"I see by your outfit you may be a preacher."
"Yes, I am, - of the non-theistic, non-sectarian sort." [...]
"Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen"
-- Roger Zelazny: Creatures of Light and Darkness
[See also: the Worshippers-'R'-Us sketch by the Frantics]
From The Road to Mars by Eric Idle:
From The Radio Beasts by Ralph Milne Farley, originally published in Argosy All-Story Weekly, 1925.
[...] If Cabot was still on earth, his story about his adventures on Venus, which I had so recently published to the world, must be nothing but a cleverly concocted lie.
[...] "Were you really on Venus?" I inquired, still incredulous.
"On my word of honor as a gentleman," said he, solemnly.
So the story was true after all, and I had not been hoaxed.
It was now Trisp's turn to gloat. Said he: "Long have I served as your assistant, O Poblath, and long have I coveted your position. Now it is mine for the asking. I suspected your of treason when you deprived Cabot of his antennae. I noted you preserved his apparatus in a cupboard in your office. But when you refused to permit the jailers to fire on the insurgent blockade in the street below, then I knew for sure of your treason to King Yuri. Now I go to clear the blockade. Thence to the king to be made mango of Kuana!"
L.E. Modesitt, Jr., [The Magic of Recluse]
"That's easy when you're forced on a dangergeld for a reason you don't know by a group that enforces unspoken rules in unsaid ways."
From Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic:
From Terry Pratchett, A Hatful of Sky (Corgi, 2005, ISBN 9780552551449):
Experimentally she took a spoon out of the spoon section, dropped it amongst the forks and shut the drawer. Then she turned her back.
There was a sliding noise and a tinkle exactly like the tinkle a spoon makes when it's put back among the other spoons, who have missed it and are anxious to hear its tales of life amongst the frighteningly pointy people.
[Chapter 3, A Single-minded Lady, p. 80-81]
From Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith (Doubleday, 2007, ISBN 9780385609845):
[Chapter 2, Miss Treason, p. 31]
[Chapter 2, Miss Treason, p. 46]
They carried sticks and wore white clothes with bells on them, to stop them creeping up on people. No one likes an unexpected Morris dancer. Toffany would wait outside the village with the other children and dance behind them all the way in.
[Chapter 2, Miss Treason, p. 50]
From Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight (Doubleday, 2010, ISBN 9780485611077):
[Chapter 6, The Coming of the Cunning Man, p. 106]
[Chapter 6, The Coming of the Cunning Man, p. 109]
From The State of the Art by Iain M. Banks:
-- from Road of Skulls
"Well, what on earth," I laughed.
"Don't mock, alien," Li scowled.
"You won't have heard," Li said, sitting beside me, "having been on EVA, but I'm intending to become captain of this tub."
"Are you really? Well, that's fascinating." I didn't ask him what or where the hell EVA was. "And how exactly do you propose attaining this elevated, not to say unlikely position?"
"I'm not sure yet," Li admitted, "but I think I have all the qualifications for the post."
"Consider the liminal cue given; I know you're going to --"
"Bravery, resourcefulness, intelligence, the ability to handle men - women -; a razor sharp wit and lightning-fast reactions. Also loyalty and the ability to be ruthlessly objective when the safety of my ship and crew are at stake. Except, of course, when the safety of the universe as we know it is at stake, in which case I would reluctantly have to consider making a brave and noble sacrifice. Naturally, should such a situation ever arise, I'd try to save the officers and crew who serve beneath me. I'd go down with the ship, of course."
"Of course. Well that's --"
"Wait; there's another quality I haven't mentioned yet."
"Are there any left?"
"Silly of me. Of course."
"It will not have escaped your attention that until now nobody ever thought of wanting to become captain of the Arb."
"A perhaps understandable lapse." Jhavins, one of my friends, brought off a fine cut on the black ball, and I applauded. "Good shot."
Li prodded my shoulder. "Listen properly."
"I'm listening. I'm listening."
"The point is that my wanting to become captain, I mean even thinking of the idea, means that I should be the captain, understand?"
"Hmm." Jhavins was lining up an unlikely cannon on a distant red.
"Li made an exasperated noise. "You're humouring me; I thought you at least would argue. You're just like everybody else."
"Ah," I said. Jhavins hit the red, but just left it handing over the pocket. I looked at Li. "An argument? All right; you - anybody - taking command of the ship is like a flea taking over control of a human ... maybe even like a bacteria in their saliva taking them over."
"But why should it command itself? We made it; it didn't make us."
"So? And anyway we didn't make it; other machines made it ... and even they only started it off; it mostly made itself. But anyway, you'd have to go back ... I don't know how many thousand generations of its ancestors before you found the last computer or spaceship built directly by any of our ancestors. Even if this mythical 'we' had built it, it's still zillions of times smarter than we are. Would you let an ant tell you what to do?"
"Bacterium? Flea? Ant? Make up your mind."
"Oh go away and de-scale a mountain or something, you silly man."
"But we started all this. If it hadn't been for us --"
"And who started us? Some glop of goo on another rock-ball? A super-nova? The big bang? What's starting something got to do with it?"
"You don't think I'm serious, do you?"
"More terminal than serious."
"You wait," Li said, standing up and wagging a finger at me. "I'll be captain one day. Any you'll be sorry; I had you down tentatively as science officer, but now you'll be lucky to make nurse in the sickbay."
"Ah, away and piss on your dilithium crystals."
-- from The State of the Art
From Pamela Sargent (Ed.), More Women of Wonder:
From Chung Kuo Book Eight: Marriage of the Living Dark by David Wingrove.
From R. A. MacAvoy, The Third Eagle:
From Lois McMaster Bujold, The Warriors's Apprentice:
Miles poked his head in for a glance around, and stepped back thoughtfully. "You know," he said as they started back up the corridor, "it might be better if we don't yell, going in. It's startling. It's bound to be a lot easier to hit people if they're not jumping around and ducking behind things."
"They do it that way in the vids," Mayhew offered.
Miles, who had originally been planning his own first rush very much along the lines just demonstrated, and for much the same reason, cleared his throat. "I guess it just doesn't look very heroic to sneak up behind somebody and shoot them in the back. I can't help thinking it would be more efficient, though."
"And how was your first combat experience?" she asked, softly truculent.
He grinned involuntarily. "Educational. Very educational. Ah -- did you two happen to yell, charging through the door here?"
She blinked. "Sure. Why?"
"Just a theory I'm working on ..."
From Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game:
"No, I don't," Miles began indignantly, then shut his mouth.
Cecil flashed a grin. "Quite. Plus your rather irritating habit of treating your superior officers as your ah ..." Cecil paused, apparently groping again for just the right word.
"Equals?" Miles hazarded.
"Cattle," Cecil corrected judiciously.
"There's a difference?" Miles grinned.
From Lois McMaster Bujold, Cetaganda:
"Did you receive a complaint?" And from whom?
"One learns to interpret certain pained looks. The Cetagandans would consider it impolite to complain -- "
"I don't have initiative. I follow orders, thank you. It's much safer that way."
"Fine. I order you to use your initiative."
Ivan breathed a bad word, by way of editorial. "I'm going to regret this. I know I am."
From Lois McMaster Bujold, Brothers in Arms:
Miles stamped in a circle. "Ah. Ah. Agh!"
"The ambassador is filing protests all over the place. Naturally, we couldn't tell them why we thought they were mistaken."
Miles clutched Quinn's elbow. "Don't panic."
"I'm not panicking," Quinn observed, "I'm watching you panic. It's more entertaining."
The beard makes you look, um ..."
Miles hastily trimmed the edges. "Distinguished? Older?"
"Well, it would have been nice if any of that had been on purpose, instead of by accident," Miles mused.
From Esther Friesner (editor), Chicks in Chainmail:
From Armor-ella by Holly Liste
From On the Road of Silver by Mark Bourne
From Lois McMaster Bujold, Mirror Dance:
"I'm not sure my approval matters. The Imperium is like a very large and disjointed symphony, composed by a committee. Over a three-hundred year period. Played by a gang of amateur volunteers. It has enormous inertia, and is fundamentally fragile. It is neither unchanging nor unchangeable. It can crush you like a blind elephant."
