Interesting Quotes

[These are quotes that I find interesting, inspiring, funny, memorable, thought-provoking, witty, well-written, or otherwise worthy or inclusion on this page. As always, I do believe that quotes need to be read in their proper context to be properly understood, so please do read the source material for these quotes. (I’ve done my best to include clear citations of sources. One of the annoyances in my life is the difficulty of finding the work that a certain quote is from in order to read it, due to the fact that many people, especially online, don’t bother to include citations.) Please note that I don’t necessarily agree with all of the quotations or with all of the views of their authors. I hope you find these quotes thought provoking, and if you have something you’d like me to include (or have noticed an error in a quote already on this page), please feel free to email me at]

Adams, Douglas

  • The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy(ISBN: 978-0-307-29181-3)
    • Book 1: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [1979]
      • Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” (p. 5)

      • In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.” (p. 6)

    • Book 2: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe [1980]
      • “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another which states that this has already happened.” (introductory passage, p. 148)
      • “The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created. This had made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” (Ch 1, p. 149)

      • “For when you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little marker, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, ‘You are here.'” (Ch 10, p. 194)
      • “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. It has been built on the fragmented remains o f . . . it will be built on the fragmented . . . that is to say it will have been built by this time, and indeed has been—

One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with. There is no problem about changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank in order to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term “Future Perfect” has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.

To resume:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering.

It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe.

This is, many would say, impossible.

In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptuous meals while watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.

This, many would say, is equally impossible.

You can arrive (mayan arrivan on-when) for any sitting you like without prior (late fore-when) reservation because you can book retrospectively, as it were, when you return to your own time (you can have on-book haventa forewhen presooning returningwenta retrohome).

This is, many would now insist, absolutely impossible.

At the Restaurant you can meet and dine with (mayan meetan con with dinan on when) a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time.

This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible.

You can visit it as many times as you like (mayan on-visit re-onvisiting . . . and so on—for further tense correction, consult Dr. Streetmentioner’s book) and be sure of never meeting yourself, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.

This, even if the rest were true, which it isn’t, is patently impossible, say the doubters.

All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.

This, many claim, is not merely impossible but clearly insane, which is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan: ‘If you’ve done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?'” (Ch 15, p. 213-4)

      • “One of the major selling points of that wholly remarkable travel book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, apart from its relative cheapness and the fact that it has the words DON’T PANIC written in large friendly letters on its cover, is its compendious and occasionally accurate glossary. The statistics relating to the geo-social nature of the Universe, for instance, are deftly set out between pages nine hundred and thirty-eight thousand three hundred three hundred and twenty-four and nine hundred and thirty-eight thousand three hundred and twenty-six; and the simplistic style in which they are written is partly explained by the fact that the editors, having to meet a publishing deadline, copied the information off the back of a packet of cereal, hastily embroidering it with a few footnotes in order to avoid prosecution under the incomprehensibly tortuous Galactic Copyright laws.

It is interesting to note that a later and wilier editor sent the book backward in time through a temporal warp, and then successfully sued hte breakfast cereal company for infringement of the same laws.

Here is a sample:

The Universe—some information to help you live in it.

1 AREA: Infinite.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy offers this definition of the word “Infinite.”

Infinite: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real “wow, that’s big,” time. Infinity is just so big that, by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we’re trying to get across here.

2 IMPORTS: None.

It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from.

3 EXPORTS: None.

See Imports.


It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may met from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.


In fact there are three freely convertible currencies in the Galaxy, but none of them count. The Altairian Dollar has recently collapsed, The Flainian Pobble Bead is only exchangeable for other Flainian Pobble Beads, and the Triganic Pu has its only very special problems. Its exchange rate of eight Ningis to one Pu is simple enough, but since a Ningi is a triangular rubber coin six thousand eight hundred miles along each side, no one has ever collected enough to own one Pu. Ningis are not negotiable currency, because the Galactibanks refuse to deal in fiddling small change. From this basic premise, it is also very simple to prove that the Galactibanks are also the product of a deranged imagination.

6 ART: None

The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn’t a mirror big enough—see point one.

7 SEX: None.

Well, in fact there is a an awful lot of this, largely because of the total lack of money, trade, banks, art or anything else that might keep all the nonexistent people of the Universe occupied.

However, it is not worth embarking on a long discussion of it now because it really is terribly complicated. For further information, see Guide Chapters seven, nine, ten, eleven, fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one to eight-four inclusive, and in fact most of the rest of the Guide.” (Ch 19, p. 243-4)

    • Book 3: Life, the Universe, and Everything [1982]
      • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying.

There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying.

The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.


One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. Its no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won’t. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you’re halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss it.” (Ch 9, p. 363-4)

    • Book 4: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish [1984]
      • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is, as has been remarked before often and accurately, a pretty startling kind of thing. It is, essentially, as the title implies, a guidebook. The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizable number of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially where possible, the more corrupt ones, this.

The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem.

This is:


Read it through again and you’ll get it.

The Galaxy is a rapidly changing place. There is, frankly, so much of it, every bit of which is continually on the move, continually changing. A bit of a nightmare, you might thing, for a scrupulous and conscientious editor diligently striving to keep all this massively detailed and complex electronic tome abreast of all the changing circumstances and conditions that the Galaxy throws up every minute of every hour of every day, and you would be wrong. Where you would be wrong would be in failing to realize that the editor, like all the editors the Guide has ever had, has no real grasp of the meaning of the words “scrupulous,” “conscientious,” and “diligent,” and tends to get his nightmares through a straw.

