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Reamde Reamde by Neal Stephenson
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Reamde Quotes Showing 1-30 of 90
“The GPS unit became almost equally obstreperous, though, over Richard’s unauthorized route change, until they finally passed over some invisible cybernetic watershed between two possible ways of getting to their destination, and it changed its fickle little mind and began calmly telling him which way to proceed as if this had been its idea all along.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Humans needed water or they would die, but dirty water killed as surely as thirst. You had to boil it before you drank it. This culture around tea was a way of tiptoeing along the knife edge between those two ways of dying.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“...he was fascinated by the mid-western/middle American phenomenon of recombinant cuisine. Rice Krispie Treats being a prototypical example in that they were made by repurposing other foods that had already been prepared (to wit, breakfast cereal and marshmallows). And of course, any recipe that called for a can of cream of mushroom soup fell into the same category. The unifying principle behind all recombinant cuisine seemed to be indifference, if not outright hostility, to the use of anything that a coastal foodie would define as an ingredient.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
tags: food
“From long experience in places like Afghanisatan and Chechnya, Sokolov recognised, in the black jihadist’s movements, a sort of cultural or attitudinal advantage that such people always enjoyed in situations like this: they were complete fatalists who believed that God was on their side. Russians, on the other hand, were fatalists of a somewhat different kind, believing, or at least strongly suspecting, that they were fucked no matter what, and that they had better just make the best of it anyway, but not seeing in this the hand of God at work or the hope of some future glory in a martyr’s heavens.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“In a manner familiar to anyone who had ever packed a car for a family trip, genial confusion gave way to impatience, then furious ultimatums, then ill-advised snap decisions.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“How could your cover be blown in Canada? Why even bother going dark there? How could you tell?”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“That, as far as she could tell, was the purpose of the religion she had been brought up in: it made people feel better when really horrible things happened, and it offered a repertoire of ceremonies that were used to add a touch of class to such goings-on as shacking up with someone and throwing dirt on a corpse. None of which especially bothered Zula or made her doubt its worthwhileness. Making sad people feel better was a fine thing to do.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“It had been a hell of a long time since he had been reduced to hiding behind a tree, and he did not view it as much of a professional achievement.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“They went inside. The young ones shuffled to a stop as their ironic sensibilities, which served them in lieu of souls, were jammed by a signal of overwhelming power.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“This was probably rooted in a belief that had been inculcated to him from the get-go: that there was an objective reality, which all people worth talking to could observe and understand, and that there was no point in arguing about anything that could be so observed and so understood. As long as you made a point of hanging out exclusively with people who had the wit to see and to understand that objective reality, you didn’t have to waste a lot of time talking. When a thunderstorm was headed your way across the prairie, you took the washing down from the line and closed the windows. It wasn’t necessary to have a meeting about it. The sales force didn’t need to get involved.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“The opening screen of T'Rain was a frank rip-off of what you saw when you booted up Google Earth. Richard felt no guilt about this since he had heard that Google Earth in turn was based on an idea from some old science fiction novel”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“People wait until they have a need for some history and then they customize it to suit their purposes.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Waging war on his enemies had been Sokolov’s habit and his profession for a long time, but being chivalrous to everyone else was simply a basic tenet of having your shit together as a human and as a man.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Apparently these three had left half of the surviving population of China seriously pissed off at them, as well as making mortal enemies with a rogue, defrocked Russian organized crime figure. In their spare time they had stolen money from millions of T’Rain players, created huge problems for a large multinational corporation that owned the game, and, finally—warming to the task—mounted a frontal assault on al-Qaeda.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Richard's ex-girlfriends were long gone, but their voices followed him all the time and spoke to him, like Muses or Furies. It was like having seven superegos arranged in a firing squad before a single beleaguered id, making sure he didn't enjoy that last cigarette.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Men wanted to be strong. One way to be strong was to be knowledgeable. In so many areas, it was not possible to be knowledgeable without getting a Ph.D. and doing a postdoc. Guns and hunting provided an out for men who wanted to be know-it-alls but who couldn't afford to spend the first three decades of their lives getting up to speed on quantum mechanics or oncology.