"What a heartening thought."
From Esther Friesner (editor), Did You Say 'Chicks'?!:
-- From Armor Propre by Jan Stirling & S.M. Stirling.
From Esther Friesner (editor), The Chick is in the Mail (Baen Books, 2000):
From Lois McMaster Bujold, Komarr:
From Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign:
"Oh," said Martya.
"Would you like to pet her?" He held out the giant bug invitingly.
"Well ... why not?" Martya, too, attempted the experiment, and was rewarded by another hiss, as the bug arched her back. Martya smiled crookedly.
Privately, Kareen thought that any man whose idea of a good time was to feed, pet, and care for a creature that mainly responded to his worship with hostile noises was going to get along great with Martya.
From Quarantine by Greg Egan (Century, 1992):
"Not on duty."
[Chapter 8, p. 118-119]
From Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan (Gollancz, 2002):
Tchicaya winced. "So now I'm an all-round philistine?"
Mariama's face softened. She reached over and ran a hand across his stubbled scalp. "No. Your failings are much more specific than that."
[Chapter 7, p. 86]
"Art. Music. Theorems."
"If you're serious." [...] Yann laughed at Tchicaya's expression of astonishment and added, "It's not always that serious" [...]
"So you start with something easier?"
Yann nodded. "When I was ten years old, all I gave my sweetheart was a pair of projections that turned the group of rotations in four dimensions into principle bundles over the three-sphere. Ancient constructions, although I did rediscover them myself."
"How were they received?"
"She liked them so much, she extended them to larger spaces and gave me back the result." [...] "So what about you?
"I've generally had more success with flowers."
[Chapter 8, p. 97-98]
To which I can only reply: why haven't you indolent fleshers transformed the whole galaxy into chocolate?"
[Chapter 8, p. 107]
[Chapter 10, p. 127]
From The Eternal Flame (Orthogonal Trilogy book 2) by Greg Egan (Gollancz, 2012):
"Don't get discouraged," Carla said, reaching over and putting a hand on his shoulder. "That's just the history of life for the last few eons. It's not as if it's a law of physics."
From The Golden Torc by Julian May (Pan Books, 1981):
[From Part II, "The Closure", Chapter 2, p. 161]
From Jack the Bodiless by Julian May (Pan Books, 1992):
"It will be our pleasure," said Marc. The younger boys were trying valiantly to conceal their despair, which the girls wore superior smiles.
"My own three beloved larvae have done careful research on human dietary needs and will prepare luncheon for you as an educational exercise," Loga'etoo continued, expanding her buccal orifice in the Krondak equivalent of a smile. "I know you will be forbearing if their efforts show occasional amateurish lapses in culinary technique. I will make quite sure that none of the food served to you is poisonous or completely unfit for human consumption."
"I'm quite certain it will be delicious," Marc said, administering ceorcive prods to the petrified cousins.
"Delicious!" they parroted.
[Chapter 20, p. 245]
From Perseus Spur [Rampart Worlds Book 1] by Julian May (Voyager [HarperCollins], 1998):
The first show was a sort of Appalled Armchair Tourist's Guide to Cravat that set out to scare the shit out of you by describing abominations of the planet's geography, flora and fauna. Summed up, just about everything was out to get you. [...] Matt shared reminiscences of her own earlier visits to the Green Hell, which were even more bloodcurdling than the damned video. [...]
[Chapter 14, p. 169]
From Orion Arm [Rampart Worlds Book 2] by Julian May (Voyager [HarperCollins], 1999):
[Chapter 5, p. 102]
[Chapter 6, p. 124]
From The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (Voyager [imprint of Harper Collins], London 2002):
[Chapter 27, p. 412]
"Oh, it's a great infection of poetry, a contagion of hymns. The gods delight in poets, you know. Songs and poetry, being of the same stuff as souls, can cross into their world almost unimpeded. Stone carvers, now ... even the gods are in awe of stone carvers." He squinted in the sun and grinned back at Palli.
"Nevertheless," murmured Palli dryly, "one feels your quatrain yesterday morning to Lady Betriz's nose was a tactical mistake."
"I was not making fun of her!" Cazaril protested indignantly. "Was she still angry at me when she left?"
"No, no, she wasn't angry! She was persuaded it was fever, and was very worried withal. If I were you, I've claim it for fever."
"I could not write a poem to all of her just yet. I tried. Too overwhelming."
"Well, if you must scribble paeans to her body parts, pick lips. Lips are more romantic than noses."
"Why?" asked Cazaril. "Isn't every part of her an amazement?"
"Yes, but we kiss lips. We don't kiss noses. Normally. Men write poems to the objects of our desire in order to lure them closer."
"How practical. In that case, you'd think men would write more poems to ladies' private parts."
"The ladies would hit us. Lips are a safe compromise, being as it were a stand-in or stepping-stone to greater mysteries."
[Chapter 28, p. 423]
From Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (Voyager [imprint of Harper Collins], London 2004):
[Chapter 2, p. 19]
[Chapter 5, p. 81]
[Chapter 11, p. 214]
From The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks (Orbit 2004)
Fassin thought. "Actually, the lady Jaal Tonderon and I might be --"
"The answer you are searching for is 'Yes', Seer Taak," Verpych said.
Fassin frowned down at the older man. "Then in that case why did you --?"
"I was being polite."
"Ah. Of course. That cannot come easily."
"Quite the contrary. It is deference that one sometimes struggles with."
"Your efforts are appreciated, I'm sure."
"Why, I live for nothing else, young master." Verpych smiled thinly.
[Part One: The Autumn House, p. 34-35]
"I do so hope the next word is 'But' or 'However'," Verpych said. He glanced at Fassin. "A 'Happily' would be too much to ask for, of course."
The technician continued. "Thanks to our considerable efforts, sir, we believe we have the situation in hand. I would hope that we ought to be ready by the appointed hour."
[Part One: The Autumn House, p. 36]
"Usual thing; lots of competing so-called universal standards. There was a proper full-scale war after one linguistic disagreement [...] and after that came the usual response: inquiries, missions, meetings, reports, conferences, summits.
"What we now know as Standard was chosen after centuries of research, study and argument by a vast an unwieldy committee composed of representatives from thousands of species, at least two of which became effectively extinct during the course of the deliberations. It was chosen, astonishingly, on its merits, because it was an almost perfect language: flexible, descriptive, uncoloured (whatever that means, but apparently it's important), precise but malleable, highly, elegantly complete yet primed for external-term-adoption and with an unusually free but logical link between the written form and the pronounced which could easily and plausibly embrace almost any set of phonemes, scints, glyphs or pictals and still make translatable sense.
"Best of all, it didn't belong to anybody, the species which had invented it having safely extincted themselves millions of years earlier without leaving either any proven inheritors or significant mark on the greater galaxy, save this sole linguistic gem. Even more amazingly, the subsequent conference to endorse the decision of the mega-committee went smoothly and agreed all the relevant recommendations. Take-up and acceptance were swift and widespread. Standard became the first and so far only true universal language within just a few Quick-mean generations. Set a standard for pan-species cooperation that everybody's been trying to live up to ever since. [...]"
[Part Two: Destructive Recall, p. 100-101]
[Part Two: Destructive Recall, p. 107]
[Part Two: Destructive Recall, p. 109-110]
[Part Three: Nowhere Left to Fall, p. 152]
[Part Four: Event During War Time, p. 239]
Instead: muddle, confusion, stupidity, insane waste, pointless pain, misery and mass death - all the usual stuff of war, affecting him as it might affect anybody else, without any necessary moral reason, without any justice and even without any vindictiveness, just through the ghastly, banal working-out of physics, chemistry, biochemistry, orbital mechanics and the shared nature of sentient beings existing and contending.
[...] Revenge was a poor way out too, he thought through his tears. [...] There was an argument that it would only make him as bad as them, but then he knew that in a way he was already just as bad as them. The only moral reason for doing it would be to rid the world, the galaxy, the universe of one self-evidently bad person. As though there would ever be a shortage, as though that wouldn't just leave the same niche for another.
