Leigh Brackett

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Leigh Brackett, 1941

Leigh Brackett (December 7, 1915 – March 18, 1978) was an American writer, particularly of science fiction, and a screenwriter.


The Long Tomorrow (1955)[edit]

No page numbers, as all quotes are from the e-book edition published by Phoenix Pick ISBN 978-1-61242-014-1
Nominated for the 1956 Hugo Award.
  • He could hear Pa’s voice saying, “A man’s religion, his sect, is his own affair. But those people have no religion or sect. They’re a mob, with a mob’s fear and cruelty, and with half-crazy, cunning men stirring them up against others.”
    • Chapter 1
  • “Why did they do it?” he asked.
    “Because they’re afraid.”
    “Of what?”
    “Of yesterday,” said Mr. Hostetter. “Of tomorrow.”
    • Chapter 2
  • There’s never been an act done since the beginning, from a kid stealing candy to a dictator committing genocide, that the person doing it didn’t think he was fully justified. That’s a mental trick called rationalizing, and it’s done the human race more harm than anything else you can name.
    • Chapter 14
  • “Will it always stay like this?”
    “Nothing,” said Hostetter, “ever stays always like anything.”
    • Chapter 16
  • “I guess we’ve got a lot to learn.”
    “Quite a lot,” said Hostetter thoughtfully. “It won’t be easy, either. So many things will jar against every belief you’ve grown up with, and I don’t care how you scoff at it, some of it sticks to you.”
    • Chapter 16
  • You can’t destroy knowledge. You can stamp it under and burn it up and forbid it to be, but somewhere it will survive.
    • Chapter 21
  • “I grew up with the idea of it,” said Hostetter. “Nobody ever taught me that it was evil or forbidden, or that God had put a curse on it, and that’s the difference.”
    • Chapter 23
  • “Was he trying to frighten you?”
    “I don’t think so,” said Len. “I think he was just telling me the truth.”
    • Chapter 23
  • “I thought they knew,” Len said. “I thought they were sure of it.”
    “Research isn’t done that way.”
    “But how can they spend all that time, and maybe that much more again, if they know it might be all for nothing?”
    “Because how would they know if they didn’t try? And because there isn’t any other way to do it.”
    • Chapter 26
  • “Hell, how do you think the human race ever learned anything, except by trial and error?”
    “But it all takes such a long, long time,” said Len.”
    “Everything takes a long time. Birthing takes nine months, and dying takes you all the rest of your life, and what are you complaining about, anyway?”
    • Chapter 26
  • No matter which way I go I know now that I will never have peace.
    For peace is certainty, and there is no certainty but death.
    • Chapter 29
  • I am finished with running. Now I will stop and choose my way.
    Sooner or later a man has to stop and choose his way, not out of the ways he would like there to be, or the ways there ought to be, but out of the ways there are.
    • Chapter 29
  • Knowledge is not like sin. There is no mystical escape from it.
    • Chapter 30
  • I have let it blow through me, and it is just a wind. I have let the words sound in my ears, and they are nothing but words, spoken by an ignorant man with a dusty beard. They do not stir me, they do not touch me. I am done with them, too.
    I know now what lies across the land, the slow and heavy weight. They call it faith, but it is not faith. It is fear. The people have clapped a shelter over their heads, a necessity of ignorance, a passion of retreat, and they have called it God, and worshiped it.
    • Chapter 30
  • But for today, yesterday, tomorrow, it is not important. Time goes on without any of us. Only a belief, a state of mind, endures, and even that changes constantly, but underneath there are two main kinds—the one that says, Here you must stop knowing, and the other which says, Learn.
    Right or wrong, the fruit was eaten, and there can’t ever be a going back.
    I have made my choice.
    • Chapter 30

The Ginger Star (1974)[edit]

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-23963-6
  • With any luck. Stark smiled cynically. Not that he did not believe in luck. Rather, he had found it to be an uncertain ally.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 18)
  • The man who doesn’t fear, doesn’t live long. I fear everything.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 32)
  • There was a smell in the air now. The hot, close, frightening small of mob; mob excited, hungry, dreaming blood and death. The primitive in Stark knew that sweaty acridity all too well.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 45)
  • The mountains dwindled away into hills covered with a dark, stunted scrub. Beyond them the land flattened out to the horizon, a treeless immensity of white and gray-green, a spongy mossiness flecked with a million icy ponds. The wind blew, sometimes hard, sometimes harder.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 63)
  • I can’t tell you if the stories are true. Men lie without meaning to. They talk as if they had been part of a thing that happened to someone they never knew and only heard of by sixth remove.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 65)
  • “Better to make haste slowly than not at all,” said Amnir sententiously.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 74)
  • Stark did not like them. There was a touch of madness in them, born of the long dark and the too-long-held faith.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 102)
  • The Thyrans came on, as merciless as time.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 125)
  • Stark said wearily, “I don’t think you understand.” Normally he was tolerant of tribal fancies, but he felt no great tenderness for the Outdwellers. “The stars are already defiled. They’re only suns, like that one over your head. They have worlds around them, like this one under your feet. People live on those worlds, people who never heard of Outdwellers or their footling goddess. And the starships fly between them. It’s all going on out there, this second as you stand here, and nothing you can do will stop it.”
    • Chapter 15 (pp. 126-127)
  • “Aren’t you even curious?” he asked. “A million worlds out there with more wonders than I could tell you in a million years, and you don’t even want to ask a question?”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 128)
  • Under the attentiveness was fear, and something else. Anger, hate—the instinctive rejection of an intolerable truth.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 149)
  • Invisibility is a condition of godhead. If folk could see them, they would know the truth, and the Lords Protector would cease to be divine.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 151)

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