Melinda M. Snodgrass

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Melinda M. Snodgrass (born November 27, 1951 in Los Angeles) is a professional writer best known for her science fiction works in both print and television media.


Queen's Gambit Declined (1989)[edit]

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback first edition published by Popular Library ISBN 0-445-20767-1
  • If you do not act, the world dies, and you with it. Surely survival is worth a little effort? Unless you are so eager to retire to that dismal heaven of your Christian god?
    • Chapter 2 (p. 21)
  • Your passion and loyalty do you credit, Hans, but they do little to convince me that you also possess a brain.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 25)
  • William too closed his eyes and prayed, but his world had lost its anchor. The Calvinist code which had dominated and supported him throughout his life seemed unequal to his present confusion. It was now apparent that predestination was a meaningless concept—certainly to one who had been told that his actions would directly affect the outcome of history for all time. But did that necessarily negate his faith entirely? Copernicus established that the earth orbited around the sun. Did God die in that moment?
    Or did man merely understand a little better?
    • Chapter 5 (p. 69)
  • Magic is only useful against those with an affinity to magic.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 76)
  • “His heart and mind must be pure. He must put aside fornication—”
    Sagitta chuckled. “Dear Father, sex is the ultimate creative power. Your faith’s rejection of that principle will be its downfall.”
    • Chapter 7 (p. 86)
  • “I want so much.”
    Haakon laid a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “So do we all.”
    The prince straightened. “And only in death do we find contentment.”
    “Lowering thought. Is there to be no happiness in life then?”
    “I think not. Each moment of joy must be paid for by a moment of equal pain.”
    “You Dutch merchants, always keeping the books in balance. Do you see God as an accountant?”
    William smiled slightly. “If he is he’s a shockingly bad one. I’m more than due for some joy.”
    Haakon caught Barbarossa’s reins near the bit and drew the two chargers to a halt. “Then find it in the moment, H. H. Find it in the moment.”
    • Chapter 7 (pp. 86-87)
  • “I confess a fascination and love for clocks.”
    “Why?” asked Sagitta.
    “There is something so reassuring about a device which echoes the movements of stars and sun and planets.”
    “To seek to understand the spheres is to dull their music,” said the girl softly.
    “I don’t agree. The better one understands, the more one can appreciate,” replied William.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 88)
  • “What magic is this” asked one young German thickly.
    ”Not magic. Science. Preferable to magic.”
    “Oh really?” said Sagitta in a freezing tone, and William blushed.
    “You yourself have said there are very few people with the talent of magic. Science is open to all.”
    “When knowledge ends, only faith remains,” said Armand.
    “So we should abandon the pursuit of knowledge lest we diminish faith? That’s stupid,” said William belligerently.
    “The simple folk of village and cottage are happier if they’re not confused with things beyond their understanding,” declared Sagitta.
    “Sagitta, how do we know it’s beyond their understanding?”
    “Because if it weren’t they wouldn’t be common,” cried Solms-Braunfels, and there was another shout of laughter from the table.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 89)
  • Expediency is the god of princes.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 108)
  • There is no kindness at courts, only greed and lies and pain.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 157)
  • He suddenly remembered Prince John Maurice’s assessment of the situation in a recent letter: The government lost its head, the people its heart, the country its hope.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 190)
  • “Terrible things have happened. The de Witts are killed.”
    “Is this so terrible? They have been your foes from the moment of your birth, and though out of power would have continued to conspire against you.”
    “Sagi, if we must needs kill our opponents then civilization is a chimera. Governments are formed so that men may disagree without murder, and I tell you true, I loathe a mob more than anything.”
    “They acted out of love for you.”
    “That does not comfort me.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 195)
  • Clouds boiled like a brooding frown in the west, and the sun drew fire from them as it sank burning and orange into their billowing embrace.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 219)
  • William Henry, when you were my student you honored me by noting down my words and philosophical maunderings. What said I on the subject of hate?”
    “A strong man hates no one, is enraged with no one,” whispered William.
    Spinoza continued. “He who lives under the guidance of reason endeavors as much as possible to repay hatred with love and nobleness. He who wished to avenge injuries by reciprocal hatred will live in misery. Hatred is increased by reciprocated hatred, and, on the contrary, can be demolished by love.”
    • Chapter 17 (p. 224)
  • William, please. Heed your heart.”
    He thrust his foot into the stirrup. “No, it’s a singularly unreliable organ. I think I’ll use my mind, and...consider.”
    • Chapter 18 (p. 231)
  • “We are penetrating the mysteries of the cosmos, and the secrets of life at its smaller levels.”
    And it is wrong. You must grasp the purity of the whole, not tear from the Goddess the secrets of her heart.”
    Spinoza says that the more we understand individual objects, the more we understand God. I think that is a very profound statement. Why does your goddess fear what my God does not?
    “The mechanistic path has led mankind to terror and suffering.”
    “No, ignorance and hatred and intolerance have led mankind to terror and suffering. And not all of our discoveries lead to death.”
    • Chapter 18 (p. 237)

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