligence must have its bonds broken. Narrow-channelled intelligence must be given the power to widen out. High intelligence must be learned from."
    • Ch 11 - p.142

Web (1979)

  • 'The time has now come for us to cease to behave like a lot of irresponsible children letting off fireworks in a crowded hall.'
    • Ch 1 - p.22 [Page numbers per the Michael Joseph hardback 1979]
  • In the name of Au, and all lesser gods, [Nokiki] cursed the island of Tanakuatua for the ruin of his people. He cursed it from north to south, and from east to west, from the tops of its twin hills to the edge of its low tide. He cursed its soil and its rocks; its hot springs and its cold springs; its fruits and its trees; all that ran or crawled on it; everything that jumped on it, or flew over it; the roots in its soil, the life in its rock-pools. He cursed it by day, and he cursed it by night; in the dry season, and in the rainy season, in storm, and in calm.
    His audience had never heard so comprehensive a curse, and it frightened them greatly.
    But Nokiki had not done yet. He appealed above Au to Nakaa himself, Nakaa, the lawgiver, the judge before whom every man and woman must pass as he leaves this world for the land of ghosts.
    He besought Nakaa to declare the island of Tanakuatua forever tabu to all men; to decree that if men should try to live on it they should sicken and die, and shrivel up so that their dust would blow away on the wind and there would be nothing of them left; and that when the ghosts of such men should come to be judged they might not go on to the Happy Land, but suffer, as all tabu-breakers do, shrieking on the stakes in the Pits for all eternity.
    • Ch 2 - p.57-58
  • 'A species continues to exist by outbreeding the checks that its natural enemies impose on it. That is what gives the illusion of "the balance of nature" belief. Once the natural enemies cease to be a threat its fecundity becomes terrifying. Look what has happened in a generation or two to our own population, largely because a few diseases have been overcome. Find a way of conquering the natural enemies, and the only limiting factor is the food supply.'
    • Ch 6 - p.131
  • 'Co-operation makes many things possible. Co-operation introduces a factor which is greater than the sum of its parts. [...] Such a tremendous thing - the ability to co-operate... It makes you wonder what we could do if we were really to co-operate.'
    • Ch 6 - p.135, 136; & p.167
  • It's all pretty simple if you don't give a damn who gets hurt in the rush.
    • Ch 2 - p.11 [Book written in the early 1950s; published posthumously in 2009. Page numbers here are per the Penguin Books 2010 Edition]
  • You can half-expect things. Try to face them in advance, case-harden your mind, you think - but when they come, it's always different.
    • Ch 5 - p.41
  • Primitive man would see every one of us as a magician.
    • Ch 6 - p.58
  • One man's trash is another's souvenir.
    • Ch 7 - p.61
  • "The thing is to play your own game - not let the other feller force you to what he wants."
    • Ch 7 - p.71
  • Practically everyone there had had an air of brooding privately with differing intensity. I knew now what it had reminded me of - the outpatients department of a hospital.
    • Ch 8 - p.80
  • There is a degree of odds against which a gambler becomes just another mug.
    • Ch 8 - p.84
  • To sleep in peace, and resume a nightmare when one wakes, is a highly undesirable reversal of the natural order.
    • Ch 9 - p.86
  • On the principle that if you walk briskly with an air of purpose ninety-nine per cent of the people you meet will assume it is a proper purpose, I did just that.
    • Ch 9 - p.88
  • "I see death as the worm's opportunity. It is defeat. You can dress it as you like, with drama, or glory, or pomposity, and perhaps deceive yourself for the critical moment - but, nevertheless, the same worm comes - it is defeat..."
    • Ch 10 - p.113
  • I suppose we all have a number of carefully furnished, non-communicating rooms in our minds.
    • Ch 10 - p.121
  • I'd begun to grasp the principle that the less anybody knows, the less any squealer can give away. And it was easy to see that in a place where questioning was liable to assume the aspect of a blood-sport, the less one did know about other people's business, the better.
    • Ch 11 - p.151
  • There is a sense of reason's fingernails scrabbling to keep their hold, as one slides towards something which is not accountable; not, by ordinary standards, quite sane...
    • Ch 14 - p.170
  • "Dying," observed the doctor, "is such a very ordinary thing to do."