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“There are always fuckups, and there is always a goat. Sometimes the goat is you.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“What he wasn't so good at was manipulating the internal states of other humans, getting them to see things his way, do things for him. His baseline attitude toward other humans wass that they could all just go fuck themselves and that he was not going to expend any effort whatsoever getting them to change the way they thought. This was probably rooted in a belief that hed been inculcated to him from the get-go: that there was an objective reality, which all people worth talking to could observe and understand, and that there was no point in arguing about anything that could be so observed and so understood.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“It gave them something to do and it took their mind off the way Yuxia was driving, which, had they paid attention to it, might have been the most frightening thing they had seen all day.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Maybe we should go back and get their guns,” Marlon suggested. “That’s how it would work in a video game,” Csongor said, which was his way of agreeing.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“It was then that she cut him off in midsentence and said that it was over. She said it with a certainty and a conviction in her voice and her face that left him fascinated and awed. Because guys, at least of his age, didn't have the confidence to make major decisions from their gut like that. They had to build a superstructure of rational thought on top of it. But not Zula. She didn't have to decide. She just had to pass on the news.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“And so what moved him onward and down the office building’s stairway was not any sort of foolish hope that he could actually be saved, but competitive fury at the fact that he had been outdone by the suicidal improvisations of this fanatic.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Most of the people around the entrance were, of course, bellhops and taxi drivers. Guests went in and out. Some were dressed in business suits, others in casual tourist attire. He did not see any commandos in tracksuits.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“There was no way that these guys were going to let a bleeding, barefoot woman simply wander off alone into the streets. Two of them were already running toward her with hands reaching out in a manner that, in normal circumstances, would have seemed just plain ungentlemanly. What would have been designated, in a Western office, as a hostile environment was soon in full swing as numerous rough strong hands were all over her, easing her to a comfortable perch on a chair that was produced as if by magic, feeling through her hair to find bumps and lacerations. Three different first aid kits were broken open at her feet; older and wiser men began to lodge objections at the profligate use of supplies, darkly suggesting that it was all because she was a pretty girl. A particularly dashing young man skidded up to her on his knees (he was wearing hard-shell knee pads) and, in an attitude recalling the prince on the final page of Cinderella, fit a pair of used flip-flops onto her feet.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“She definitely heard the words for airplane and airport, which delighted some little-girl part of her soul (“Yay, going on a trip!”) even as her higher brain was ticking off all the bad things that could happen when men like Jones came into proximity with jet aircraft.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“She considered hypothesis 3 to be quite unlikely, since she didn’t feel the least bit psychopathic, but included it in the list out of respect for the scientific method.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Other bits of England might be cramped, crowded, and cluttered, but only because all the available space had been claimed by this guest suite. It was situated right in Trinity College, and Richard guessed it had been laid out eight hundred years ago so that noble guests could ride their horses directly into the bedchamber and bring all of their squires and wolfhounds with them too.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Not that any of the sysadmin’s knowledge and skills were applicable here.

The psychological stance was the thing: the implicit faith, a little naive and a little cocky, that by banging his head against the problem for long enough he’d be able to break through in the end.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“Most of Csongor's time in T'Rain had been spent blundering about in a state of hapless newbie confusion. Only his long experience as a system administrator, struggling with Byzantine software installations, had prevented hum from plummeting into despair and simply giving up. Not that any of the sysadmin's knowledge and skills were applicable here. The psychological stance was the thing: the implicit faith, a little naive and a little cocky, that by banging his head against the problem for long enough he'd be able to break through in the end.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
“He had come home late with take-out Thai and slammed into the sofa and tried to watch a movie, but kept drifting from it to the screen of his laptop. This was part of Corporation 9592’s strategy; they had hired psychologists, invested millions in a project to sabotage movies—yes, the entire medium of cinema—to get their customers/players/addicts into a state of mind where they simply could not focus on a two-hour-long chunk of filmed entertainment without alarm bells going off in their medullas telling them that they needed to log on to T’Rain and see what they were missing.”
Neal Stephenson, Reamde

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