Entries tend to get updated or not across the Sub-Etha Net according to if they read good.” (Ch 21, p. 556)

      • “There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped to chronicler’s mind.” (Epilogue, p 611)
    • Mostly Harmless [1992]
      • “Anything that happens, happens.

Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.

Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.

It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.” (Preface, p. 631-4)

      • “The history of the Galaxy has got a little muddled, for a number of reasons: partly because those who are trying to keep track of it have got a little muddled, but also because some very muddling things have been happening anyway.

One of the problems has to to with the speed of light and the difficulties involved in trying to exceed it. You can’t. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” (Ch 1, p. 635)


  • Oresteia [first performed 458 B.C.E.] (ISBN: 978-0-14-044333-2) [translator: Robert Fagles, 1966]
    • 2nd Play: The Libation Bearers
      • “Oh, the torment bred in the race,

the grinding scream of death

and the stroke that hits the vein,

the haemorrhage none can staunch, the grief,

the curse no man can bear.


But there is a curse in the house

and not outside it, no,

not from others but from them,

their bloody strife. We sing to you,

dark gods beneath the earth.


Now hear, you blissful powers underground —

answer the call, send help.

Bless the children, give them triumph now.” [Chorus] (lines 453-465)

Alighieri, Dante

  • The Divine Comedy [14th century, written 1308-1321] [translator: John Ciardi]
    • Cantica 1: The Inferno [1954 English translation] (ISBN: 0-451-52798-4)
      • “I am the way into the city of woe.

I am the way to a forsaken people.

I am the way into eternal sorrow.

Sacred justice moved my architect.

I was raised here by divine omnipotence,

primordial love and ultimate intellect.

Only those elements time cannot wear

were made before me, and beyond time I stand.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” (Inscription on the Gate of Hell, Canto III, lines 1-9)

      • “‘Oh ornament of wisdom and of art,

what souls are these whose merit lights their way

even in Hell. What joy sets them apart?’

And he to me: ‘The signature of honor

they left on earth is recognized in Heaven

and wins them ease in Hell out of God’s favor.'” (Canto IV, lines 73-8)

      • “In this dark corner of the morgue of wrath

lie Epicurus and his followers,

who make the soul share in the body’s death” (Canto X, lines 13-5)

      • “‘Poet,’ I said, ‘master of every dread

we have encountered, other than those fiends

who sallied from the last gate of the dead—

who is that wraith who lies along the rim

and sets his face against the fire in scorn,

so that the rain seems not to mellow him?’

And he himself, hearing what I had said

to my Guide and Lord concerning him, replied:

‘What I was living, the same I am now, dead.

Though Jupiter wear out his sooty smith

from whom on my last day he snatched in anger

the jagged thunderbolt he pierced me with;

though he wear out the other one by one

who labor at the forge of Mongibello

crying again ‘Help! Help! Help me, good Vulcan!’

as he did at Phlegra; and hurl down endlessly

with all the power of Heaven in his arm,

small satisfaction would he win from me.’

At this my Guide spoke with such vehemence

as I had not heard from him in all of Hell:

‘Of Capaneus, by your insolence

you are made to suffer as much fire inside

as falls upon you. Only your own rage

could be fit torment for your sullen pride.’

Then he turned to me more gently. ‘That,’ he said,

‘was one of the Seven who laid siege to Thebes.

Living, he scorned God, and among the dead

he scorns him yet. He thinks he may detest

God’s power too easily, but as I told him,

his slobber is a fit badge for his breast.'” (Canto XIV, lines 40-69)

      • “He answered me: ‘Forever round this path

Ulysses and Diomede move in such dress,

united in pain as once they were in wrath;

there they lament the ambush of the Horse

which was the door through which the noble seed

of the Romans issued from its holy source;

there they mourn that for Achilles slain

sweet Deidamia weeps even in death;

there they recall the Palladium in their pain.'” (Canto XXVI, lines 55-63)

    • Cantica 2: The Purgatorio [1957 English translation] (ISBN: 978-0-451-53142-1)
      • “No man may be so cursed by priest or Pope

but what the Eternal Love may still return

while any thread of green lives on in hope.” (Canto III, lines 133-5)

      • “Ah servile Italy, grief’s hostelry,

ah, ship unpiloted in the storm’s rage,

no mother of provinces but of harlotry!

That noble spirit leapted up with a start

at the mere sound of his own country’s name,

and took his fellow citizen to his heart:

while still, within you, brother wars on brother,

and though one wall and moat surrounds them all,

your living sons still gnaw on one another!

O wretched land, search all your coasts, your seas,

the bosom of your hills—where will you find

a single part that knows the joys of peace?

What does it matter that Justinian came

to trim the bit, if no one sits the saddle?

Without him you would have less cause for shame!

You priests who, if you heed what God decreed,

should most seek after holiness and leave

to Caesar Caesar’s saddle and his steed—

see how the beast grows wild now none restrains

its temper, nor corrects it with the spur,

since you set meddling hands upon its reins!

O German Albert, you wh turn away

while she grows vicious, being masterless;

you should have forked her long before today!

May a just judgement from the stars descend

upon your house, a blow so weirdly clear

that your line tremble at it to the end

For you, sir, and your father, in your greed

for the cold conquests of your northern lands,

have let the Empire’s Garden go to seed.

Come see the Montagues and Capulets,

the Monaldi and Filippeschi, reckless man!

those ruined already, these whom ruin besets.

Come, cruel Emperor, come and see your lords

hunted and holed; come tend their wounds and see

what fine security Santafior affords.

Come see your stricken Rome that weeps alone,

widowed and miserable, and day and night

laments: ‘Oh Caesar mine, why are you gone?’

Come see your people—everywhere the same—

united in love; and if no pity for us

can move you, come and blush for your good name.