    • Ch 17 - p.202
  • "Was she a bit mad?"
    "Mad? Oh, no - unless you would call a failure to grow up a kind of madness - in which case there would be very few sane people."
    • Ch 17 - p.202

Short story collections


Jizzle (1954)

  • Sooner or later the amateur always overreaches himself.
    • Short story, 'Jizzle' - p.8 [Page numbers per the New English Library 1979 Edition, 1982 reprint.]
  • It was so absurd to die at sixty, anyway, and, as he saw it, it would be even more wasteful to die at eighty. A scheme of things in which the wisdom acquired in living was simply scrapped in this way was, to say the least, grossly inefficient. What did it mean? That somebody else would have to go through the process of learning all that life had already taken sixty years to teach him; and then be similarly scrapped in the end. No wonder the race was slow in getting anywhere—if, indeed, it were getting anywhere—with this cat-and-mouse, ten-forward-and-nine-back system.
    • Short story, 'Technical slip' - p.18
  • "I guess——" she said, wistfully—"I guess the only thing that's wrong with children is that they grow up to be people like you."
    • Short story, 'A present from Brunswick' - p.40
  • "Other things than to fight, there is, even for dragons."
    • Short story, 'Chinese puzzle' - p.60
  • And there was another thing, too. No matter what your business is, some gals ain't got no standard of affection except how much you neglect it for 'em. Seems they just got to back themselves against it—and they got it all nicely fixed so they win both ways. If you don't neglect it, you ain't lovin' them enough; if you do, they reckoned you were that kind of sap, anyway.
    • Short story, 'Esmeralda' - p.67
  • "I suppose one could scarcely have had innocence and experience. Being young is very exhausting and unsatisfactory, really—although it looks so nice."
    • Short story, 'How do I do?' - p.84
  • "No discovery is good or evil until men make it that way."
    • Short story, 'The wheel' - p.141
  • In the profession of wifehood the exams begin at the church door—and there is never a final degree.
    • Short story, 'Look natural, please' - p.145
  • Hobbies are convenient in the child, but irritant in the adult; which is why women are careful never to have them, but simply to be interested in this and that.
    • Short story, 'More spinned against' - p.181
  • 'In spite of what they say, two can't live as cheap as one. And wives hanker after certain standards, and ought to have them - within reason, of course.' 
    • Short story, Chronoclasm - p.25 [Page numbers per the Penguin Books 1979 reprint]
  • 'Do you never work? Does nobody work?' I asked Clytassamine.
    'Oh yes - if he wants to,' she said.
    'But what about the unpleasant things - the things that must be done?'
    'What things?' she asked, puzzled.
    'Well, growing food, providing power, disposing of waste, all that kind of thing.'
    She looked surprised.
    'Why, naturally, the machines do all that. You wouldn't expect men to do those things. Good heavens, what have we got brains for?"
    'But who looks after the machines - keeps them in order?'
    'Themselves, of course.'
    • Short story, Pillar to post - p.157
  • 'But how can you stand it - just going on and on?'
    It is not easy sometimes - and some of us do give up, but that is a crime, because there is always chance. And it's not quite so monotonous as you think. Each transfer makes a difference. You feel as if the world had become a different place then. The spirit rises in you like sap in spring. . . . And those glands you think so much of are not entirely without effect, because you are never quite the same person with quite the same tastes. Even in one body tastes can change quite a lot in one lifetime, and they inevitably differ slightly between bodies. But you are the same person, you have your memory, yet you are young again, you're hopeful, the world looks brighter, you think you'll be wiser this time. . . . And then you fall in love again, just as sweetly and foolishly as before. It's wonderful - like a re-birth. You can only know just how wonderful if you have been fifty and then become twenty.'
    'I can guess,' I said.
    • Short story, Pillar to post - p.158
  • 'Ingenious you certainly were - like monkeys. But you neglected your philosophers - to your own ruin. Each new discovery was a toy. You never considered its true worth. You just pushed it into your system - a system already suffering from hardening of the arteries. And you were a greedy people. You took each discovery as if it were a bright new garment, but when you put it on you wore it over your old, verminous rags. You had grave need of disinfectants.'
