Michael Kurland

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Michael Kurland (born March 1, 1938) is an American author, best known for his works of science fiction and detective fiction.


The Unicorn Girl (1969)[edit]

All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Pyramid Books (X-1990)
  • “You’re from Liverpool, of course,” He was very proud of his ability to place different accents.
    “No,” Sylvia told him. “Boston.”
    • Chapter 1 (pp. 9-10)
  • “A lot of things seem to be happening, all at once,” I told Chester.
    “Enemy action,” he replied.
    “That’s what you told me once. An old Army motto you found when you were doing those war books. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. This is the third time.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 22)
    • Kurland is actually quoting here from Ian Fleming’s novel Goldfinger
  • I am not in the habit of letting someone else decide what I can and cannot do.
    • Chapter 4 (pp. 37-38)
  • “Well, what that means is that it doesn’t happen very often. Now it’s happened to one small group of people—us—twice in a short time. That would seem to indicate that,” he ticked a finger, “something’s seriously out of whack in general, or,” he ticked the next finger, “someone’s out to get us in particular; which I feel is quite unlikely. At times in my paranoid past I would have assumed that the Universe is teaming up to get me, but now I’m more objective and I don’t believe that. I think it, but I don’t believe it.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 40)
  • God is just,” he said.
    “Just what?” I asked.
    “Just watching.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 61)
  • The trains take us anywhere we want on earth. They’re very fast and dependable. If I remember from history we tried personal mechanical vehicles for a short time, but gave them up as a bad idea. They smell up the road, take up too much room, caused many accidents and just proved a general nuisance.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 95)
  • “A curious mixture, you,” I said, pulling her firmly toward me over the bowl of cement and commencing a lengthy kiss of agreement, exploration, adoration and lust.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 96)
  • “How are you on the high wire?”
    “Wire walking? It’s simple. Any child of ten can do it—with about fourteen years practice.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 117)
  • I don’t like eating in the dark. Dimly lit restaurants always make me think they’re trying to hide the food.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 130)
  • An amphibophile is the sort of girl who goes around kissing princes in the hope that one of them will turn into a frog.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 137)

Tomorrow Knight (1976)[edit]

All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Daw Books (UY1220)
  • They were a well-behaved group, too; getting in trouble often enough so there could be no doubt about their masculinity, but not enough so that the discipline officer would remember any of their names.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 25)
  • “Good thinking,” the tall man agreed. “In this case it’s not true, but it is good thinking.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 57)
  • “I mistrust these artificial things,” O’Malley said. “Food doesn’t grow surrounded by tinfoil.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 59)
  • “I’ve been taught certain things all my life,” she said. “Just as you have. I’m just as much a prisoner of my training and my environment as you are of yours.”
    “I never thought that I was,” Carl said.
    Alyssaunde took his hand. “Neither did I,” she said.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 65)
  • “Any truth,” Chester said, “no matter how obscure, or seemingly unimportant, is a piece of the mosaic and a step toward completion.”
    • Chapter 8 (p. 83)
  • It was obvious that insufficient education was a serious handicap.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 101)
  • It’s what a man thinks is true which controls his actions, not what is really true.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 138)

Ten Little Wizards (1988)[edit]

