Poul Anderson

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
Poul Anderson

Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926July 31, 2001) was a prominent American science fiction author who wrote during a Golden Age of the genre. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy.


  • You know what they say about bold spacemen never becoming old spacemen.
    • "Garden in the Void" (1952)
  • Better a life like a falling star, brief bright across the dark, than the long, long waiting of the immortals, loveless and cheerlessly wise.
    • The Broken Sword (1954)
  • A man isn't really alive till he has something bigger than himself and his own little happiness, for which he'd gladly die.
    • "Ghetto" (1954)
  • We're mortal - which is to say, we're ignorant, stupid, and sinful - but those are only handicaps. Our pride is that nevertheless, now and then, we do our best. A few times we succeed. What more dare we ask for?
    • Ensign Flandry (1966)
  • We live with our archetypes, but can we live in them?
    • "The Fatal Fulfillment" (Short Story), March 1970. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Timidity can be as dangerous as rashness.
    • "The Saturn Game" (1981)

The High Crusade (1960)[edit]

Nominated for the 1961 Hugo Award. Page number from the mass market paperback edition published by Baen Books
  • On our Earth, we’ve perforce learned all the knavery there is to know.
    • p. 131

The Star Fox (1965)[edit]

Nominated for the 1965 Nebula Award. All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition (third printing) published by Signet Books (July 1971; T4763)
  • “My mother taught me a Spanish saying,” he remarked, “that it takes four men to make a salad: a spendthrift for the oil, a philosopher for the seasonings, a miser for the vinegar, and a madman for the tossing.”
    • Section 1 “Marque and Reprisal”, Chapter V (pp. 37-38)
  • Heim ignored the mob scene on the 3V, rested his eyes on the cold serenity of the Milky Way and thought that this, at least, would endure.
    • Section 1 “Marque and Reprisal”, Chapter IX (p. 69)
  • Another irritating thing about Naqsans was their habit of solemnly repeating the obvious. In that respect they were almost as bad as humans.
    • Section 2 “Arsenal Port”, Chapter III (p. 90)
  • He’d seen too often how little of the universe is designed for man to neglect any safety measure.
    • Section 2 “Arsenal Port”, Chapter III (p. 93)
  • The last thing any sane person wants is a jihad.
    • Section 2 “Arsenal Port”, Chapter VIII (p. 133)
  • There really wasn’t much in a man’s life that mattered. But those few things mattered terribly.
    • Section 3 “Admiralty”, Chapter IX (p. 200)
  • Life isn’t a fairy tale; the knight who kills the dragon doesn’t necessarily get the princess. So what? Who’d want to live in a cosmos less rich and various than the real one?
    • Section 3 “Admiralty”, Chapter X (p. 207)

Tau Zero (1970)[edit]

Nominated for the 1971 Hugo Award. All page numbers from the first mass market paperback edition published by Lancer Books (June 1971; #75185)
  • “Are you that afraid to die?”
    “No. I simply like to live.”
    • Chapter 7 (p. 78)
  • What’s to explain? I’ve scant use for those types whose chief interest is their grubby little personal neuroses. Not in a universe as rich as this.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 80)

Harvest of Stars (1993)[edit]

  • "I've heard assorted rhapsodies about humankind going to the stars, of course. Who hasn't? Each of them founders on the practical problems."
    "The fish that first ventured ashore had considerable practical problems."
    • Ch. 40
  • Light fills the air, wind is aglow, drink of it, breathe of it, make leafing.
    Rainfall sows itself, it grows down through soil to the secret places where stones abide; it brings the strength of them up rootward.
    Lie still, molder away, then be again grass.
    • Ch. 55
  • Anybody can find infinite Mandelbrot figures in his navel.
    • Ch. 60
  • All those agonizing philosophical-theological conundrums amount to "Ask a silly question, get a silly answer."
    • Ch. 63

Poul Anderson: Fifty Years of Science Fiction (1997)[edit]

"Poul Anderson: Fifty Years of Science Fiction," Locus Magazine (April 1997)
  • I wrote the first book, Harvest of Stars, and as I was writing it, I saw that certain implications had barely been touched on... It's perfectly obvious that two completely revolutionary things are going on, with cybernetics, and biological science.
  • In Harvest of Stars, there is this notion, not original with me of course, that it will become possible to download at least the basic aspects of a human personality into a machine program...
  • So much American science fiction is parochial -- not as true now as it was years ago, but the assumption is one culture in the future, more or less like ours, and with the same ideals, the same notions of how to do things, just bigger and flashier technology. Well, you know darn well it doesn't work that way...


  • I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
    • Often referred to as Anderson's Law.
    • Cited in:
      • Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling by Harold Kerzner. Google Books. Accessed September 5, 2009.
      • Checkland, P.B. (1985). Formulating problems in Systems Analysis. In: Miser, H. J. and Quade E. S. (eds.) (1985). Handbook of Systems Analysis: Overview of Uses, Procedures, Applications, and Practice. Chapter 5, pp. 151-170. North-Holland, New York.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: