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Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2024 Update)
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Neal Stephenson Quote: “Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy... Because they were hypocrites, the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefarious conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves-they took no moral stances and lived by none.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Everything from the brim of this hat to the hem of her dress was too complex for Daniel’s eye to comprehend – he was like an illiterate savage staring at the first page of an illuminated Bible – but.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Markus’s mind jumped straight to the most obvious explanation: “Is the president nuking people again?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The only reason no one ever did it with humans is because it seemed ethically dodgy, as well as completely unnecessary given the willingness of men to impregnate women every chance they got.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Sergeant Major,” Arjun said quietly, “there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Yur snorted. “Is that a fancy way of saying it’s above my pay grade, sir?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Izzy was full of people who were skewed toward the Asperger’s end of the social spectrum, and there was no better way to get them to start talking than to ask them a technical question.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But in the time-honored manner of most human males, he allowed his eyeballs to swivel her way so that he could check her out, then turned his head so that he could check her out better.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The string goes taught and the tray slides into the tunnel and disappears.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The question is, how long does Mr. Spinny have to live? And what does that tell us?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The streets of Pudong were filled with hungry and terrified refugees, and through them, in simple peasant clothes streaked with the blood of herself and of others, broken shackles dangling from her wrists, followed by her generals and ministers, walked the barbarian Princess with her book and her sword.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The ability to make judgments, to believe things, is the entire point of having a culture. I.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I think I’m in love,” she said. He clapped a bag over his mouth and threw up.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “When the gangplanks are drawn in from the stone edge of the Bund, they are cut off from a whole world that they’ll never see again, a world where they were kings. Now they are Marines again.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What are you doing?” Dengo would ask him. “Observing,” father would say. “But how long can you observe the same thing?” “Forever.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He is full of adrenaline, his nerves are shot, and his mind is cluttered up with free-floating anxiety-floating around on an ocean of generalized terror.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Technically speaking, the pond should be full of carp, but Hiro is American enough to think of carp as inedible dinosaurs that sit on the bottom and eat sewage.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The four-day elevator ride might be nothing more than a prelude to further journeys, some of which might take her to places with little to no bandwidth, and nothing was worse than getting stuck in a situation like that with nothing to read.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “She had stayed inside so that she could watch it on the TV in the room, let him know how it had looked on video, how the commentators and pundits had framed it. It.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “When you say ‘plugged it in,’ could you please tell me everything you plugged into it?” Peter had now dropped, improbably, into a polite, clinical mode, like a customer service rep in a Bangalore cubicle farm.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It’s just like the reviews promised – other people’s ordinariness is more rewarding than your own. Their banality is soothing to your own sense of failure. Because being you is so much more interesting than being me.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He had spoken with such absolute confidence that I knew he had to be blowing this out of his rectal orifice.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Waterhouse’s new roommate is out of town just now, but by glancing over his personal effects, Waterhouse estimates that he is paddling a black kayak from Australia to Yokosuka Naval Base, where he will slip on board a battleship and silently kill its entire crew with his bare hands before doing an Olympic-qualifying dive into the bay, punching out a few sharks, climbing back into his kayak and paddling back to Australia for a beer.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He meant rather that the evolution of our minds from bits of inanimate matter was more beautiful and more extraordinary than any of the miracles cataloged down through the ages by the religions of our world.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Vyacheslav exited through New Caird’s airlock, clambered down a stack of robots to the surface, and then made his way toward the site.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It gave them something to do and it took their mind off the way Yuxia was driving, which, had they paid attention to it, might have been the most frightening thing they had seen all day.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “That, as far as she could tell, was the purpose of the religion she had been brought up in: it made people feel better when really horrible things happened, and it offered a repertoire of ceremonies that were used to add a touch of class to such goings-on as shacking up with someone and throwing dirt on a corpse. None of which especially bothered Zula or made her doubt its worthwhileness. Making sad people feel better was a fine thing to do.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Juanita refused to analyze this process, insisted that it was something ineffable, something you couldn’t explain with words. A radical, rosary-toting Catholic, she has no problem with that kind of thing. But the bitheads didn’t like it. Said it was irrational mysticism. So she quit and took a job with some Nipponese company. They don’t have any problem with irrational mysticism as long as it makes money.