All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Ace Books ISBN 0-441-80057-2
  • He could have assigned this part of the job to another, but it was not in his conception of his duties to do so. The shorter the chain, the less chance for a broken link.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 13)
  • It had been a long time ago, when life had been less complex. Or, perhaps, it had only seemed less complex.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 24)
  • “So, his Slavonic Majesty hires thieves to spy for him. Spying is such a foul business that I am surprised that even a good Angevin thief would stoop to it.” He turned to Lord Peter with a sudden realization. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to imply—”
    ”That’s all right, Your Highness,” Lord Peter said. “It’s a common reaction. Their spies are dirty, filthy scum, not fit to wipe your boots on, while our spies are noble gentlemen doing dangerous work for the love of King and Country. Would that it were so, Your Highness, but I’m afraid that sometimes the desired image is at fault—in both directions.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 33)
  • Everyone leaned over the map and examined it with interest. Here was a tangible thing to look at, to make them feel that something was being accomplished. Everything’s under control, Lord Darcy said wryly to himself, we have a map.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 51)
  • “I don’t want to color my facts with my suppositions,” he said. “My facts are the results of good, reliable magic. My suppositions are just that—suppositions—and may be totally wrong.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 55)
  • “My Lord, I am not a superstitious man,” Master Sean said. “Being a sorcerer leaves little room for superstition. A superstitious magician is unable to manipulate symbols properly, and symbolism is a large part of magic.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 55)
  • By their works we shall know them. Always assuming that they exist.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 59)
  • Lord Darcy nodded. “It is difficult to look for something that you hope doesn’t exist,” he said. “I suppose we can all use the practice.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 59)
  • There’s more leg room in first class, to be sure, but there’s more poetry in second class—and more honesty in third.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 62)
  • “‘Be not the first by whom the new is tried,’ as that poet fellow said, ‘Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.’”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 110; quoting Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism Part II, Lines 134-135)
  • “The rules that society chooses to live by have always struck me as especially fascinating,” she said. “There are things one can do but not talk about, and there are things one can talk about but not do. There are things—not apparently gender-related—that men can do, but not women, and there are things women can do, but not men. We live in an invisible maze, and we have all learned where to turn and when, so as to find our way through.”
    “Some of the rules are good, Mary, and many are necessary,” Lord Darcy said mildly.
    “You misunderstood me, my dear,” Mary of Cumberland told him. “As in magic, where there are absolutely essential words to say and gestures to make or the spell won’t work; so in society there are absolutely essential words to say and gestures to make or we won’t understand each other or trust each other, and it will all come tumbling down around us. The problem is that the rules of society, unlike magic, have never been formalized mathematically, and we don’t know which words are essential to the spell and which are just silly words.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 132)
  • The Duchess of Cumberland smiled at the little sorcerer. “Really, Master Dandro,” she said. “That’s certainly an orthodox view.”
    Master Dandro turned to her and smiled a rabbity smile. “Orthodoxy is my only doxy,” he said.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 139)
  • “That man is a fool,” Lady Marta said, her dark eyes staring at Baron Hepplethong’s retreating back. “Most men are fools, but he carries it to unnatural extremes. I have the misfortune to be distantly related to him. He believes in the natural superiority of the white race, the noble class, and the male sex. He also feels that people who wear green are morally superior to those who wear red or brown. I do not jest.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 141)
  • “Yours is a minority opinion, Major, as I suppose you know,” Lord Darcy told him. “But it is one which should be heard more often. It is a question that deserves to be debated and discussed, and not simply have the answers assumed by those in authority.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 141)
  • “A dead man, Sir Moses,” Lord Darcy told him.
    “Remember, young man, he isn’t dead until I say he’s dead,” Sir Moses said. He pushed Lord Darcy aside and stepped over to the throne. He stared down at Master Sorcerer Dandro Bittman.
    “This man is dead,” Sir Moses said.
    “Indeed he is, Sir Moses,” Master Sean said, coming up behind him. “And that’s something that neither you with your bone cutting nor I with my spells, nor the finest healer with the most sensitive hands in the kingdom, can do aught about.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 151)
  • “We are greatly complimented, my lord,” Marquis Sherrinford said dryly. “You don’t think we’re gibbering madmen.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 153)
  • I won’t say it’s impossible, my lord, but I will say that it’s so close to impossible as to be inconceivable.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 159)

A Study in Sorcery (1989)[edit]

All page numbers from the paperback first edition published by Ace Books ISBN 0-441-79092-5
  • The pleasure of receiving an accolade is somewhat diluted by the problem of living up to it.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 94)
  • He takes every change that has taken place over the past two hundred years as a personal affront.
    • Chapter 9 (p. 95)
  • I apologize for asking the obvious, but I have learned in matters magical to always state what I think is happening, because it so often is not what is actually the case at all.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 113)
  • Life and the life processes are but an unimportant part of the whole that is the universe; intelligence and the designs of intelligence but a pattern drawn on sand. And yet that pattern which is life can pull into its weave much that is not of life, and give it a reason, a function, and a purpose that transcends the life that made it, in all physical measures of mass, distance, and duration.
    So is entropy thwarted in some small measure, in random pockets throughout the universe.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 124)
  • A possibility eliminated is a risk not taken.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 167)
  • Now, let us think our way out of this perplexity. How can you kill me without my suffering any ill effects from the deed?
    • Chapter 15 (p. 169)

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