O Supreme Jove, for mankind crucified,

if you permit the question, I must ask it:

are the eyes of your clear Justice turned aside?

Or is this the unfolding of a plan

shaped in your fathomless counsels toward some good

beyond all reckoning of mortal man?

For the land is a tyrant’s roost, and any clod

who comes along playing the partisan

passes for a Marcellus with the crowd.

Florence, my Florence, may you not resent

the fact that my digression has not touched you—

thanks to your people’s sober management.

Others have Justice at heart but a bow strung

by careful counsels and not quickly drawn:

yours shoot the word forever—from the tongue.

Others, offered public office, shun

the cares of service. Yours cry out unasked:

‘I will! I’ll take it on! I am the one!’

Rejoice, I say, that your great gifts endure:

your wealth, your peacefulness, and your good sense.

What truth I speak, the facts will not obscure.

Athens and Sparta when of old they drew

the codes of law that civilized the world,

gave only merest hints, compared to you,

of man’s advance. But all time shall remember

the subtlety with which the thread you spin

in mid-October breaks before November.

How often within living recollection

have you changed coinage, custom, law, and office,

and hacked your own limbs off and sewed them on?

But if your wits and memory are not dead

you yet will see yourself as that sick woman

who cannot rest, though on a feather bed,

but flails as if she fenced with pain and grief.” (Canto VI, lines 79-154)

      • “Three or four times in brotherhood the two

embraced and re-embraced, and then Sordello

drew back and said: ‘Countryman, who are you?

‘Before these spirits worthy to be blessed

had yet been given leave to climb this mountain,

Octavian had laid my bones to rest.

I am Virgil, and I am lost to Heaven

for no sin, but because I lacked the faith.’

In these words was my Master’s answer given.” (Canto VII, lines 1-9)

Anelli, Melissa

  • Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon [2008] (ISBN: 978-1-4165-5495-0) [enhanced e-book released in 2011, eISBN: 978-1-4165-5137-9]
    • “For my fellow Harry Potter fans, who know that a good story never dies” (dedication, p. v)
    • “Within twenty-four hours, everyone would know. They’d read about it on their computer screens or in the newspaper; they’d find out on their way to work or over morning coffee, listening to the radio or watching television. They news would be shouted into their cell phones or overheard on the train. They’d talk about it at the watercooler and on coffee breaks. There’d be group e-mails, message-board postings, hastily scribbled notes. They’d call grandchildren, and grandparents, to share and discuss.

The news would race around an electronic ribbon in Times Square and on billboards in London and news tickers all over the world. It would break into regular broadcasts and be teased on the morning shows. It would be whispered behind cupped hands in classrooms and screamed across playgrounds. Some would laugh and others would cry, but all would be affected. The news would skitter at light speed, unstoppable, through land lines and fiber-optic cables and over airwaves until it reached workplaces and houses and playgrounds, multiplying until it could weave itself into a blanket and cover the world.” [Anelli on the release of the title of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows] (Ch 1, p. 1)

    • “At a vineyard in Virginia, Meg was waling with her boyfriend, Devin, who wanted to show her the place where he had finished the book. It was warm, and gently lit. The path widened around a small copse of trees, and Devin showed her a spot against them.

‘Here’s where I read the end,’ he said.

Meg thought it had been perfect, and told him so.

‘Then let’s make it doubly perfect.’

And he knelt, then brought forth a glinting ring, and asked her to marry him. Meg would later say the moment lasted several sunlit days.” (Ch 17, p. 316)

    • “One young woman, not much younger than me, sat near the end of my eye line; she was reading, too, her colorful backpack on her lap and her arms circling it, her book acting as a buckle to hold it in place. I traveled on to the next pole down to get a surreptitious closer look; she wasn’t reading Deathly Hallows at all. Her book wasn’t orange but rose and water and sand, and featured a kid on a broomstick and a white unicorn. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She didn’t notice me staring at her.

Oh, I envy you, I thought, but was smiling for her. She had just begun.” (Ch 17, p. 320)

    • “Everyone was in on our party. And it was cool. And though everyone looking for a quick sound bite wants Harry Potter fans to reminisce about how it’s all over, I still think they’re looking at it through the wrong lens.

Mostly, people tend to forget that we all really do know that the Harry Potter book series is, well, a book series. I think Harry Potter fans have a more profound understanding of that than most people. They usually mean, “it’s a book series,” as in, “it’s just a book series. I’ts paper with ink and that’s the end.”

We who know can appreciate more fully what it means to be a a book series. Books are (usually) paper and ink, yes, but the ink forms an image on our minds and informs our lives. What do we do when Harry Potter ends? The premise is faulty. Why would Harry Potter ever end? When in the history of human existence have well-considered words not left a mark? If reading is the gateway to compassion, if our power to imagine better is so linked to our ability to learn about that which we can’t experience ourselves, why do we discuss endings at all?

Put another way: Of course it has all been in our heads, but why on earth should that mean it hasn’t been real?

Harry Potter will continue shaping the minds and imaginations of the people who come into contact with it, in whatever way that is. Harry Potter will be part of the legend and myth that becomes our shared social knowledge—part of the “mulch in the back of your head,” as Jo says. What we have been a part of here will be part of what we create forever; that which we love will never cease to exist.

And that’s the most wonderful thought for a fan. (e-book, Four Years Later, The Beginning, p. 244)

Asimov, Isaac

  • The Complete Stories, Volume 1 [1990] (ISBN: 978-0-385-41627-X)
    • “Arnold Potterly, Ph.D., was a Professor of Ancient History. That, in itself, was not dangerous. What changed the world beyond all dreams was the fact that he looked like a Professor of Ancient History.” [The Dead Past, 1956] (p. 3)
    • “The Archangel Gabriel was quite casual about the whole thing. Idly, he let the tip of one wing grze the planet Mars, which, being of mere matter, was unaffected by the contact.

