Steve Perry (author)

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Steve Perry (born August 31, 1947) is an American television writer and science fiction author.

For the American rock singer/songwriter, see Journey (band).


The Man Who Never Missed (1985)[edit]

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace ISBN 0-441-51916-4
  • Just because somebody or something doesn’t look at the world the way you do doesn’t mean it’s stupid. It’s just different—
    • Chapter 4 (p. 29)
  • The psychology of the religious experience has been well-researched and taped. There are many paths up the mountain—sensory deprivation or sensory overload—emotional response to stimuli or the lack thereof is common. Drugs, of course, from psychoactives to the more mundane depressants. Electropophy can bring it about, as can organic brain damage, lack or excess of oxygen, even sex can trigger it. And what it is, according to the science of man and mue, is a subjective mental state, somewhere to the left of hypnosis. A trick the mind plays on itself. A delusion, void of reality.
    • Chapter 7 (pp. 56-57)
  • We of the Shroud tend to believe in teaching those things we know we can teach, and in affairs of the heart—or gonads—there are no real experts. Love, like zen, cannot be learned, only felt.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 87)
  • Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser, Emile, but it does mean older. More...experienced. More adept at dealing with the galaxy, at...taking care of oneself.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 95; ellipses in the original)
  • Khadaji only nodded. It didn’t matter to him if he passed the test or not. He wasn’t here to get a degree; he was here to learn.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 122)
  • “People, this is your weapon, not your gun.” He waved the Parker in the air. “This is for work.” He dropped one hand to touch himself on the crotch. “This is for fun. Don’t mistake one for the other. Those of you not male or electively equipped as such might remember that easier.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 123)
  • The beast has long since stopped serving to become the master. The Confed did what governments were famed for: it made more government. To oppose it was treason, and worth death. Even a monster has fear.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 124)
  • He thought about the killing he’d seen, about his final participation in the slaughter on Maro. It still made him want to vomit, the thought of all those people ceasing to exist. Many religions had it that there was another life, another existence following the one known, but Khadaji held no faith in that idea. Maybe so, maybe not. It would be nice, but until it was proven, a person should make the best of his or her time on the physical plane.
    • Chapter 15 (pp. 130-131)
  • Any type of violence initiated by one intelligent being against another was wrong. Killing violence was worse than any other kind. How could it be condoned? In his brief moment of cosmic bliss, Khadaji had seen the value of intelligent life. Man and his self-created mues were alone in the galaxy as evolved intelligence. Certainly, there were artificials—computers and genetically altered animals—but no aliens had been discovered above the level of an unaltered dog. It was a big galaxy, plenty of room for every human or neo-human, it wasn’t necessary to kill any of them!
    • Chapter 15 (p. 131)
  • Could he use the same excuse as the Confed—the end justified the means? Sometimes it did, of course, but could one ethically justify using the same methods as a deplored enemy, in order to get it to stop?
    • Chapter 15 (p. 132)
  • What other paths were there? His studies had shown him that revolution and evolution were the only ways that societies ever truly changed. Revolution and evolution, built of a mix of education and violence and politics and compromise and self-interest and self-preservation. Certainly, history showed that rigid societies, like ancient dinosaurs, always died. The Confed was the biggest dinosaur ever, and while it was already dying and had been doing so for a long time, it would take many years before it finally fell. Any empire which had to hold its citizens in check with military force was far down the road to destruction. Which brought up another thought: what would replace the dead beast when it began to rot? What parasite would emerge from the corpse to try and breed itself into superiority?
    • Chapter 15 (p. 132)
  • Of course, laws weren’t always just. Some rules outlawed a thing because it was intrinsically bad: child molestation, say. Other rules made harmless activities crimes only because someone wished them to be so. Take cohabitation on a religious holiday. On some worlds, it was legal on one day, illegal the next, and on the third, okay once again. Khadaji could see no moral dilemma there.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 143)

Matadora (1986)[edit]

All page numbers are from the mass market paperback first edition published by Ace ISBN 0-441-52207-6, 6th printing
  • Honor was in surviving, not fair play.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 4)
  • A woman did what a woman had to, the best way she knew how. To do more was impossible, to do less, unthinkable.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 5)
  • He was a frustrated romantic, a thing often mistaken for skepticism.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 61)
  • “I mean, look, I just broke into your private files. If I were you, I’d be more than a little upset.”
    Pen crinkled. “I’m not. It shows initiative.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 113)
  • She didn’t have to play Pen’s game, she didn’t want to. The problem, as always with Pen, lay in figuring out what his game was.
    • Chapter 18 (p. 153)

The Ramal Extraction (2012)[edit]

