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Iain M. Banks quotes (showing 1-30 of 332)

“The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn't.”
Iain M. Banks
“They speak very well of you".
- "They speak very well of everybody."
- "That so bad?"
- "Yes. It means you can´t trust them.”
Iain M. Banks
“Zakalwe, in all human societies we have ever reviewed, in every age and every state, there has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots.”
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons
“The bomb lives only as it is falling.”
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons
“It gripped her hand gently. 'Regret is for humans,' it said.
She laughed. 'Really?'
The machine shrugged and let go of her hand. 'Oh, no. It's just something we tell ourselves.”
Iain M. Banks, Against a Dark Background
“Perdition awaits at the end of a road constructed entirely from good intentions, the devil emerges from the details and hell abides in the small print.”
Iain M. Banks, Transition
“I just took [my cancer diagnosis] as bad luck, basically. It did strike me almost immediately, my atheist sort of thing kicked in and I thought "ha, if I was a God-botherer, I'd be thinking, why me God? What have I done to deserve this?" and I thought at least I'm free of that, at least I can simply treat it as bad luck and get on with it.”
Iain M. Banks
“One should never regret one's excesses, only one's failures of nerve.”
Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
“But it was pointless, it was stupid; he thought about thoughtless things. If I were a seabird . . . but how could you be a seabird? If you were a seabird your brain would be tiny and stupid and you would love half-rotted fish guts and tweaking the eyes out of little grazing animals; you would know no poetry and you could never appreciate flying as fully as the human on the ground yearning to be you.
If you wanted to be a seabird you deserved to be one.”
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons
“Most people are not prepared to have their minds changed," he said. "And I think they know in their hearts that other people are just the same, and one of the reasons people become angry when they argue is that they realize just that, as they trot out their excuses."

"Excuses, eh?" Well, if this ain't cynicism, what is?" Erens snorted.

"Yes, excuses," he said, with what Erens thought might just have been a trace of bitterness. "I strongly suspect the things people believe in are usually just what they instinctively feel is right; the excuses, the justifications, the things you're supposed to argue about, come later. They're the least important part of the belief. That's why you can destroy them, win an argument, prove the other person wrong, and still they believe what they did in the first place." He looked at Erens. "You've attacked the wrong thing.”
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons
“It was a warship, after all. It was built, designed to glory in destruction, when it was considered appropriate. It found, as it was rightly and properly supposed to, an awful beauty in both the weaponry of war and the violence and devastation which that weaponry was capable of inflicting, and yet it knew that attractiveness stemmed from a kind of insecurity, a sort of childishness. It could see that—by some criteria—a warship, just by the perfectly articulated purity of its purpose, was the most beautiful single artifact the Culture was capable of producing, and at the same time understand the paucity of moral vision such a judgment implied. To fully appreciate the beauty of the weapon was to admit to a kind of shortsightedness close to blindness, to confess to a sort of stupidity. The weapon was not itself; nothing was solely itself. The weapon, like anything else, could only finally be judged by the effect it had on others, by the consequences it produced in some outside context, by its place in the rest of the universe. By this measure the love, or just the appreciation, of weapons was a kind of tragedy.”
Iain M. Banks, Excession
“If this goes badly and I make a crater, I want it named after me!”
Iain M. Banks, Against a Dark Background
“I had nightmares I thought were really horrible until I woke up and remembered what reality was at the moment.”
Iain M. Banks, Consider Phlebas
“What's one more meaningless act of violence on that zoo of a planet?
It would be appropriate.
When in Rome; burn it.”
Iain M. Banks, The State of the Art
“The History Of The Universe In Three Words

CHAPTER ONE
Bang!

CHAPTER TWO
sssss

CHAPTER THREE
crunch.

THE END”
Iain M. Banks
“But then, as she knew too well, the more fondly we imagine something will last forever, the more ephemeral it often proves to be.”
Iain M. Banks, Excession
“By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules.”
Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games
“Any theory which causes solipsism to seem just as likely an explanation for the phenomena it seeks to describe ought to be held in the utmost suspicion.”
Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist
“So basically you're sticking around to watch us all fuck up ?"
"Yes. It's one of life's few guaranteed constants.”
Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
“He knew all the answers. Everybody did. Everybody knew everything and everybody knew all the answers. It was just that the enemy seemed to know better ones.”
Iain M. Banks, Surface Detail
“Truth, I have learned, differs for everybody. Just as no two people ever see a rainbow in exactly the same place - and yet both most certainly see it, while the person seemingly standing right underneath it does not see it at all - so truth is a question of where one stands, and the direction one is looking in at the time.”
Iain M. Banks, Inversions
“I could try composing wonderful musical works, or day-long entertainment epics, but what would that do? Give people pleasure? My wiping this table gives me pleasure. And people come to a clean table, which gives them pleasure. And anyway" - the man laughed - "people die; stars die; universes die. What is any achievement, however great it was, once time itself is dead? Of course, if all I did was wipe tables, then of course it would seem a mean and despicable waste of my huge intellectual potential. But because I choose to do it, it gives me pleasure. And," the man said with a smile, "it's a good way of meeting people. So where are you from, anyway?”
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons
“All you ever were was a little bit of the universe, thinking to itself. Very specific; this bit, here, right now.”
Iain M. Banks, Surface Detail
“There was something comforting about having a vast hydrogen furnace burning millions of tons of material a second at the centre of a solar system. It was cheery.”
Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
“Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot,”
Iain M. Banks, Consider Phlebas
“Reason shapes the future, but superstition infects the present.”
Iain M. Banks, The State of the Art
“Common misconception that; that fun is relaxing. If it is, you’re not doing it right.”
Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games
“But what if someone kills somebody else?"
Gurgeh shrugged. "They're slap-droned."
"Ah! This sounds more like it. What does that drone do?"
"Follows you around and makes sure you never do it again."
"Is that all?"
"What more do you want? Social death, Hamin; you don't get invited to too many parties."
"Ah; but in your Culture, can't you gatecrash?"
"I suppose so," Gurgeh conceded. "But nobody'd talk to you.”
Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games
“He might come in useful.'
'Yeah. So's a broken leg if you want to kick yourself in the back of the head.”
Iain M. Banks, Against a Dark Background
“Jernau Gurgeh,” the machine said, making a sighing noise, “a guilty system recognizes no innocents. As with any power apparatus which thinks everybody’s either for it or against it, we’re against it. You would be too, if you thought about it. The very way you think places you among its enemies. This might not be your fault, because every society imposes some of its values on those raised within it, but the point is that some societies try to maximize that effect, and some try to minimize it. You come from one of the latter and you’re being asked to explain yourself to one of the former. Prevarication will be more difficult than you might imagine; neutrality is probably impossible. You cannot choose not to have the politics you do; they are not some separate set of entities somehow detachable from the rest of your being; they are a function of your existence. I know that and they know that; you had better accept it.” Gurgeh thought about this. “Can I lie?”
Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

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