He said, ‘It is a settled matter, Etheriel. There is nothing to be done about it now. The Day of Resurrection is due.’

Etheriel, a very junior seraph who had been created not quite a thousand years earlier as men counted time, quivered so that distinct vortices appeared in the continuum. Ever since his creation, he had been in immediate charge of Earth and its envrions. As a job, it was a sinecure, a cubbyhole, a dead end, but through the centuries he had come to take a perverse pride in the world.” [The Last Trump, 1955] (p. 106)

    • “‘But I couldn’t—I couldn’t let them stop me from traveling to Earth. No matter what the risk, I had to prevent their interference. It wasn’t love of woman, or fear, or hate, or idealism of any sort. It was stronger than any of those.’

He [Randolph Mullen] stopped, and stretched out a hand as though to caress the map on the wall.

‘Mr. Stuart,’ Mullen asked quietly, ‘haven’t you ever been homesick?'” [C-Chute, 1951] (p. 467)

  • I, Asimov [1994] [e-book] (ISBN: 9780307573537)
    • “A couple of months ago I had a dream, which I remember with the utmost clarity. (I don’t usually remember my dreams.)

I dreamed I had died and gone to Heaven. I looked about and knew where I was—green field, fleecy clouds, perfumed air, and the distant ravishing sound of the heavenly choir. And there was the recording angel smiling broadly at me in greeting.

I said, in wonder, ‘Is this Heaven?’

The recording angel said, ‘It is.’

I said (and on waking and remembering, I was proud of my integrity), ‘But there must be a mistake. I don’t belong here. I’m an atheist.’

‘No mistake,’ said the recording angel.

‘But as an atheist how can I qualify?’

The recording angel said sternly, ‘We decide who qualifies. Not you.’

‘I see,’ I said. I looked about, pondered for a moment, then turned to the recording angel and asked, ‘Is there a typewriter I can use?’

The significance of the dream was clear to me. I felt Heaven to be the act of writing, and I have been in Heaven for over half a century and I have always known this.

A second point of significance is the recording angel’s remark that Heaven, not human beings, decides who qualifies. I take that to mean that if I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.

I would also want a God would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don’t believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of a Hitler. Besides, if most human governments are civilized enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God?

I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment should be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.” (Ch 108, p. 428)

Avalos, Hector

  • The End of Biblical Studies [2007] [e-book] (ISBN: 978-1-59102-536-8)
    • “But perhaps most important of all, these liberationist theologians miss the fact that Yahweh himself is the ultimate imperialist in the books of the prophets. In fact, this is a feature common to all monotheistic religions because they suppose the existence of one god who created the world and therefore owns it.” (Part 1, Ch 6, “Liberation Theologies”, p. 278)
  • Yahweh Is a Moral Monster [2010] (essay from The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, ed. John W. Loftus, Part 3, Ch 8, p. 209-236) (ISBN: 978-1-61614-168-4) [The original version of this essay, which has only minor differences, can be read online. It was posted under the title Paul Copan’s Moral Relativism: A Response from a Biblical Scholar of the New Atheism on 1 August 2008 at Debunking Christianity]
    • “Because it is hard to erase all of the injustices found in biblical law, another favorite technique is the ‘trajectory’ argument. Thus, apologists can argue that, while things may look bad, they are heading in the right direction. Of course, this already prejudges what the right direction is, and also plays pick-and-choose with what counts as a trajectory (e.g., why not say the trajectory is enslaving the entire world to Yahweh?).” (p. 220)
    • “Over and over, we see Copan applying words such as ‘morally decadent’ and ‘wicked’ to Canaanites because he’s accepting the judgments of biblical authors. In any case, Copan’s procedure would be analogous to using only the pronouncements of Osama bin Laden to judge American culture. In any event, for Copan, ‘idolatry’ allows Israelites the right to kill women and children as long as the higher goal of wiping out idolatry is met. Of course, his view of idolatry is what counts. It really amounts to this: ‘Genocide is okay when my religion does it, but genocide is not okay if your religion does it.'” (p. 224)

Bible [Authorised King James Version]

  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
    • “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

    • “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)
    • “After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

And Job spake, and said,

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?

For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,

With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;

Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.

There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.

The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.

Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;

Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” (Job 3:1-26)

    • “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” (Job 38:4)
    • Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.

What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.

Surely, I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. (Job 13:1-3)

    • “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” (Pslam 82:1-8)

    • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
    • “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

Unto you, O Men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

I love them that love me; and those that week me early shall find me.

Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:1-36)

    • “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stone, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

    • “And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.” (Isaiah 22:13)
    • For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. (Isaiah 45:18-25)

  • New Testament
    • “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have salt his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-20)

    • “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34)
    • “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.” (Matthew 22:15-22)

    • “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.” (Mark 12:28-34)

    • “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:11-21)

    • “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17:10-12)

    • “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:18-20)

    • “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)
    • “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
    • “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10-20)

    • “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
    • “But godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-12)

    • “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

    • “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19)

Bradbury, Ray

  • Fahrenheit 451 [1953] (ISBN: 0-345-34296-8)
    • “‘Shut the door, they’re coming through the window, shut the window, they’re coming through the door,’ are the words to an old song. They fit my lifestyle with newly arriving butcher/censors every month. Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel, which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn Del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.” [from the 1979 Coda to Fahrenheit 451] (p. 177)

