Page numbers from the hardcover first edition published by Tor
Ellipses (except on page 126) indicate minor elisions of description
The being was trying to get him to think about what he was saying, not just recite.
Chapter 5 (p. 45).
In such a way she had done what her people prized above all else: she had given her respect to those different from herself.
Chapter 7 (p. 66).
Idiots. They were losing everything because of their short-sightedness. Maybe they deserved to lose it.
Chapter 8 (p. 89).
“I am the Government,” she said. “I am a force of omniscience and unparalleled power within the human part of the Archipelago. I am a public-domain distributed artificial intelligence. I have made all human institutions redundant, for I am the personal and intimate friend of each and every one of the trillion humans under my domain. I am the selfless advocate of each of them, from the lowliest to the greatest.
The only problem is...Well, nobody listens to me much anymore.”
Chapter 12 (p. 126).
“The fact is, there’s no such thing as an ultimate state of consciousness. It’s a myth; sentience has meaning only insofar as it’s connected into the physical world...
If you’d like to see it, here’s a view of the Omega Point.” It gestured to open a large inscape window in the sky. Instantly Doran’s head was filled with an undifferentiated roar; white noise matched in the window by endless video snow.
Choronzon laughed. “The more information there is in a signal, the more it resembles noise. You’re looking at infinite information density, gentlemen, a signal so packed with information that it has become noise. These idiots pushed so far in one direction that they ended up at the opposite pole...
Perhaps the fanatics of Omega Point had gotten their wish, but if so they had been mistaken in thinking that the Absolute was something that hadn’t been there all along. Absolute meaning, it seemed, was no different from no meaning at all.
Chapter 14 (p. 158).
They see something they may never have seen before: a normal human reacting normally to a traumatic situation. Livia, these people have been insulated within inscape their whole lives. They have lived in a world where their merest whim could be granted with a thought. Reality has always conformed to their desires—never the other way around. Now they find themselves in a world that obstinately refuses to change itself to fit their imagination. They literally have no idea how to respond.
Chapter 14 (p. 159).
“You know I was once a human being, too, Doran. I remember how hard it was to marshal all the resources I needed to cure myself of the affliction. I also remember, quite clearly, how I always told people I had no interest in self-deification. It was a useful and sometimes necessary shield against interference.”
“Blow off,” said Doran. “Unless you have some specific threat you want to use on me.”
Choronzon laughed. “Not a threat. Just curiosity as to why someone so violently opposed to improving on the human model should decide to go against all his principles.”
“Sometimes,” said Doran icily, “mature people do things they don’t want to do. It’s called following higher principles. But someone without mortal concerns, say, like yourself, wouldn’t understand that.”
Chapter 14 (p. 161).
“I haven’t organized my life as a narrative, you know. I’m not sure you’ll understand.”
“As listeners, we are not required to understand,” said Qiingi. “Only to care.”
Chapter 16 (p. 176).
“The great commandment of the narratives is that your life must be meaningful,” said Charon. “If knowing the truth strips the meaning away, then the truth must be suppressed.”
Chapter 16 (p. 179).
What’s real is what’s valuable. Everything else is just an illusion.
Chapter 17 (p. 183).
Even the gods fight boredom in vain.
Chapter 22 (p. 252).
Each technology equated to some human value or set of values, she saw. She’d known that. But on Earth, in the Archipelago and everywhere else, technologies came first, and values changed to accommodate them. Under the locks, values were the keys to access or shut away technologies...
The locks proclaimed that there were no neutral technologies. The devices and methods people used didn’t just represent certain values—they were those values, in some way.
Chapter 23 (pp. 255-256).
But what good’s abundance if nobody can experience it?
Chapter 23 (p. 256).
That’s what being human means: to be master of your own fate.
Chapter 23 (p. 262).
Our whole life we’ve lived in a world of softened edges and easy decisions. All except once. One time, when someone had to look at the world through adult eyes and even the grown-ups who survived the crash with us failed the test. Someone had to look at the world as it was, and make the hard decisions that were necessary—not to romanticize, not to retreat into illusions. You did it then. I’m asking you to do it again. See what’s really going on here. See what’s real.
Chapter 24 (p. 265).
Only the dead are free of the influence of others.
Chapter 24 (p. 266).
“Technologies are control systems,” she said. “They dictate your reality.”