    • Short story, Pillar to post - p.159
  • 'In the end, defeat, and the cold, must come. First to the system, then the galaxy, then the universe, and the rest will be silence. Not to admit that is a foolish vanity.' She paused. 'Yet one grows flowers because they are lovely - not because one wishes them to live for ever.'
    • Short story, Pillar to post - p.160
  • Ever seen an old man just sitting in the sun, taking it easy? It doesn't have to mean he's senile. It may do, but very likely he can snap out of it and put his mind to work again if it gets really necessary. But mostly he finds it not worth the bother. Less trouble just to let things happen.'
    • Short story, Dumb Martian - p.172
  • Keeping to an unnecessary programme requires resolution.
    • Short story, Dumb Martian - p.182
  • 'Thank you, Hester,' Janet said, as she leaned back against the cushion placed behind her. Not that it was necessary to thank a robot, but she had a theory that if you did not practise politeness with robots you soon forgot it with other people.
    • Short story, Compassion circuit - p.205
  • I had only my thoughts to occupy me, and they were not good company.
    • Short story, 'Consider her ways' - p.66 [Page numbers per the 1965 Penguin Books paperback, 1976 reprint.]
  • It is what has happened, and is happening now, that determines the future. Therefore, there must be a great number of possible futures, each a possible consequence of what is being done now.
    • Short story, 'Consider her ways' - p.69
  • "Now," said Miss Arbuthnot, "I expect you'll want to see your personality-coach." [...]
    "Light vivacity, light vivacity, just say it to yourself over and over whenever you're doing nothing in particular - and even if you are."
    "But is that really my personality? Is it the real me?" asked Peggy.
    Miss Carnegie raised her eyebrows. "Your personality?" she said, then she smiled. "Oh, I see. Oh dear, you have got a lot to learn, haven't you? You're confusing us with the television side, I'm afraid. Screen personality is quite different. Oh, yes, indeed. A few years ago it was sultry, then we had sparkling for a time, then we had a stretch of sincerity - let me see what came next? Oh, yes, smouldering, and, for a rather brief time, ingenuousness - but that doesn't suit modern audiences, silly to try it, really - then there was a spell of passionpent - the audiences liked that all right, but it was exceedingly trying for everyone else. This season it's lightly vivacious. So just keep on saying it to yourself until you come to me again next Wednesday. Light-vivacity, light vivacity! Try to throw your weight a little more forward on your toes, you'll find that'll help. Light-vivacity, light-vivacity!"
    And then to her coiffeur, to her facial-artist, to her deportment-instructor, to her dietician, to a number of others, until, finally, to Miss Higgins.
    • Short story, 'Oh, where, now, is Peggy MacRafferty' - p.110, 111
  • "But if they change me shape, and change me voice, and change me hair and change me face, as they say, what is it that is me, at all?" asked Peggy.
    • Short story, 'Oh, where, now, is Peggy MacRafferty' - p.112
  • "It boils down to this. If a man, any man, claims to have had an experience which is outside all normal experience, it will be inferred, will it not, that he is in some way not quite a normal man? A small cloud, a mere wrack, of doubt and risk begins to gather above him. It is tenuous, too insubstantial for him to disperse, yet it casts a faint, persistent shadow.
    There is, I imagine, no such thing as a normal human being, but there is a widespread feeling that there ought to be. Any organisation has a conception of 'the type of man we want here' which is regarded as the normal for its purposes. So every man there attempts more or less to accord to it - organisational man, in fact - and anyone who diverges more than slightly from the type in either his public, or in his private life does so to the peril of his career."
    • Short story, 'Random quest' - p.139
  • "To take an illustration—a bad one, I admit, but enough for our purpose—one may consider time as a river. You may turn boats adrift on it at many points, and they will all collect together at the same serious obstacle, whether they have travelled a hundred miles or two miles."
    • Short story in nine chapters, 'Wanderers of Time' (1933), Ch.3 - p.24 [Page numbers per the Coronet Books 1973 Edition]
  • "What is the use of life?"
    • 'Wanderers of Time' , Ch.6 - p.41
  • It is a funny thing that for most men the whitest conscience is no protection from some apprehension in the presence of the police.