Chabon, Michael

  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands [2008] (ISBN: 978-0-06-165092-5)
    • “And yet there is a degree to which, just as all criticism is in essence Sherlockian, all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. That is why Harold Bloom’s notion of the anxiety of influence has always rung so hollow to me. Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving—amateurs—we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers—should we be lucky enough to find any—some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.” (Fan Fictions: On Sherlock Holmes, p. 44-5) (originally published in two parts in The New York Review of Books, February 2005)

Christina, Greta

  • Greta Christina’s Blog
    • “There’s a joke Ingrid [Greta Christina’s wife] likes to make about this. There’s an ugly canard against gays and lesbians: ‘They can’t reproduce, so they have to recruit.’ The idea being that gays and lesbians can’t have kids, so if we want more tender young flesh to corrupt and have gay sex with, we have to convince people to be gay. (So much wrong there, I can’t even begin.)

So here’s what Ingrid says about religious extremists: ‘They can’t recruit, so they have to reproduce.

Their ideas suck. Their ideas suck so badly, the only way they can perpetuate them is to instill them in children whose minds are hard-wired to believe whatever adults tell them — no matter how stupid, no matter how twisted, no matter how wildly out of touch with reality.

So to counter religion, we don’t need to have lots of babies. We just need to get our ideas out into the world.” (Should Atheists Have Lots of Kids?, 22 September 2011)

    • “I’m realizing that everything I’ve ever written about religion’s harm boils down to one thing.

It’s this:

Religion is ultimately dependent on belief in invisible beings, in audible voices, intangible entities, undetectable forces,and events and judgments that happen after we die.

It therefore has no reality check.

And it is therefore uniquely armored against criticism, questioning, and self-correction. It is uniquely armored against anything that might stop it from spinning into extreme absurdity, extreme denial of reality…and extreme, grotesque immorality.” (The Armor of God, or, The Top One Reason Religion is Harmful, 25 November 2009)

    • “Christians are in the clear majority in the United States, and they are in the clear mainstream of politics and culture. You’re not being thrown to the lions anymore. You haven’t been thrown to the lions for almost 2,000 years. You are in the group that is running the show.” (How to Be an Ally with Atheists, 16 December 2008)
    • “We don’t really know what causes sexual orientation. And we don’t think it matters. It’s probably a combination of genetics and environment, but until more research is done, we don’t really know for sure. And we don’t think it matters. It’s an interesting question, one many people are curious about — but it doesn’t really matter. Homosexuality doesn’t harm anybody, and it doesn’t harm society, and our relationships are as healthy and stable and valid as anybody else’s… and it isn’t anybody’s business but our own.

We deserve rights and recognition because we are human beings and citizens: as much as racial minorities, whose skin color is inborn, and as much as religious minorities, whose religion or lack thereof is learned. The ‘born versus learned’ question is a fascinating one, with many possible implications about human consciousness generally. But it has absolutely no bearing on questions like job discrimination, or adoption of children by same-sex couples, or whether we should be able to marry.” (Born or Learned? Sexuality, Science, and Party Lines, 18 April 2008)

Clarke, Arthur C.

  • Rama series
    • Book 1: Rendezvous with Rama [1972] (ISBN: 0-553-28789-3)
      • “The extraordinary meeting of the Space Advisory Council was brief and stormy. Even by the twenty-second century, no way had yet been discovered of keeping elderly and conservative scientists from occupying crucial administrative positions. Indeed, it was doubted if the problem ever would be solved.” (Ch 3, p. 8)
      • “He had succeeded on this mission beyond all reasonable expectation. What his men had discovered in Rama would keep scientists busy for decades. And, above all, he had done it without a single casualty.

But he had also failed. One might speculate endlessly, but the nature and the purpose of the Ramans was still utterly unknown. They had used the solar system as a refueling stop, a booster station — call it what you will; and had then spurned it completely, on their way to more important business. They would probably never even know that the human race existed. Such monumental indifference was worse than any deliberate insult.

When Norton had glimpsed Rama for the last time, a tiny star hurtling outward beyond Venus, he knew that part of his life was over. He was just fifty-five, but he felt he had left his youth down there on the curving Central Plain, among mysteries and wonders now receding inexorably beyond the reach of man. Whatever honors and achievements the future brought him, for the rest of his life he would be haunted by a sense of anticlimax and the knowledge of opportunities missed.

So he told himself; but even then, he should have known better.

And on far-off Earth, Dr. Carlisle Perera had as yet told no one of how he had wakened from a restless sleep with the message from his subconscious echoing in his brain:

The Ramans do everything in threes.” (Ch 46, p. 243)

  • The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke [2000]
    • The Star [November 1955] (p. 517-21)
      • “There can be no reasonable doubt: the ancient mystery is solved at last. Yet, oh God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?” (p. 521)

Clarke, Susanna

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [2004] (ISBN: 0-765-35615-5)
    • “He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him (p. 1)
    • “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.

They were gentleman-magicians, which is to say they had never harmed any one by magic — nor ever done any one the slightest good.” (Ch 1, p. 3)

  • “Mr Honeyfoot asked Strange for his opinion of Mr Norrell.

‘Oh!’ said Strange with a smile. ‘Mr Norrell is the patron saint of English booksellers.’

‘Sir?’ said Mr Honeyfoot.

