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Quotes of the day: John Brunner

Published Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 2:30 AM EDT
Sep 24 2013

John Kilian Houston Brunner (September 24, 1934 – August 26, 1995) was a prolific British author of science fiction novels and stories. His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, about an overpopulated world, won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science iction novel, and the BSFA award the same year. The Jagged Orbit won the BSFA award in 1970. Brunner was born at Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St. Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne then to Cheltenham. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, published under the name of Gill Hunt, but did not write full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Sauer in 1958. His health began to decline in the 1980s, and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986. He remarried in 1991. Brunner died of a heart attack in Glasgow, Scotland on August 25, 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention there. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any society which gives lip-service to the idea of equal opportunity is going to generate jealousy of others who are better off than you are, even if the thing that's in short supply can't be carved up and shared without destroying it.

But there isn't an outside. Talking about 'society's outcasts' or 'opting out' is so much whaledreck. The fact that we generate huge quantities of waste is all that allows people to go outside; they're benefiting from the superficial affluence which conformists use to alleviate boredom. In essence, using the term 'out' is as meaningless as trying to define a location outside the universe. There's no place for 'outside' to be.

Coincidence: You weren't paying attention to the other half of what was going on.

This is the third stage of human social evolution. First we had the legs race. Then we had the arms race. Now we're going to have the brain race. And, if we're lucky, the final stage will be the human race.

First you use machines, then you wear machines, and then...? Then you serve machines.

How do you whip up resentment against absentee landlords and pocketers of bribes when the highest ambition of the people is either to become the former or be in a position to receive the latter?

I can make a guess. There's going to be trouble. Come to think of it, that's a safe catch-all prophecy. Whatever happens in present circumstances there's going to be trouble.

If the evidence says you're wrong, you don't have the right theory. You change the theory, not the evidence.

If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists in treating another human being as a thing.

If you want to know what's shortly due for the guillotine look for the most obvious of all symptoms: extremism. It is an almost infallible sign- a kind of death-rattle- when a human institution is forced by its members into stressing those and only those factors which are identificatory, at the expense of others which it necessarily shares with competing institutions because human beings belong to all of them.

In an individual one would regard it as evidence of insanity to see someone repeatedly undertaking enterprises that resulted in his losing precisely what he claimed he was trying to achieve; it is not less lunatic to do it on the international scale, but if you've been catching the news lately you'll have noticed it's being done more than ever.

It's not because my mind is made up that I don't want you to confuse me with any more facts. It's because my mind isn't made up. I already have more facts than I can cope with.

Leadership: A form of self-preservation exhibited by people with autodestructive imaginations in order to ensure that when it comes to the crunch it'll be someone else's bones which go crack and not their own.

Like living creatures, automobiles expired when their environment became saturated with their own excreta. We ourselves are living creatures. We don't want the same to happen to us.

Love and joy are incredibly habit-forming; often a single exposure is enough to cause permanent addiction.

Nothing short of religion could persuade a normal girl to make herself look so awful.

The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history... I know guys can't learn from yesterday.

There are two kinds of fools. One says, 'This is old, and therefore good.' And one says, 'This is new, and therefore better.'

Unfair: Term applied to advantages enjoyed by other people which we tried to cheat them out of and didn't manage.

What people want, mainly, is to be told by some plausible authority that what they are already doing is right. I don't know know of a quicker way to become unpopular than to disagree.

When a species becomes terrified of its own young, it appears to be scheduled for the grand disposal down which went the dinosaurs.

You don't have to know everything. You simply need to know where to find it when necessary.

You have many years to live- do things you will be proud to remember when you're old.

Your life from birth to death resembles the progress of a hopeless drunk tightrope walker whose act has been so bad up till now that he's being bombarded with rotten eggs and broken bottles.

Categories: John Brunner, Quotes of the day


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