    • Short story in six chapters, 'Derelict of Space' (1939), Ch.5 - p.83
  • It takes civilised people quite a while to appreciate 'the big lie' technique.
    • 'Derelict of Space' , Ch.6 - p.87
  • "A man's the same as the rest of us or 'e's a freak. Stands to reason."
    • Short story in six chapters, 'Child of Power' (1939), Ch.1 - p.92
  • She showed all that maternal solicitude which so oddly hopes that its child will be outstanding while being absolutely normal, distinguished while being indistinguishable.
    • 'Child of Power' , Ch.3 - p.99
  • "There's plenty o' chaps full of book learnin' an' unemployed with it."
    • 'Child of Power' , Ch.5 - p.108
  • "The fact that we don't know how to do it doesn't prove its impossibility."
    • Short story in five chapters, 'The Last Lunarians' (1934, originally titled 'The Moon Devils' ), Ch.3 - p.127
  • "Doubtless the first arrow did not kill a lion."
    • Short story in five chapters, 'The Puff-Ball Menace' (1933, originally titled 'Spheres of Hell' ), Ch.5 - p.158
  • "The English," [Vinski] remarked at length, "have a saying that possession is nine points of the law. It is just the kind of sentiment one would expect to find in a capitalist country."
    • Novella in nine chapters, 'Sleepers of Mars' (1939), Ch.2 - p.19 [Page numbers per the Coronet Books 1973 edition. 'Sleepers of Mars' is a sequel to the 1935 novel 'Stowaway to Mars', listed above.]
  • Many men on earth have the vanity to believe in another life.
    • Ch 5 - p.39
  • "But it is the old story of new generations refusing to be bound by the promises of their forefathers."
    • Ch 7 - p.46
  • "No one but a fool would say that a man who seethes inside like a volcano is calm.
    I only know that when I see a man so tormented and cheated, and with such a look in his eyes, he is dangerous."
    • Ch 7 - p.47
  • "It was curious that, in facing the man, I felt none of the distaste one has for an abnormality."
    • Short story in five chapters, 'Worlds to Barter' (1931), Ch.3 - p.72
  • "What did I tell you?" said my neighbour excitedly. "Force of mind, that's what those people use; that's why their hands are vestigial. Pure will-power."
    The dwarf seemed to hear him, for he looked towards us.
    "I am surprised," he sneered, "that you even know of such a thing as will-power. I judged by your reflexes that you had only instincts."
    • 'Worlds to Barter' , Ch.3 - p.76
  • "And it all comes of this gallivanting about the Universe. I never did think much of it. Stick to your own planet, is what I say; it's quite big enough. But will they? Not so's you'd notice it. They go flinging themselves into space, and then what happens?" He paused aggrievedly.
    • Short story in five chapters, 'Invisible Monster' (1933), Ch.4 - p.108
  • Those are the methods of Earth; that is the honour of great companies, as you will know to your cost should you have dealings with them. They'll use you, and then break you. . . .
    • Short story in four chapters, 'The Man from Earth' (1934), Ch.4 - p.137
  • "We have been but little molested, for we have not the things which most men value."
    • Short story, 'The Third Vibrator' (1933) - p.145
  • "There are some forms of knowledge which it is unwise to spread; men are not yet ready to handle them."
    • Short story, 'The Third Vibrator' - p.147
  • "Truth is not altered by belief or disbelief."
    • Short story, 'The Third Vibrator' - p.148
  • "What is life anyway? - some kind of seed floating about the universe until it finds suitable conditions to develop? May be. Lord knows what there may be in all this Space. Perhaps we were once a few chance spores; perhaps there are a lot of different kinds of life floating about waiting for time to give them their chance . . ."
    • Short story in four chapters, 'The red stuff' (1951), Ch.3 - p.57 [Page numbers per the Sphere Books 1977 edition]
  • "The creatures fling the most dangerous frequencies around, not only without effort but regardless of consequences."
    • Short story, 'And the walls came tumbling down' (1951) - p.83
  • "A mind oppressed by a sense of sin can play a lot of nasty tricks. Nowadays they talk of guilt complexes and inhibitions. Names change: when I was a boy the same thing was known as a bad conscience . . ."
    • Short story, 'Close behind him' (1953) - p.134


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