‘Oh!’ said Strange. ‘One hears of Mr Norrell in every place where the book trade is perpetrated from Newcastle to Pezance. The bookseller smiles and bows and says, ‘Ah sir, you are come too late! I had a great many books upon subjects magical and historical. But I sold them all to a very learned gentleman of Yorkshire.’ It is always Norrell. One may buy, if one chuses, the books that Norrell has left behind. I generally find that the books that Mr Norrell leaves behind are really excellent things for lighting fires with.'” (Volume II, Ch 23, p. 278)

Colbert, Stephen

Collins, Suzanne

  • The Hunger Games trilogy
    • The Hunger Games [2008] (ISBN: 978-0-439-02352-8)
      • “Then something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become someone precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.” (Ch 2, p. 24)

Danielewski, Mark Z.

  • House of Leaves [2000] (ISBN: 978-0-375-70376-8)
    • “Either way the moment and opportunity for some kind of fraternal healing disappears when Tom makes an important discovery: Navidson was wrong. The interior of the house exceeds the exterior not by 1/4″ but by 5/16”.

No matter how many legal pads, napkins, or newspaper margins they fill with notes or equations, they cannot account for that fraction. One incontrovertible fact stands in their way: the exterior measurement must equal the internal measurement. Physics depends on a universe infinitely centered on an equal sign. As science writer and sometime theologian David Conte wrote: ‘God for all intents and purposes is an equal sign, and at least up until now, something humanity has always been able to believe in is that the universe adds up.'” (VI, p. 32)

Dawkins, Richard

  • The God Delusion [2006] (ISBN: 978-0-618-91824-9)
    • “The Reverend Rick Scarborough, supporting the wave of similar Christian lawsuits brought to establish religion as a legal justification for discriminating against homosexuals and other groups, has named it the civil rights struggle of the twenty-first century: ‘Christians are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian.’ Once again, if such people took their stand on the right to free speech alone, one might reluctantly sympathize. But that isn’t what it is about. ‘The right to be Christian’ seems in this case to mean ‘the right to poke your nose into other people’s private lives’. The legal case in favor of discrimination against homosexuals is being mounted as a counter-suit against alleged discrimination! And the law seems to respect this. You can’t get away with saying, ‘If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.’ But you can get away with withing , ‘It violates my freedom of religion.’ What, when you think about it, is the difference? Yet again, religion trumps all.” (Ch 1, p. 45-6)
    • “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” (Ch 2, p. 51)
    • “Believing is not something you can decide to do as a matter of policy. At least, it is not something I can decide to do as an act of will. I can decide to go to church and I can decide to recite the Nicene Creed, and I can decide to swear on a stack of bibles that I believe every word inside them. But none of that can make me actually believe if it I don’t. Pascal’s Wager could only ever be an argument for feigning belief in God. And the God that you claim to believe in had better not be of the omniscient kind or he’d see through the deception.” (Ch 3, p. 130)

Dear Mr. Potter: Letters of Love, Loss, & Magic [2011] (ISBN: 978-0-615-47931-6) (This book was compiled and edited by Lily Zalon. Since it is a compilation of letters and pictures, there are many authors, and many did not include a last name. Quotes are listed in the order in which they appear in the book and are attributed according to how the writers identified themselves.)

  • “To Jo Rowling, from those who stuck with Harry until the very end.” (Dedication page)
  • “The magic documented within these pages is wholly yours, Jo. We have trapped that which you have given us in hopes that we can give some small part of it back to you. We have struggled to make the words meaningful enough, for you taught us that there is nothing words cannot do. Each of these stories is different. You created different memories for us all. Each picture shows a different face, each copy of Harry Potter is uniquely dog-eared and, although they hold the same story within their pages, all of these copies have their own stories as well. You have millions of fans, and we are all distinctly different, but we are bound together through a love of your world and a profound appreciation for what you have given us.

You have created a generation, Jo. Let this book serve as proof.” (Lily; Introduction, a letter to Ms. Rowling, p. 9) (also quoted on the front flap of the book)

Dennett, Daniel

  • Breaking the Spell [2006] (ISBN: 978-0-14-303833-7)
    • “There are some people — millions, apparently — who proudly declare that they do not have to foresee that consequences: they know in their hearts that this is the right path, whatever the details. Since Judgment Day is just around the corner, there is no reason to plan for the future. If you are one of these, here is what I hope will be a sobering reflection: have you considered that you are perhaps being irresponsible? You would willingly risk not only the lives and future well-being of your loved ones, but also the lives and future well-being of all the rest of us, without hesitation, without due diligence, guided by one revelation or another, a conviction that you have no good way of checking for soundness. ‘Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly’ (Proverbs 12:16). Yes, I know, the Bible has a contrary text as well: ‘For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent’ (I Corinthians 1:19). Anybody can quote the Bbile to prove anything, which is why you ought to worry about being overconfident.

Do you ever ask yourself: What if I’m wrong? Of course there is a large crowd of others around you who share your conviction, and this distributes — and, alas, dilutes — the responsibility, so, if you ever get a chance to breathe a word of regret, you will have a handy excuse: you got swept up by a crowd of enthusiasts. But surely you have noticed a troubling fact. History gives us many examples of large crowds of deluded people egging one another on down the primrose path to perdition. How can you be so sure you’re not part of such a group? I for one am not in awe of your faith. I am appalled by your arrogance, by your unreasonable certainty that you have all the answers. ” (Ch 2, p. 50-1)