No page numbers, as all quotes are from the e-book edition published by Ace ISBN 978-1-101-61882-0
  • Rich people seldom run amok; They hire somebody to do that for them.
    • Chapter 5
  • Young soldiers had a lot of expectations and fantasies about how it would be and what they would do and feel. Invariably wrong, those expectations.
    • Chapter 11
  • It wasn’t a death wish. It was a see-how-close-you-can-get-and-live wish.
    • Chapter 12
  • Truth is the first casualty in war, but communications is the second.
    • Chapter 12
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.
    • Chapter 12
  • There are a lot of promises in the recycle bins of history.
    • Chapter 13
  • Nobody is a born killer. And nobody ever forgets the first time they get laid, nor the first time they spike somebody.
    • Chapter 16
  • “Everybody knows that.”
    “Assume for a moment that everybody is wrong.”
    • Chapter 21
  • In the land of the unarmed, the man with a rock was king.
    • Chapter 25
  • Civilization didn’t like surprises...
    • Chapter 26
  • “One who searches for the definition ‘devious’ can find it listed under ‘human.’”
    • Chapter 28
  • “You cheated!”
    “Hell yes, I did. I learned a long time ago, better you learn to fight smarter, not harder.”
    “If you had not had the pistol—”
    “Then I’d have used some other tool. Knife, stick, a chair, whatever. Fighting fair gets you killed unless the other guy also fights fair and you are better than him and lucky. First rule: Don’t do it.
    • Chapter 28
  • Shoot at us, we will nuke you all and let God sort out your radioactive dust.
    • Chapter 31
  • “You ready to fly, Nancy?” Jo asked.
    “Honey, I’m always ready to fly.”
    “Might get shot at.”
    “I been shot at. Not a problem if they don’t hit me. I am allowed to dodge, right?”
    • Chapter 32
  • Never felt so alive as you did after you came out of a battle in one piece. And if you were dead? You wouldn’t feel that...
    • Chapter 32
  • “Why would he do that?”
    “Because he is insane, a fool, a man so devious they will have to guard his corpse after he dies, or he’ll steal it himself!”
    • Chapter 33

The Vastalimi Gambit (2013)[edit]

No page numbers, as all quotes are from the e-book edition published by Ace ISBN 978-1-101-63756-2
  • Droc was not particularly religious himself. If the gods responded to entreaties, they had never demonstrated it to him. Better his time was spent doing something that might work.
    • Prologue
  • Death came for all, and it was never a matter of “if,” only “when.”
    • Chapter 2
  • When he saw me look her over, he hinted that she might be willing to, ah, stay behind and work out details of the contract with me personally, no matter how long it might take.”
    Jo nodded. No surprise there. Sex had sold stuff ever since stuff had been around.
    • Chapter 3
  • But was it not you who used to tell me that the more you knew, the better? That knowledge was the sharpest fang?
    • Chapter 3
  • The good old days always seemed better in distant memory than they had actually been at the time.
    • Chapter 4
  • Desire, she realized, was a thick fog that could completely obscure reality.
    • Chapter 6
  • You’re not an ape, use a tool!
    • Chapter 7
  • Well. You were allowed to be young and stupid, when you were young and stupid, and if it didn’t do you in, you might get older and wiser.
    • Chapter 11
  • “The rules are different for rich men,” he said. “Always have been.”
    • Chapter 12
  • He understood the phenomenon, of how almost dying made you appreciate what life had to offer. And it was a potent drug, that feeling. Battle was not glorious. But surviving it? That was.
    • Chapter 15
  • A large bomb obscures a lot of evidence.
    • Chapter 18
  • “We aren’t looking for trouble.”
    “Doesn’t mean you won’t find it.”
    • Chapter 24
  • “So here we have the basic ingredients in the art of distraction,” Gunny said to Singh, as they walked toward the rendezvous point. “When in doubt, wait until dark, turn off the lights, and blow shit up.”
    • Chapter 26

The Tejano Conflict (2014)[edit]