[Part Four: Event During War Time, p. 284-285]
[Part Five: Conditions of Passage, p. 368]
[Part Five: Conditions of Passage, p. 370-371]
From Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (Penguin, UK, 1993):
"'The Last Argument of Kings,'" the Librarian says. "King Louis XIV had it stamped onto the barrels of all of the cannons that were forged during his reign."
[Chapter 55, p. 365]
From Terry Pratchett, Making Money (TransWorld, an imprint of Random House, 2007):
[Chapter 7, p. 217]
"Today's 'Jikan no Muda', sir," he said. Vetinari glanced at it for a few seconds, and then handed it back to him.
The Patrician shut his eyes and drummed his fingers on the desktop for a moment.
"Hm ... 9 6 3 1 7 4" - Drumknott scribbled hastily as the numbers streamed and eventually concluded - "8 4 2 3. And I'm sure they used that one last month. On a Monday, I believe."
"Seventeen seconds, sir," said Drumknott, his pencil still catching up up.
"Well, it has been a tiring day," said Vetinari. "And what is the point? Numbers are easy to outwit. They can't think back. The people who devise the crosswords, now they are indeed devious. Who would know that "pysdxes" are ancient Ephebian carved-bone needle-holders?"
"Well, you, sir, of course," said Drumknott, carefully stacking the files, "and the curator of Ephebian Antiquities at the Royal Art Museum, 'Puzzler' of the Times and Miss Grace Speaker, who runs the pet shop in Pellicool Steps."
"We should keep an eye on that pet shop, Drumknott. A woman with a mind like that content to dispense dog food? I think not."
"Indeed, sir. I shall make a note."
[Chapter 8, p. 237-238]
[時間の無駄, jikan no muda, is Japanese. The apparent meaning is "waste of time" -- Fred]
From Randall Garrett, Unwise Child (Doubleday, NY, 1962):
[Chapter 16, p. 151]
"Yeah. Night." Mike trudged toward the companionway that led to the wardroom. If Keku or Jeffers hapened to be there, he'd have a quick round of Uma ni tō. Jeffers called the game "double solitaire for three people", and Keku said it meant "horses' two heads", but Mike simply found it as a new game to play before bedtime.
[Chapter 21, p. 185-186]
[馬二頭, Uma ni tō, is Japanese. Have not been able to track down a card game of this name -- Fred]
From Robert Tralins, Android Armageddon (Paramount Books, 1974):
[...] They watched the androids for several minutes [...]
When the androids were gone, Doyle and the others assembled at the base of the obelisk.
[This single page is the only reference in the entire book to androids -- Fred]
[Chapter 1, Android Armageddon, p. 7]
[Chapter 6, Ceremony, p. 67]
[Chapter 6, Ceremony, p. 70]
[Chapter 7, Kinsmen, p. 91]
"I don't give a sine wave if you're in charge of the chamber pots!" cried Doyle. "I demand an explanation!"
[Chapter 8, Custodial, p. 95]
[A rather quiet whirring since electrons in a cyclotron move in a vacuum -- Fred]
[Chapter 9, Trial, p. 109]
[How many hemispheres does the average sphere have? -- Fred]
[Chapter 12, Search, p. 135]
From Clifford D. Simak, Strangers in the Universe [Short Stories] (Faber & Faber, London, 1959):
"Why, certainly. Some other line of work that might prove happier. I have counselled a number of gentlemen who changed their line of work, and it has proved for the best."
"No," said Craig. "I haven't the least idea what I might go into."
"There are a number of openings," said the counsellor. "Almost anything you wish. There's snail watching, for example."
"No," said Craig.
"Or stamp collecting," said the counsellor. "Or knitting. A lot of gentlemen knit and find it very soothing."
"I don't want to knit," said Craig.
"You could make money."
"What for?" asked Craig.
"Well, now," the counsellor said, "that is something I've often wondered, too. There's no need of it, really. All you have to do to get money is go to a bank and ask for some of it. But there are men who actually set out to make money and, if you ask me, they use some rather shady methods. But, be that as it may, they seem to get a great deal of satisfaction doing it."
"What do they do with it once they get it?" asked Craig.