  • Thank Goodness[Edge] (November 3, 2006)
    • “To whom, then, do I owe a debt of gratitude? To the cardiologist who has kept me alive and ticking for years, and who swiftly and confidently rejected the original diagnosis of nothing worse than pneumonia. To the surgeons, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and the perfusionist, who kept my systems going for many hours under daunting circumstances. To the dozen or so physician assistants, and to nurses and physical therapists and x-ray technicians and a small army of phlebotomists so deft that you hardly know they are drawing your blood, and the people who brought the meals, kept my room clean, did the mountains of laundry generated by such a messy case, wheel-chaired me to x-ray, and so forth. These people came from Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Haiti, the Philippines, Croatia, Russia, China, Korea, India—and the United States, of course—and I have never seen more impressive mutual respect, as they helped each other out and checked each other’s work. But for all their teamwork, this local gang could not have done their jobs without the huge background of contributions from others. I remember with gratitude my late friend and Tufts colleague, physicist Allan Cormack, who shared the Nobel Prize for his invention of the c-t scanner. Allan—you have posthumously saved yet another life, but who’s counting? The world is better for the work you did. Thank goodness. Then there is the whole system of medicine, both the science and the technology, without which the best-intentioned efforts of individuals would be roughly useless. So I am grateful to the editorial boards and referees, past and present, of Science, Nature, Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet, and all the other institutions of science and medicine that keep churning out improvements, detecting and correcting flaws.”

Dickens, Charles

  • A Tale of Two Cities [1859] (quoted from a volume that also contains Great Expectations; ISBN: 978-0-14-219658-8)
    • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” (Ch 1, p. 5)
    • “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that ever one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referalble to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbor is dead, my love the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mind to my life’s end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?” (Ch 3, p. 13)

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I (2003) [1887 to 1902] (ISBN: 978-1-59308-034-1)
    • “You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.” (Dr. John Watson to Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, Ch 2, p. 18)

Eberhard, JT [What Would JT Do?]

  • Eberhard’s old blog, Zerowing21 at Xanga
    • “The closer you get to Jesus historically from where we stand now, the more monstrous ‘true’ Christianity has been, and it gets worse as you move into the times before Jesus. The old testament is bursting at the seams with unthinkable savagery that is not only endorsed by god, but mandated by him. The scriptures that lead to these horrors are still in Christianity’s holy book. The credit for our liberation from them does not belong to ‘true’ Christianity, but rather to generations of free thinkers who have made Christians ashamed to live by the tenets that have defined Christianity for the last 6,000 years.” (An Old Letter about “true” ™ Christianity, 14 April 2009)
  • Eberhard’s blog, What Would JT Do? (WWJTD)
    • “The idea that regardless of the pain you inflict, the lives you end, the suffering you bring, that paradise awaits you and that you are forgiven for your actions immediately, not because of remorse for the suffering you’ve caused, but because you believe the proper story of a man rising from the dead; this is certainly one of the most foolishly immoral and lunatic concepts to ever escape the imagination, and it has undoubtedly played a role in enabling slaughter throughout our history.

Christians commit horrors. Muslims commit atrocities. And yes, atheists also can be delegates of evil. The poison that infects them all is an unreasonable belief about something, erroneously convincing them that their actions are somehow beneficent or acceptable. Unreasonable beliefs, inaccurate beliefs, prompt people to do unreasonable, sometimes wicked deeds.” (Convict the killer — convict unreason, 23 July 2011)

Frank, Anne

  • Diary of a Young Girl [1947] (English translation by Susan Massotty; ISBN: 0-553-57712-3)
    • “‘Deep down, the young are lonelier than the old.’ I read this in a book somewhere and it’s stuck in my mind. As far as I can tell, it’s true.

So if you’re wondering whether it’s harder for the adults here than for the children, the answer is no, it’s certainly not. Older people have an opinion about everything and are sure of themselves and their actions. It’s twice as hard for us young people to hold on to our opinions at a time when ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when the worst side of human nature predominates, when everyone has come to doubt truth, justice and God.

Anyone who claims that the older folks have a more difficult time in the Annex doesn’t realize that the problems have a far greater impact on us. We’re much too young to deal with these problems, but they keep thrusting themselves on us until, finally, we’re forced to think up a solution, though most of the time our solutions crumble when faced with the facts. It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world slowly being transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realize them!” (excerpt from entry dated Saturday, July 15, 1944; p. 327-8)

Freeman, Kyle

  • “Even after it was well known that Holmes was a fictional creation, a curious phenomenon developed that has no other parallel in literature. It has become a good-humored convention for Holmes scholars to treat the stories as historical events and the protagonists as real figures. Conan Doyle is often referred to as the literary agent for Dr. John H. Watson. Several biographies have been written about Holmes, and the current residents of Baker Street still get mail addressed to him. In October 2002 the Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain awarded an Honorary Fellowship to Sherlock Holmes, its first fictional inductee, on the hundredth anniversary of his coming out of retirement to solve the case of The Hound of the Baskervilles.” (General Introduction to The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Barnes and Noble Classics edition, p. xix-xx)

Gaiman, Neil and Pratchett, Terry

  • Good Omens [1990] (ISBN: 0-441-00861-5)
    • “Over the years a huge number of theological man-hours have been spent debating the famous question:

How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

In order to arrive at an answer, the following facts must be taken into consideration:

Firstly, angels simply don’t dance. It’s one of the distinguishing characteristics that marks an angel. They may listen appreciatively to the Music of the Spheres, but they don’t feel the urge to get down and boogie to it. So, none.

At least, nearly none. Aziraphale had learned to gavotte in a discreet gentlemen’s club in Portland Place, in the late 1880s, and while he had initially taken to it like a duck to merchant banking, after a while he had become quite good at it, and was quite put out when, some decades later, the gavotte went out of style for good.

So providing the dance was a gavotte, and providing that he had a suitable partner (also able, for the sake of argument, both to gavotte, and to dance it on the head of a pin), and answer is a straightforward one.

