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Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2024 Update)
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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: “There is something new: A globe about the size of a grapefruit, a perfectly detailed rendition of Planet Earth, hanging in space at arm’s length in front of his eyes. Hiro has heard about this but never seen it. It is a piece of CIC software called, simply, Earth. It is the user interface that CIC uses to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns – all the maps, weather data, architectural plans, and satellite surveillance stuff.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Didn’t happen anymore. Pizza delivery is a major industry. A managed industry. People went to CosaNostra Pizza University four years just to learn it. Came in its doors unable to write an English sentence, from Abkhazia, Rwanda, Guanajuato, South Jersey, and came out knowing more about pizza than a Bedouin knows about sand.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The full cosmos consists of the physical stuff and consciousness. Take away consciousness and it’s only dust; add consciousness and you get things, ideas, and time.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What makes you think they’re spying on you?” “Voco. An aut where a fraa or suur is called out from the math – Evoked – and goes to do something praxic for the Panjandrums. We never see them again.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Downtown is before them, as high and bright as the aurora borealis rising from the black water of the Bering Sea.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Rife’s key realization was that there’s no difference between modern culture and Sumerian. We have a huge workforce that is illiterate or alliterate and relies on TV-which is sort of an oral tradition. And we have a small, extremely literate power elite-the people who go into the Meatverse, basically-who understand that information is power, and who control society because they have this semimystical ability to speak magic computer languages.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Men who believe that they are accomplishing something by speaking speak in a different way from men who believe that speaking is a waste of time.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I am on an expense account that would blow your mind.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The suit’s got a cervical airbag that blows up when you fall off the board, so you can bounce on your head. Besides, helmets feel weird. They say it doesn’t affect your hearing, but it does.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But blasting the drummer into the river, though it would have been easy at this range, was not a good way to be inconspicuous.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Also known as ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,’ or in the original Welsh, ‘Cwm Rhondda,’” added Sonar Taxlaw.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The meeting would later be known as the Council of the Seven Eves.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Most of their children had reached the age when they were no longer naturally endearing to anyone save their own parents; the size when their energy was more a menace than a wonder; and the level of intelligence when what would have been called innocence in a smaller child was infuriating rudeness. A honeybee cruising for nectar is pretty despite its implicit threat, but the same behavior in a hornet three times larger makes one glance about for some handy swatting material.”
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: “There are only two industries. This has always been true... There is the industry of things, and the industry of entertainment... After people have the things they need to live, everything else is entertainment. Everything.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Computers rely on the one and the zero to represent all things. This distinction between something and nothing – this pivotal separation between being and nonbeing – is quite fundamental and underlies many Creation myths.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “No surprises” is the motto of the franchise ghetto, its Good Housekeeping seal, subliminally blazoned on every sign and logo that make up the curves and grids of light that outline the Basin.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This one was called Ark Madiba, after a Moiran biologist of the Fourth Millennium who had in turn been named in memory of a hero of Old Earth.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The virus of irony is as widespread in California as herpes, and once you’re infected with it, it lives in your brain forever.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “So it’s not an architectural masterpiece. When Da5id and Hiro and the other hackers wrote The Black Sun, they didn’t have enough money to hire architects or designers, so they just went in for simple geometric shapes. The avatars milling around the entrance don’t seem to care.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “There is one universe, by the definition of universe. It is not the cosmos we see through our eyes and our telescopes – that is but a single Narrative, a thread winding through a Hemn space shared by many other Narratives besides ours. Each Narrative looks like a cosmos alone, to any consciousness that partakes of it. The Geometers came from other Narratives – until they came here, and joined ours.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Swords don’t run out of ammo,” Hiro shouts.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “If you sincerely believed in God, how could you form one thought, speak one sentence, without mentioning Him?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “A gazebo on top of a welding rig” was how Yul might have described it, if only he had been here.