"I wouldn't know," the counsellor told him. "One man buried it and then forgot where he buried it and he remained happy the rest of his life running around with a lantern and a shovel looking for it."
"Why the lantern?"
"Oh, I forgot to tell you that. He never hunted it in daylight. He hunted in the night."
"Did he ever find it?"
"Come to think of it," the counsellor said, "I don't believe he did."
"I don't think," said Craig, "that I'd care for making money."
[...] "You might get married," the counsellor suggested.
"What? You mean to one woman?"
"That is what I mean."
"And raise a bunch of kids?"
"Many men have done it," said the counsellor. "They have been quite satisfied."
"It seems," said Craig, "on the face of it, just a bit obscene."
"There are many other possibilities," the counsellor told him.
[The Fence, p. 90-91]
From Iain M. Banks, Against a Dark Background (Orbit, 2007):
"A lot of those records really shouldn't be trusted."
"Yes, there is quite a remarkable disparity between the written reports and most of the associated computer files. Several of the institutions you attended seemed to feel there might be a causal link between this phenomenon and your uncharacteristic keenness for the subject of computing."
"Coincidence; they couldn't prove a thing."
"Indeed, I don't think I've heard of anybody suing a school yearbook before."
"A matter of principle; family honour was at stake. And anyway, litigiousness runs in our family. Gorko issued a writ against his father for more pocket money when he was five and Geis has almost sued himself several times."
[Chapter 1, Overture, p. 20-21]
"I am God," he said, nodding politely. [...]
"God?" she said.
The man nodded. "God," he said.
"I see," she said, drifting away again.
"God?" she said to the man with the dark, round face she'd seen earlier in what she had assumed to be a dream. He shifted awkwardly on the small plastic seat and brushed imaginary dust from the thigh of his violently clashing yellow and violet uniform trousers. "Well," he said. "Technically, yes." A pained expression passed over his face.
"Right," she said. "I see."
"I used," the man offered, frowning, "to be called Elson Roa." He was tall and spindly and he sat very still with a look of faint surprise on his face. His fair hair stuck up from his forehead, adding to the impression of slight bewilderment.
"Elson Roa," she repeated.
"But then I became God," he nodded. "Or rather realised that I always had been God. God in the monotheistic sense that I am all that really exists." He was silent for a moment. "I can see you are an apparence who is going to need an explanation."
"An explanation," she said. "Yes. That might be a good idea."
Sharrow had been captured by Solipsists.
They were a fifty-or-so-strong band of licensed privateers [...] dedicated to self-fulfilment, union-rate security provision, and - where possible - robbing the rich. Mostly, however, they were hired by insurance and finance companies to frighten reluctant clients and repossess unpaid-for material. [...]
"But if you're God," Sharrow said to Elson Roa, "why do you need the others?"
"What others?" Roa said.
Sharrow looked exasperated. "Oh, come on."
Elson Roa shrugged. "My apparences? They are the sign that my will is not yet strong enough to support my existence without extraneous help. I am working on this." Roa coughed.
[...] "So, she said. "Are you immortal?"
Roa looked thoughtful. "I'm not sure," he said. "The idea may not be relevant; time itself may be a redundant concept. What do you think? I may have created you as a platform for part of just such an answer."
"I really have no idea," she confessed. She waved a hand towards the bulkhead behind her. "What about the others? Do they - the apparences - all call themselves God, too?" she asked.
"Apparently," Roa said, without the hint of a smile.
[...] Roa looked suddenly confused. "Um, apart from one, who's an atheist," he said suddenly.
"I beg your pardon?"
"We all call ourselves God except for one apparence, who is an atheist."
"Ah-ha," she said, nodding slowly. "And what does this person call themself?"
Roa cleared his throat, then closed his eyes and made a strange humming noise while rolling his head around on his neck for a few moments.
The he opened his eyes. She smiled at him.
He looked displeased, got up and walked out.
She suspected he'd been hoping that when he opened his eyes she'd have disappeared.
"Well," Roa said to her. "Here we are. I have no idea whether I shall need you in the future, but I trust I imagine you well, if we do meet again." He fell silent and stared at his fingernails. [...] Keteo the driver was gunning the engine. [...] Roa looked away and closed his eyes. He made a humming noise and started to roll his head.
