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Larry Niven quotes (showing 1-30 of 53)

“The gods do not protect fools. Fools are protected by more capable fools.”
Larry Niven, Ringworld
“The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!”
Larry Niven
“Mother Nature doesn't care if you're having fun. ”
Larry Niven
“That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.”
Larry Niven
“Never fire a laser at a mirror. ”
Larry Niven
“1a) Never throw shit at an armed man.
1b) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.”
Larry Niven, N-Space
“Ethics change with technology.”
Larry Niven, N-Space
“How much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a leaf?”
Larry Niven, The Ringworld Engineers
“A civilization has the ethics it can afford”
Larry Niven
“There were timelines branching and branching, a mega-universe of universes, millions more every minute. Billions? Trillions? The universe split every time someone made a decision. Split, so that every decision ever made could go both ways. Every choice made by every man, woman, and child was reversed in the universe next door.”
Larry Niven
“The Product of Freedom and Security is a constant (F X S = k). Giving up freedom for security is beginning to look naive.”
Larry Niven
“Never tell a computer to forget it.”
Larry Niven, A World Out of Time
“I myself have dreamed up a structure intermediate between Dyson spheres and planets. Build a ring 93 million miles in radius - one Earth orbit - around the sun. If we have the mass of Jupiter to work with, and if we make it a thousand miles wide, we get a thickness of about a thousand feet for the base.

And it has advantages. The Ringworld will be much sturdier than a Dyson sphere. We can spin it on its axis for gravity. A rotation speed of 770 m/s will give us a gravity of one Earth normal. We wouldn't even need to roof it over. Place walls one thousand miles high at each edge, facing the sun. Very little air will leak over the edges.

Lord knows the thing is roomy enough. With three million times the surface area of the Earth, it will be some time before anyone complains of the crowding.”
Larry Niven
“The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum”
Larry Niven, Ringworld
“In the world of words the imagination is one of the forces of nature.”
Larry Niven
“I asked him, "Do you know the difference between nude and naked?"

He shook his head.

"Nude is artistic. Naked is defenseless.”
Larry Niven
“There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is 'idiot'.”
Larry Niven
“There had been a popular joke on Freedom, started by a man named Calder. Looking down from space, he had said, the dominant life forms on Earth were obviously the cereals and other grasses. They occupied all the most desirable and fertile land; and they had tamed insects and animals to care for them. In particular, they had domesticated the bipeds to nurture and cultivate them and to save and plant their seed. Now, watching the farmers, Alex could easily imagine that they were worshiping and genuflecting before their masters.”
Larry Niven
“For two hundred and fifty years the kzinti had not attacked human space. They had nothing to attack with. For two hundred and fifty years men had not attacked the kzinti worlds; and no kzin could understand it. Men confused them terribly.”
Larry Niven, Ringworld
“It is a cardinal sin to bore the reader.”
Larry Niven
“The value of a thing is what that thing will bring. -Legal Maxim”
Larry Niven, Lucifer's Hammer
“Fear is the brother of hate.”
Larry Niven
tags: fear, hate
“It's very difficult for a black man to get out of South-Central Los Angeles, and get out civilized....The only men I know who have escaped, all began reading Robert Heinlein at age ten.”
Larry Niven, Scatterbrain
“The majority is always sane”
Larry Niven
“Hopeless causes are the only ones worth fighting for. The fight for the taxpayer is the most hopeless of them all.”
Larry Niven, Lucifer's Hammer
“Long ago, Louis Wu had stood at the void edge of Mount Lookitthat. The Long Fall River, on that world, ends in the tallest waterfall in known space. Louis's eyes had followed it down as far as they could penetrate the void mist. The featureless white of the void itself had grasped at his mind, and Louis Wu, half hypnotized, had sworn to live forever. How else could he see all there was to see?
Now he reaffirmed that decision.”
Larry Niven, Ringworld
“Psi and/or magical powers, if real, are nearly useless.”
Larry Niven, N-Space
tags: esp, magic, psi
“Consider the true picture. Think of myriads of tiny bubbles, very sparsely scattered, rising through a vast black sea. We rule some of the bubbles. Of the waters we know nothing...”
Larry Niven
“One mark of a good officer, he remembered, was the ability to make quick decisions. If they happen to be right, so much the better”
Larry Niven
“my fur is matted, my eyes refuse to refocus, my sthondat-begotten room is too small, my microwave heater heats all meat to the same temperature, and it is the wrong temperature, and I cannot get it fixed.”
Larry Niven

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