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He could have kept his money in The Black Sun and made ten million dollars about a year later when it went public, but his mother would have been a street person. So when his mother visits him in the Metaverse, looking tan and happy in her golfing duds, Hiro views that as his personal fortune. It won’t pay the rent, but that’s okay – when you live in a shithole, there’s always the Metaverse, and in the Metaverse, Hiro Protagonist is a warrior prince.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This is a terrible country for old people. You put them away in horrible buildings that are completely shut off from life, and then do everything possible to keep them alive. It is a very stupid system. You.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I don’t even know how to describe it. ‘Ragtag’ makes it sound like more than it is.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “If the Coastal Republic had believed in the existence of virtue, it could at least have aspired to hypocrisy.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The last ship home has sailed. From now on, launch vehicles will rise up into orbit, but they will not go back for ten thousand years.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But the basic premise of Eutropianism is that technology has made us post-human. That Homo sapiens plus technology is effectively a whole new species: immortal, omnipresent because of the Net, and headed towards omnipotence.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “People tried and failed to combine the words Izzy and Ymir. The closest they came was Izmir, but that had been the name of a city in Turkey.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “One of the great virtues of Confucianism was its suppleness. Western political thought tended to be rather brittle; as soon as the state became corrupt, everything ceased to make sense. Confucianism always retained its equilibrium, like a cork that could float as well in spring water or raw sewage.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Jad said, “The leakage was forcing choices, the making of which in no way improved matters.” Okay. So we were, in effect, locked in a room with a madman sorcerer. That clarified things a little.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “That’s funny because if anyone actually did prove the existence of God we’d just tell him ‘nice proof, Fraa Bly’ and start believing in God.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Like a horseman who reins in a wild stallion that has borne him, will he, nill he, across several counties; or a ship’s captain who, after scudding before a gale through a bad night, hoists sail, and gets underway once more, navigating through unfamiliar seas- thus Dr. Daniel Waterhouse, anno domini 1685, watching King Charles II die at Whitehall Palace.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “My lady,” Percival began. He had called her that yesterday, and she had guessed it was some kind of elaborate sarcasm. But this didn’t seem like the time for unpleasant jibes. Maybe it was just the way he’d been raised. Cnan wished she could meet Percival’s mother. “I cannot recommend that you remain in that position,” he said, “considering that hostile archers, in large numbers, are about to surround you.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Parking lots and chaos.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “If the Cloud Ark survived, it would survive on a water-based economy.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Most countries are static, all they need to do is keep having babies. But America’s like this big old clanking smoking machine that just lumbers across the landscape scooping up and eating everything in sight.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In trying to understand the Linux phenomenon, then, we have to look not at a single innovator but to a sort of bizarre Trinity : Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Bill Gates. Take away any of these three and Linux would not exist.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What do you think Orolo saw, when he looked out thus?” Fraa Jad asked. “He was a great appreciator of beauty and loved to look at the mountains from the starhenge,” I said. “You think he saw beauty? That is a safe answer, since it is beautiful. But what was he thinking about? What connections did the beauty enable him to perceive?” “I couldn’t possibly answer that.” “Don’t answer it. Ask it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In order to stay alive, you have to spend all day every day doing stupid meaningless work. And the only way to get out of it is to quit, cut loose, take a flyer, and go off into the wicked world, where you will be swallowed up and never heard from again.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He raised his eyebrows briefly. Since this was the only plausible way of moving something that huge, he didn’t consider it worthy of an extended answer.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The situation could not possibly be as dire as it seemed or they would all be dead.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The moon had broken up into seven large pieces, which inevitably became known as the Seven Sisters, and an uncountable number of smaller ones. Gradually the big ones acquired names. Doc Dubois was responsible for many of these. He gave them descriptive names that wouldn’t scare people. It wouldn’t do to call them Nemesis or Thor or Grond. So instead it was Potatohead, Mr. Spinny, Acorn, Peach Pit, Scoop, Big Boy, and Kidney Bean.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Morse code didn’t leave a paper trail, or an email thread on the screen of your tablet. She would never be able to scroll back and reread the exchange she’d just had with Rufus.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But what you learn, as you get older, is that there are a few billion other people in the world all trying to be clever at the same time, and whatever you do with your life will certainly be lost – swallowed up in the ocean – unless you are doing it along with like-minded people who will remember your contributions and carry them forward.”
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