She got down out of the half-track and stood on the road. Buses grumbled past; people [...] walked past.
Elson Roa opened his eyes. He looked briefly delighted, then saw her standing on the road surface and started. He frowned down at her.
"Oh," he said. "Politeness." He reached down with one hand. She shook it. "Good-bye," he said.
"Good-bye," she replied, and turned and walked away.
When she looked back, Roa and the other back-seat Solipsist were arguing vehemently with the driver [...]
[Chapter 6, Solo, p. 109-118]
[Chapter 7, Operating Difficulties, p. 121]
[Chapter 10, Just a Concept, p. 182]
"I have," Zefla said. [...] "One of my lecturers used it as example of a degenerated ... something or other."
[...] "Last entry in the encyclopedia is - ye gods - twenty years ago; the coronation of King Tard the seventeenth. Prophet's blood!" Cenuij sat back in surprise. "'No pictures available.'"
"A king?" Miz laughed.
"Retro suburb," Zefla breathed.
"The latest of the ..." Cenuij scrolled the screen then laughed. "Useless Kings," he said. "Well, how disarmingly honest."
[...] "Does it say what their religion is?"
Cenuij scrolled the text. "Basically home-grown; monarch-worship and theophobia."
"Theophobia?" Miz said.
"They hate gods," Zefla said.
"Fair enough," Miz said, nodding. "If I lived somewhere not event within hailing distance of the outskirts of the back-end-of-nowhere, I'd want somebody to blame, too."
[Chapter 9, Reunions, p. 159]
The rest of the town had been confusing, repetitive, occasionally riotous. The cathedral was small and disappointing; even its bell, which rang out each hour, sounded flat. The only really interesting feature the cathedral possessed was a stone statue of the Pharpechian God on the outside of the building, having various unpleasant things done to Him by small, fiendishly grinning Pharpechian figures armed with farming implements and instruments of torture.
[...] The monstery hospitale where Cenuij had been given a bed for the night looked closed and deserted, though they could hear muted curse-singing over the high walls.
[Chapter 12, Snow Fall, p. 224]
From Harry Harrison & Marvin Minsky, The Turing Option (Viking, 1992):
"GRAM? Don't you mean DRAM?"
"A thing of the past. Dynamic random-access memory is now as dead as the dodo. These gigabyte ERAMs are static, no need for batteries, and have so much memory that they are replacing CDs and digital audiotape. With the new semantic compression techniques they'll soon replace videotape as well."
[Chapter 16, November 14, 2023, p. 160]
From Nick Pollotta & James Clay, That Darn Squid God (Double Dragon Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55404-519-8):
The hussy! A proper Victorian gentleman, Professor Einstein felt his mouth go dry at the raw sexual display. I-I c-can almost see her actual leg!
Dropping the hem again, she now slowly unbuttoned her blouse, exposing a full inch of swelling cleavage.
Desperately fighting not to rise to the carnal bait, the professor tried juggling algebraic equations and logarithms in his head. Euclid, save this mortal wretch!
[Chapter 7, p. 75]
[Chapter 11, p. 113]
When the iron-plated door was finally revealed, Professor Einstein replaced his neice at the door and spun the combination dial to his birthday, height, and the number of times he had been arrested in Tokyo. With a solid clunk, the internal bolts disengaged, and Einstein pushed open the armoured door.
[Chapter 27, p. 269]
From Asgard by Nigel Frith, (Unicorn [Unwin Paperbacks], 1982, ISBN 0049232092):
From Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand (Corgi, 2010, ISBN 9780552562799):
[Footnote, Chapter 34, p. 363]:
From Jonathan Stroud, The Golem's Eye (Corgi, 2010, ISBN 9780552562812):
[Footnote, Chapter 16, p. 178]
From Jonathan Stroud, Ptolemy's Gate (Corgi, 2010, ISBN 9780552562805):
[Chapter 9, p. 112]
From Jonathan Stroud, The Ring of Solomon (Corgi, 2010, ISBN 9780385619165):
Footnote: Humans don't often suffer such indignities, I know, but it has happened. One magician I worked for once called for my aid during an earthquake which was toppling his tower. Unfortunately for him, the precise words he used were: "Preserve me!" A cork, a great big bottle, a vat of pickling fluid, and - presto! - the job was done. [...]