No page numbers, as all quotes are from the e-book edition published by Ace ISBN 978-0-698-15071-3
  • What they don’t know won’t hurt us...
    • Chapter 3
  • The loudest sound on a battle field was click! when you were expecting bang! It was a never-ending wonder: What was going to go wrong next?
    • Chapter 3
  • “How interesting,” Kay said. “The human capacity for denial sometimes seems to be quite large.”
    “Ain’t that the truth.”
    • Chapter 3
  • Old enough to look as if he knew what to do, young enough to look as if he could do it.
    • Chapter 4
  • He had thought about it. Mostly, after the fantasies, he had let it go. It was done, history. No point in bumping into the furniture while looking back over your shoulder.
    • Chapter 4
  • Jo nodded. The Vastalimi were stoic about many things, death notwithstanding. People came and went, that was the way of it, and there was no need to be overly disturbed; nothing could be done to change the general pattern, only the individual ones. Everybody got onto the hoverbus, and eventually, everybody got off; the questions were, how long was the ride, and how did you leave?
    • Chapter 5
  • When you worked in a profession whose tools included guns and bombs, death was always on the menu; only a matter of time until the order you placed arrived...
    • Chapter 6
  • “Man proposes, God disposes,” Singh said.
    Both fems looked at him. He shrugged. “Whenever you run into a situation that you cannot control, we on Ananda often find it convenient to blame it on God.”
    • Chapter 10
  • War had a way of making carpe diem seem valid no matter what you wanted to seize...
    • Chapter 17
  • “You’ve never struck me as a...reflective person. More of a doer than a be-er.”
    “True enough. Still, when one is in a profession that deals in the possibility of sudden and maybe unexpected violent death, the questions arise now and then for examination.”
    “The questions being...?”
    “What does it all mean? Why are we here? Where are we going?”
    Zhe laughed. “A warrior philosopher!”
    “Not your bent, to muse on such things?”
    “Oh, I used to ask myself those questions. Then one day, I realized that, as brilliant as I am, I couldn’t divine the answers. That, unbelievable as it was, there had been many people smarter than I who had broken themselves of the rock of why-are-we-here? And, even if I happened upon The Answer, how would I know? Who would be able to verify it for me?
    “Given my upbringing and experience, religion wasn’t an option, the notion of Somebody-in-Charge-Who-Pays-Attention didn’t work for me: Either zhe was unspeakably cruel, or unbelievably inept, no other possibility. So I let it go. Can’t know the answer, no point in asking the question, is there? That way lies complete frustration. Better to concentrate one’s energy on something useful.”
    “I suppose. I think even the remote possibility of a come-to-understand moment, wherein the scales fall from my eyes, and I can see the whole flow of the universe, the why and wheretofor, is still there. It seems to have happened to others.”
    Zhe shrugged. “I can do that. I can crank up the god-gene, ramp it into reality for a patient so they feel that cosmic consciousness, the oneness with it all with an absolute certainty beyond question. Since I can do it? Makes it harder to believe it’s anything other than an accident of neurochem; a stray cosmic ray flipping an on switch. Would that be something you’d want? A fake epiphany?”
    “I didn’t think so. If you got there on your own, you might buy it, but knowing it was artificially induced? Not your way. A lot of people would take the offer, but you aren’t one of them, are you?”
    “So we believe because we want to believe?”
    “Need, more than want, I think. It’s built into the operating soft- and hardware,” zhe said. “Some kind of survival characteristic, maybe, a sustaining comfort when great stress arises. Our bodies are full of chemical tides that ebb and flow to balance us physically and mentally. Why not one that does it spiritually? Such yearning seems to be common among most intelligent species, certainly humans. We need something beyond what we can see and touch and smell.”
    He looked at hir, impressed that zhe had considered such things. He nodded again.
    “Well. I will leave you to your snack and philosophy. I have augs to balance and programs to write. Good luck finding the answer.”
    Zhe smiled, stood, then headed for the door.
    • Chapter 17 (Note: "zhe" and "hir" here are androgynous/intersex pronouns)
  • Jo’s desire was to take a long, hot shower when she got back to the base. The crawlers had outdoor showerheads, but the noodle-pinching hardware designers had been given keep-it-cheap design orders, and had apparently achieved them. Crawler showers came with absolutely unalterable timers that gave you a maximum two minutes of piss-poor pressure before they shut off; then they made you wait two more minutes before they would restart. Standing there wet and soapy waiting for more slow-flow rinse water was not the most soothing experience when you were scrubbing mud and blood off yourself.
    More than a few soldiers over the years must have entertained the fantasy of hunting down the people who came up with shower timers and murdering them. Or at least dipping them in a latrine trench, then restricting them to a crawler shower to wash it off...
    • Chapter 18
  • Gunny squatted to look at the dead creature. “Looks like a rat snake,” she said. “It’s harmless, not poisonous.”
    Gramps said, “I don’t care. I don’t like snakes. I don’t like poisonous snakes; I don’t like nonpoisonous snakes; I don’t like sticks on the ground that look like snakes.”
    “Ah think maybe somebody had a traumatic event with snakes along the way. What, you had a run-in with the serpent that bedeviled Eve back in the Garden?”
    Singh raised an eyebrow.
    “A Jewish/Christian story,” Jo said. “The reason mankind lost direct contact with God and was banished from Paradise. A snake talked the first woman into trying fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, after God had warned them not to eat it.”
    “Sah, I understand this god is supposedly much more powerful than our gods. I wonder, if he created all things and was all-knowing and omnipotent, why would he put such a tree there? Would he not know in advance that Eve would succumb to the temptation?”
    “The tale doesn’t bear too close an inspection,” Gramps said. “Believers view these stories as allegories, metaphors, rather than as literal happenings.”
    Gunny jumped in quickly to amend Gramps’s response: “Some of ’em,” she said. “Some of ’em are literalists, and crazy as space-station roaches when the hatch opens to blow them into vac. They think the Earth is six thousand years old and that every word of the Bible is absolutely true. You can have a field day pointing out inconsistencies in those stories, doesn’t bother them, just bounces right off their self-righteous armor.”
    • Chapter 19
  • Why is it people like us have to be the galaxy’s conscience?”
    “If you can see a problem, and you have the ability to fix it, it becomes your responsibility. It’s always been that way.”
    • Chapter 27
  • “I’m sorry,” he said. “I know it sucks.”
    “You didn’t create it, you just pointed it out. If I thought shooting the messenger would fix it, you’d already be bleeding out.”
    • Chapter 27
  • Okay, I need to go places and shoot people.
    • Chapter 28

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