Top 100

Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2023 Update)
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Neal Stephenson Quote: “A straightforward way of defining metaphysics is as the set of assumptions and practices present in the scientist’s mind before he or she begins to do science.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Maybe that’s what a leader is, Dinah. The one person who can’t – who shouldn’t – share her problems with anyone else.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He was forty-seven years old but in dim light could have passed for thirty.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “All of Rommel’s supplies and reinforcements come across those very straits from Italy, and land at Tunis or Bizerta. From there, Rommel can strike out east towards Egypt or west.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Some of them, out of habit, looked at him soberly; etiquette dictated that you give all sympathy to the oppressed.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Of persons I will say this: it is difficult to tell when they are running aright but easy to see when something has gone awry.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I get it,” Richard said. “But is that all we are? Just digital Crips and Bloods?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Talking to a black-and-white on the Street is like talking to a person who has his face stuck in a xerox machine, repeatedly pounding the copy button, while you stand by the output tray pulling the sheets out one at a time and looking at them.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It would be an idyllic tropical paradise if not for the malaria, the insects, the constant diarrhea and resulting hemorrhoids, and the fact that the people are dirty and smell bad and eat each other and use human heads for decoration.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “One thing Waterhouse likes about these Brits is that when they don’t know what the hell you are talking about, they are at least open to the possibility that it might be their fault.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Two days later a Scout simply disappeared without explanation, possibly the victim of a micrometeoroid, or even of suicide.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It registered on the mind as a blunt impression that could be talked about only by smearing it into some gray word like “complicated.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The byproduct of the lifestyle is polluted rivers, greenhouse effect, spouse abuse, televangelists, and serial killers.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “How could a man become a god?” Nell asked. “By living in an extremely pragmatic society,” said Constable Moore after some thought.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “And she went on in this vein for a minute or two; she could talk about alloys the way some girls talked about shoes.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Why bother to have a technical term for a religious ritual?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “A man dressed in a radiant white uniform stands below the ragged maw of the jetway holding his hands downwards with fluorescent orange sticks in them, like Christ dispensing mercy on a world of sinners.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Holding one of those things in your hands, cleaning the barrel and shoving the rounds into clips, really brings you face-to-face with what a desperate, last-ditch measure they really are. I mean, if it gets to the point where we are shooting at people and vice versa, then we have completely screwed up. So in the end, they only strengthened my interest in making sure we could do without them.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It wasn’t only the Lorites who said that is not a new result. People re-invented the wheel all the time. There was nothing shameful in it. If the rest of us oohed and aahed and said, “Gosh, a wheel, no one’s ever thought of that before,” just to make that person feel good, nothing would ever get done.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The mind couldn’t think about the End of the World all the time. It needed the occasional break, a romp through the trivial.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “GUIs tend to impose a large overhead on every single piece of software, even the smallest, and this overhead completely changes the programming environment. Small utility programs are no longer worth writing. Their functions, instead, tend to get swallowed up into omnibus software packages.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “People who like math. So I was trying to imagine – ” “When seven billion die, and only some thousands remain, where do the seven billion souls go?” “Yes.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The cathedral as a whole is awesome and stirring in spite, and possibly because, of the fact that we have no idea who built it. When we walk through it, we are communing not with individual stone carvers but with an entire culture.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “People are my books,” Ty said. “But I did bring a couple, in case the people all go to sleep.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “So now, when the people of Earth looked up into the night sky at the place where they ought to have seen the moon, they saw instead this slowly tumbling constellation of white boulders.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “An old market had stood there until I’d been about six years old, when the authorities had renamed it the Olde Market, destroyed it, and built a new market devoted to selling T-shirts and other objects with pictures of the old market. Meanwhile, the people who had operated the little stalls in the old market had gone elsewhere and set up a thing on the edge of town that was now called the New Market even though it was actually the old market.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The qualifications for being a Scout seemed to be a shocking level of physical endurance, a complete disregard for mortal danger, and some knowledge of how to exist in a space suit. All of them were Russian.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “No one thought about the big picture for a few thousand years. We were all scrambling to survive.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In a sword-fighting drill, where one participant is going to mount an attack and the other is to respond in some way, the attacker is known as the agent and the respondent is known as the patient.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He arouses violent controversy among a loose flock of chickens that is straggling across his path, none of whom can seem to figure out how to get out of his way; they’re scared of him, but not mentally organized enough to translate that fear into a coherent plan of action.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Southern California doesn’t know whether to bustle or just strangle itself on the spot.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We had these throwbacks who would do stuff like printing their emails out on paper to read them, or asking you for your goddamn fax number two decades after you had thrown away your fax machine.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Earth materializes, rotating majestically in front of his face. Hiro reaches out and grabs it. He twists it around so he’s looking at Oregon. Tells it to get rid of the clouds, and it does, giving him a crystalline view of the mountains and the seashore. Right.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Through the uneven morning mist, she could make out the ruin of the monastery on the northern verge. The broken, roofless walls of outbuildings stretched south of the main ruins in a broken curve. Birches and a few young oaks had grown up where monks had likely once raised vegetables. The rest of the clearing was filled with grass and brambles cut through with newly blazed paths. Four lean-tos had been erected just beyond the stone fence of an overgrown graveyard.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Commuters lining up at the tube stations, waiting to cross the Causeway into Greater Shanghai, seen only as a storm front of neonstained, coal-scented smog that encompassed the horizon.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “As we learned in Vietnam, high-powered weapons are so sensorily overwhelming that they are similar to psychoactive drugs.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Occasionally a red taxi or Mercedes-Benz would squeeze by along the iron fence and burst free, the driver holding down the horn button so furiously that he might detonate the air bag.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “For like a lot of young Moirans, Kath Two didn’t even try to establish a fixed home. With a home came a social circle, and perhaps a family.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Bolor-Erdene urged Dinah to address her as Bo. She was obviously of Far Eastern stock, and yet there was something in her eyes and cheekbones that did not look precisely Chinese. Dinah’s preliminary googling had already told her that Bo was Mongolian. Yuri.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The tragedy – and the entire point – of being a parent was the moment when the story stopped being about you.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Diax said something that is still very important to us, which is that you should not believe a thing only because you like to believe it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Then she felt shock and shame over the fact that she was thinking about coffee while her planet was being set on fire.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We’re like meridians, all beginning and ending in the same place. We spread out from the beginning and go our separate ways, over seas and mountains and islands and deserts, each telling our own story, as different as they could possibly be. But in the end we all converge and our ends are as much the same as our beginnings.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The world has actually been wired together by digital communications systems for a century and a half. Nothing that has happened during that time compares in its impact to the first exchange of messages between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan in 1858. That was so impressive that a mob of celebrants poured into the streets of New York and set fire to City Hall.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It became sort of obvious that one of them was the boss. Tall guy, a little older than the others, in a Manu jersey.” “Manu jersey?” “Manu Ginobili,” Peter said, almost angry that Zula did not understand the reference. “He plays for the Spurs.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “There was silence around the big table in the Banana.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It is heavy enough to stun a muskellunge.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It wasn’t just a matter of hiding what you really felt. If you hid your feelings well enough, it actually changed you. A.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The modern world’s hell on haiku writers: “Electrical generator” is, what, eight syllables? You couldn’t even fit that onto the second line!”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Any information system of sufficient complexity will inevitably become infected with viruses – viruses generated from within itself.”
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