Top 100

Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2024 Update)
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Neal Stephenson Quote: “You have multiple core competencies with surprisingly minimal Venn.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Constable Moore had reached the age when men can subject their bodies to the worst irritations – whisky, cigars, woolen clothes, bagpipes – without feeling a thing or, at least, without letting on.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “One of the problems, hanging out with me, is that I can turn any topic into a toxic horror story. I’ve lost two girlfriends and a job by reading an ingredients label out loud, with annotations, at the wrong time.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Gold is the corpse of value...”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Every parent of a teenager gets used to it: the moment in a child’s life when he or she decides that certain facts are just too much trouble to explain to Mom or Dad.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Fighting isn’t about knowing how. It’s about deciding to.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “As Hiro crests the pass on his motorcycle at five in the morning, the town of Port Sherman, Oregon, is suddenly laid out before him: a flash of yellow loglo wrapped into a vast U-shaped valley that was ground out of the rock, a long time ago, by a big tongue of ice in an epochal period of geological cunnilingus.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Native Americans had tricksters – creatures full of cunning – like Coyote and Raven in their mythologies, but they didn’t have technology yet, and so they hadn’t coupled the Trickster with Crafts to generate this hybrid Technologist-god.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Two tires fly. Two Wail. A bamboo grove, all chopped down From it, warring songs.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Moral reforms and deteriorations are moved by large forces, and they are mostly caused by reactions from the habits of a preceding period. Backwards and forwards swings the great pendulum, and its alternations are not determined by a few distinguished folk clinging to the end of it. – Sir Charles Petrie, THE VICTORIANS.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Speech is aggression Every utterance has a winner and a loser Curiosity is feigned Lying is performative Stupidity is power.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas “Fscking” Edison.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Julia Bliss Flaherty, as Ivy now realized, was of the same stripe. Pinned down and obliged to justify herself, she would explain her actions in terms of some altruistic plan. And she might even believe it. But it wasn’t that at all. She was like Ivy’s grandmother. If you paid fealty to her, she would favor you, and your reputation and power would grow among all the others who did likewise.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “As part of Mr. Lee’s good neighbor policy, all Rat Things are programmed never to break the sound barrier in a populated area. But Fido’s in too much of a hurry to worry about the good neighbor policy. Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Remember, these things are designed for amateurs.” “Tell me about it,” Ivy snorted. “The user interface is so easy to use, I can’t do anything.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Middle class prosperity is lapidary; the flow of cash rounds and smooths a person like water does riverbed stones.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The best way to know someone is to have a conversation with them.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily.” – Alan Turing.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “My men think you are dead now, and won’t waste balls on you,” Jack said. “In fact I have let you live, but for one purpose only: so that you can make your way back to Paris and tell them the following: that the deed you are about to witness was done for a woman, whose name I will not say, for she knows who she is; and that it was done by ‘Half-Cocked’ Jack Shaftoe, L’Emmerdeur, the King of the Vagabonds, Ali Zaybak: Quicksilver!”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “She’s not afraid. She’s wearing a dentata.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I see there are no heroes any more. Where is my head of Joseph Kony on a plate? Slice him thinly so there’s enough to go around.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We see everything from the narrator’s point of view, so exposition about the world is limited to what impinges directly on him and the story he’s telling. Considering how old the world is, we learn very little about its history, which I think is a good thing.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I just assume I’m not invisible. I assume I’m wearing fluorescent clothes, and there’s a million-dollar bounty going to the first driver who manages to hit me. And I ride on that assumption.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In Memoriam, Louis Anglesey, Earl of Upnor, finest swordsman in England, beaten to death with a stick by an Irishman.’ ” Teague considered it for a moment, then nodded. “In Connaught,” he added. “In Connaught,” Bob agreed, then eyed the ditch.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Indeed the Encyclopedia Qwghlmiana features a lengthy article about the local system of runes. The author of this article has such a chip on his shoulder that the thing is almost physically painful to read.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The number 65,536 is an awkward figure to everyone except a hacker, who recognizes it more readily than his own mother’s date of birth: It happens to be a power of 2 – 216 power to be exact – and even the exponent 16 is equal to 24, and 4 is equal to 22. Along with 256; 32,768; and 2,147,483,648; 65,536 is one of the foundation stones of the hacker universe, in which 2 is the only really important number because that’s how many digits a computer can recognize.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Hygiene isn’t really about dirt. It’s about germs. It’s to prevent the spread of sequences that are dangerous if they are allowed to propagate. We don’t think the Ita are dirty in the sense of not washing. But their whole purpose is to work with information that spreads in a promiscuous way.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Reality is what we make it. Or what is made for us by the companies we keep. It is our clay from which we fashion ourselves.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What’s an adventure?” Nell said. The word was written across the page. Then both pages filled with moving pictures of glorious things: girls in armor fighting dragons with.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Supposing that originally there was nothing but one creator, how could ordinary binary sexual relations come into being?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We say of some Nations, the People are lazy, but we should say only, they are poor; Poverty is the Fountain of all Manner of Idleness. – DANIEL DEFOE, A Plan of the English Commerce.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “So, this place Zelrijk-Aalberg straddles the border of Belgium.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “For between true science and erroneous doctrines, ignorance is in the middle. – HOBBES, Leviathan.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Talent was not rare; the ability to survive having it was.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This is exactly how the World Wide Web works: the HTML files are the pithy description on the paper tape, and your Web browser is Ronald Reagan.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Reptiles are just retarded birds,” said the King of the Birds, “and so I am your King, thank you very much.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Just aiming a speely input device, or a Farspark chambre, or whatever you call it... a speelycaptor... at something doesn’t collect what is meaningful to me. I need someone to gather it in with all their senses, mix it round in their head, and make it over into words.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Is this some exercise in keeping a straight face?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The science fiction approach doesn’t mean it’s always about the future; it’s an awareness that this is different.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The mystic nails a symbol to one meaning that was true for a moment but soon becomes false. The poet, on the other hand, sees that truth while it’s true but understands that symbols are always in flux and that their meanings are fleeting.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What’s the point? The mass of people are so stupid, so gullible, because they want to be misled. There’s no way to make them not want it. You have to work with the human race as it exists, with all of its flaws. Getting them to see reason is a fool’s errand.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Intuition, like a flash of lightning, lasts only for a second. It generally comes when one is tormented by a difficult decipherment and when one reviews in his mind the fruitless experiments already tried. Suddenly the light breaks through and one finds after a few minutes what previous days of labor were unable to reveal.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “A bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “She looked at me like I was crazy. Most of my lovers do, and that’s partly why they love me, and partly why they leave.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Hollywood was all about. Hollywood was merely a specialized bank – a consortium of large financial entities that hired talent, almost always for a flat rate, ordered that talent to create a product, and then marketed that product to death, all over the world, in every conceivable medium. The goal was to find products that would keep on making money forever, long after the talent had been paid off and sent packing.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Allegedly there was a Google Docs spreadsheet where it was being kept track of, but no one could agree on where it was.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The old neighborhoods of Shanghai, Feedless or with overhead Feeds kludged in on bamboo stilts, seemed frighteningly inert, like an opium addict squatting in the middle of a frenetic downtown street, blowing a reed of sweet smoke out between his teeth, staring into some ancient dream that all the bustling pedestrians had banished to unfrequented parts of their minds.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The answer was that it was about twenty degrees west of their projected apogee, encircling a large new habitat called Akureyri, and heading generally in the direction of the Cape Verde boneyard that separated the Greenwich segment from the Rio segment. Which meant that it would soon be in the predominantly Ivyn part of the ring.”
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