Paul J. McAuley

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Paul J. McAuley in 2005

Paul J. McAuley (born 23 April 1955) is a British botanist and science fiction author.


Short fiction[edit]

Elves of Antarctica (2016)[edit]

Four Hundred Billion Stars (1988)[edit]

Winner of the 1988 Philip K. Dick Award
All page numbers from the mass market first edition published by Del Rey ISBN 0-345-35175-4
  • Many people were bitterly puzzled that the first truly intelligent aliens to be found should be so immediately, unremittingly hostile, but the astronomers shrugged it off. The universe was at best a marginal place for life.
    • Chapter 1 “Camp Zero” (p. 38)
  • Things are simply what they are, neither good nor bad. The potential for evil is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
    • Chapter 1 “Camp Zero” (p. 38)
  • “We must remember that they are alien.”
    “That’s hardly a basis for speculation now. It explains everything and nothing.”
    • Chapter 2 “The Hold” (p. 70)
  • “They’re following one bunch of herders. Marta has this idea that she can work out their social behavior.”
    “And do they have any?” Dorthy asked.
    “Fucking mostly,” Andrew said evenly. The boss female controls the group by choosing which males fuck her, and the males fuck each other, too, to establish their dominance. Rather like the Navy.”
    • Chapter 2 “The Hold” (pp. 76-77)
  • Zithsa hunter claim they sometimes see man-shaped creatures in the lowlands. Mist demons, the hunters call them, and say that they are the ghosts of the fabled lost race. I say they are half vodka, half imagination.
    • Chapter 2 “The Hold” (pp. 131-132)
  • We wish not to be alone in the universe, Dorthy, and this drives people to invent things that are not really there.
    • Chapter 2 “The Hold” (p. 132)
  • “I read in some of it (the reference is to Shakespeare). It’s not so bad when you get used to it, pretty archaic though. Why do you like old stuff like this?”
    “It has everything in it, if you look hard enough,” Dorthy said, taking the sheaf. “Love, jealousy, avarice, loyalty, murder, madness...I find it reassuring that human nature is so constant.”
    • Chapter 3 “The Keep” (p. 171; ellipses in the original)
  • “And now you have had to alter your theory.”
    ”Well,” Andrews said, smiling, “that’s science.”
    • Chapter 3 “The Keep” (p. 182)
  • It was both true, and not the complete truth, like so much of his talk.
    • Chapter 3 “The Keep” (p. 197)
  • “I didn’t know that you were into politics.”
    “Anyone with money has to be. Real money, I mean. Even criminals need to keep a politician in their pockets these days.”
    • Chapter 3 “The Keep” (p. 223)
  • Stay the same and after a while you come to think that nothing will ever change.
    • Chapter 4 “At the Core” (p. 269)
  • “They survive.”
    “Ah yes, survive. And achieve nothing to deserve it.”
    “The only meaning of life, if it can be said to have meaning, is to survive. My brothers and sisters, herding their children on the plains, find meaning in the simple pattern of their lives and need nothing more. They are immersed in the processes of the world: all is one. That is their religion. They seek no other meaning.
    “Your race, now, believes that expansion is all. You think to outrace your dark destiny, believe that the whole universe is yours when you understand so little of it.”
    • Chapter 4 “At the Core” (p. 271)

External links[edit]

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