[Chapter 23, p. 229]
[Footnote, Chapter 23, p. 239]
[Footnote, Chapter 25, p. 252]
From Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Bloomsbury, 2009, ISBN 9781608190867):
It was not that the Ministers were dull-witted -- upon the contrary there were some brilliant men among them. Nor were they, upon the whole, bad men; several led quite blameless domestic lives and were remarkably fond of children, music, dogs, landscape painting. Yet so unpopular was the Government that, had it not been for the careful speeches of the Foreign Secretary, it would have been almost impossible to get any piece of business through the House of Commons.
The Foreign Secretary was a quite peerless orator. No matter how low the Government stood in the estimation of everyone, when the Foreign Secretary stood up and spoke -- ah! how different everything seemed then! How quickly was every bad thing discovered to be the fault of the previous administration (an evil set of men who wedded general stupidity to wickedness of purpose). As for the present Ministry, the Foreign Secretary said that not since the days of Antiquity had the world seen gentlemen so virtuous, so misunderstood and so horribly misrepresented by their enemies. They were all as wise as Solomon, as noble as Caesar and as courageous as Mark Antony; and no one in the world so much resembled Socrates in point of honesty as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But in spite of all these virtues and abilities none of the Ministers’ plans to defeat the French ever seemed to come to anything and even their cleverness was complained of Country gentlemen who read in their newspapers the speeches of this or that Minister would mutter to themselves that he was certainly a clever fellow. But the country gentlemen were not made comfortable by this thought. The country gentlemen had a strong suspicion that cleverness was somehow unBritish. That sort of restless, unpredictable brilliance belonged most of all to Britain’s arch-enemy, the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte; the country gentlemen could not approve it.
[vol. I, Mr Norrell, Chapter 6, "Magic is not respectable, sir.", p. 69-70]
[vol. I, Mr Norrell, Chapter 11, Brest. November 1807, p. 109]
"What, sir? Which, sir? No, sir. I have not brought any of those things."
The gentleman disappeared suddenly -- and reappeared a moment later with an armful of tools. There was an axe and a spit and three things Stephen had never seen before. One was a little like a hoe, one was a little like a spade and the last was a very strange object, something between a spade and a scythe. He handed all of them to Stephen, who examined them with a puzzled air.
The gentleman proved surprizingly knowledgeable about the art of peat cutting. And though he did none of the actual work himself he carefully instructed Stephen how to cut away the uppermost layer of grasses and moss with one tool, how to cut the peat with another tool and how to lift out the pieces with a third.
[vol. II, Jonathan Strange, Chapter 42, Strange decides to write a book. June-December 1815, p. 504,506-507]
[vol. III, John Uskglass, Chapter 65, The ashes, the pearls, the counterpane and the kiss, p. 797-798]
From Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen, 2012, ISBN 9781451638455):
Each box contained one of the following: live, venemous, agitated snakes on the verge of escape; nonvenemous garden snakes; dead snakes; or things that looked like snakes but weren't, such as large, sluggish worms. It was Ivan's morning duty to open each box, identify the species, vigor, mood, and fang-count of the writhing things inside, and sort them by genuine urgency.
[...] Desplains was possibly the sanest boss Ivan had ever worked for, and the least given to dramatics, and Ivan wished to preserve those qualities for as long as he could. Forever by preference. So every once in a while, Ivan let something trivial but amusing filter through to the admiral, just to keep up his morale, and today seemed like a good day to stick in a couple of those as well. Ivan was still looking for a few more things he could legitimately enter when Desplains blew in, collected his coffee, and murmured, "Ophidian census today, Ivan?"
"All garden variety, sir."
[...] "Meeting with Commodore Blanc and staff in thirty minutes," Ivan reminded him. "I have the agenda ready."
"Very well. Snakes aweigh."
[Chapter 5, p. 80-81]
[Chapter 14, p. 224]