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “BMW drivers take evasive action at the drop of a hat, emulating the drivers in the BMW advertisements – this is how they convince themselves they didn’t get ripped off.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I’m ready to commit to her at any time. But for god’s sake, I’m not even sure she’s heterosexual. It’d be madness to put a lesbian in charge of my ejaculatory functions.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It didn’t matter whether “football” for you was soccer or the American sport played by men in helmets.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It is miserably clear that the video has been shot by a third conspirator who is burdened with a consumer-grade camcorder and reeling from some kind of inner-ear disease that he or she would like to share with others.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “These people are as happy as, say, Fraa Orolo. They get what they want: naked ladies on their wheels. He gets what he wants: upsight to the mysteries of the universe.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “To be in a habitat – even a quite large and cosmopolitan one – when the Eye came around was, in pre-Zero terms, a little bit like being in a small town on the prairie and having a mobile Manhattan suddenly roll over the horizon, surround you, have a hundred kinds of intercourse with you, and then move on.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Lewis Carroll and J. M. Barrie were very strange men, and such is the nature of the written word that their personal strangeness shines straight through all the layers of Disneyfication like X-rays through a wall. Probably.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The campfires provide enough plain old regular visible light to show this sorry affair for what it is: a bunch of demented Boy Scouts, a jamboree without merit badges or hygiene.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But I have to warn you that this is the word – ‘politics’ – that nerds use whenever they feel impatient about the human realities of an organization.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Dinah could spend the rest of her life living by her word, giving everyone a fair shake, and all of that. Rufus would no doubt approve of all those things. But it was not the charge he had given her. He had told her, though not in so many words, to get busy building a future.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “His father was a sergeant major, his mother was a Korean woman whose people had been mine slaves in Nippon, and Hiro didn’t know whether he was black or Asian or just plain Army, whether he was rich or poor, educated or ignorant, talented or lucky. He didn’t even have a part of the country to call home until he moved to California, which is about as specific as saying that you live in the Northern Hemisphere. In the end, it was probably his general disorientation that did them in.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “That man behaves so much like the villain in a work of literature, it’s almost funny,” Arsibalt observed.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Those of us who are going to live,” Dinah Said, “have to start living by our own lights.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But this is how history is done now. People wait until they have a need for some history and then they customize it to suit their purposes.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The narration had lasted for the better part of an hour despite Markus’s increasingly frequent and obvious glances at his Swiss watch, and left all the others in a strange combination of spellbound, bored, horrified, and bemused.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Of course, the underlying structure of everything in England is posh. There is no in between with these people. You have to walk a mile to find a telephone booth, but when you find it, it is built as if the senseless dynamiting of pay phones had been a serious problem at some time in the past. And a British mailbox can presumably stop a German tank.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This is a very odd conversation,” Dappa observed. “On an arbitrary numerical scale of conversational oddness, ranging from one to ten, with ten being the oddest conversation I’ve ever had, and seven being the oddest conversation I have in a typical day, this rates no better than five,” Daniel returned.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Shaftoe pulls off his dog tags and wraps the will around them, then wraps the dog tags’ chain around the whole thing. He passes it down to the stern of the boat, where the boatman pockets it and cheerfully agrees to do the right thing with it when he gets back to Calamba.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Then, just for a blessed few hours, he had climbed out of that chopper into the high, cold, piney air of Bhutan, and gone for a ramble in the king’s Land Rover, and hiked up a misty mountain that had struck him as being straight from a 1970s album cover. And he had done some introspection about the fact that he couldn’t even take such a lovely place at face value but only liken it to such pop culture references.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “They were like three-year olds who shove pencils in their ears, discover that it hurts, and stop doing it. Lawrence’s first year went by almost instantly. Time just blazed by. Nowhere could be sunnier, more relaxing, than Hawaii.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Apparently the part of the brain that identified things as funny kept running as a background process even when its contributions were useless.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The people who know the most are not allowed to ask questions – or even to make suggestions. The least common denominator sets the standards. Just wait until you see Washington, Betsy – these goddamn car salesmen and small-town lawyers come into town every two years not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground, and this enormously sophisticated and powerful and dangerous system is at their mercy. The Agency distorts information to fit the half-assed policies they scheme up.”
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