Then again, you might just as well ask how many demons can dance on the head of a pin. They are of the same original stock, after all. And at least they dance.*

And if you put it that way, the answer it, quite a lot actually, providing they abandon their physical bodies, which is a picnic for a demon. Demons aren’t bound by physics. If you take the long view, the universe is just something small and round, like those water-filled balls which produce a miniature snowstorm when you shake them.** But if you look from really close up, the only problem with dancing on the head of a pin is all those big gaps between electrons.” (“Saturday”, p. 225-6) (asterisks from the original, indicating footnotes)

    • “‘You’re Hell’s Angels, then?’ asked Big Ted, sarcastically. If there’s one thing real Hell’s Angels can’t abide, it’s weekend bikers.*

The four strangers nodded.

‘What chapter are you from, then?’

The Tall Stranger looked at Big Ted. Then he stood up. It was a complicated motion; if the shores of the seas of night had deckchairs, they’d open up something like that.

He seemed to be unfolding himself forever.

He wore a dark helmet, completely hiding his features. And it was made of that weird plastic, Big Ted noted. Like, you looked in it, and all you could see was your own face.


‘Verses two to eight,’ added the boy in white, helpfully.” (“Saturday”, p. 238) (asterisks from the original, indicating footnotes)

Green, John

  • The Fault in Our Stars [2012] (ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2)
    • “My favorite book, by a wide margin, was An Imperial Affliction, but I didn’t like to tell people about it. Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.

It wasn’t even that the book was so good or anything; it was just that the author, Peter Van Houten, seemed to understand me in weird and impossible ways. An Imperial Affliction was my book, in the way my body was my body and my thoughts were my thoughts.” (Ch 2, p. 33-4)

    • “I sat on the couch for a while as Augustus searched for his keys. His mom sat down next to me and said, ‘I just love this one, don’t you?’ I guess I had been looking toward the Encouragement above the TV, a drawing of an angel with the caption Without Pain, How Could We Know Joy?

(This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.) ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘A lovely thought.'” (Ch 2, p. 35)

Grossman, Lev

  • “Diversity: the fan-fiction scene is hyperdiverse. You’ll find every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, age and sexual orientation represented there, both as writers and as characters. For people who don’t recognize themselves in the media they watch, it’s a way of taking those media into their own hands and correcting the picture.” (The Boy Who Lived Forever, Time, 7 July 2011)
  • “I adore the way fan fiction writers engage with and critique source texts, but manipulating them and breaking their rules. Some of it is straight-up homage, but a lot of [fan fiction] is really aggressive towards the source text. One tends to think of it as written by total fanboys and fangirls as a kind of worshipful act, but a lot of times you’ll read these stories and it’ll be like ‘What if Star Trek had an openly gay character on the bridge?’ And of course the point is that they don’t, and they wouldn’t, because they don’t have the balls, or they are beholden to their advertisers, or whatever. There’s a powerful critique, almost punk-like anger, being expressed there—which I find fascinating and interesting and cool.” (quoted by Gerry Canavan, Adult fantasy author Lev Grossman on his work, Harry Potter and Evelyn Waugh, Independent Weekly, 24 August 2011)

Harris, Sam

  • An Atheist Manifesto [Truthdig] (December 7, 2005) (also posted at Harris’ website)
    • “Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of 6 billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?


The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.”

  • End of Faith [2004] (ISBN: 978-0-393-32765-6)
    • “Our situation is this: most of the people in this world believe that the Creator of the universe has written a book. We have the misfortune of having many such books on hand, each making an exclusive claim to its infallibility. People tend to organize themselves into faction according to which of these incompatible claims they accept — rather than on the basis of language, skin color, location of birth, or any other criterion of tribalism. Each of these texts urges its readers to adopt a variety of beliefs and practices, some of which are benign, many of which are not. All are in perverse agreement on one point of fundamental importance, however: ‘respect’ for other faiths, or for the views of unbelievers, is not an attitude that God endorses. While all faiths have been touched, here and there, by the spirit of ecumenicalism, the central tenet of each religious tradition is that all others are mere repositories of error or, at best, dangerously incomplete. Intolerance is thus intrinsic to every creed. Once a person believes — really believes — that certain ideas can lead to eternal happiness, or to its antithesis, he cannot tolerate the possibility that the people he loves might be led astray by the blandishments of unbelievers. Certainty about the next life is simply incompatible with tolerance in this one.” (Ch 1, p. 13)
    • “The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism. We cannot say that fundamentalists are crazy, because they are merely practicing their freedom of belief; we cannot even say that they are mistaken in religious terms, because their knowledge of scripture is generally unrivaled. All we can say, as religious moderates, is that we don’t like the personal and social costs that a full embrace of scripture imposes on us. This is not a new form of faith, or even a new species of scriptural exegesis; it is simply a capitulation to a variety of all-too-human interests that have nothing, in principle, to do with God. Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance—and it has no bona fides, in religious terms, to put it on par with fundamentalism.” (Ch 1, p. 20-1)
    • “There is, of course, much that is wise and consoling and beautiful in our religious books. But words of wisdom and consolation and beauty abound in the pages of Shakespeare, Virgil, and Homer as well, and no one ever murdered strangers by the thousands because of the inspiration he found there. The belief that certain books were written by God (who, for reasons difficult to fathom, made Shakespeare a far better writer than himself) leaves us powerless to address the most potent source of human conflict, past and present. How is it that the absurdity of this idea does not bring us, hourly, to our knees? It is safe to say that few of us would have thought so many people could believe such a thing, if they did not actually believe it. Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything—anything—be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in.” (Ch 1, p. 35-6)
    • “Faith is what credulity becomes when it finally achieves escape velocity from the constraints of terrestrial discourse — constraints like reasonableness, internal coherence, civility, and candor. However far you feel you have fled the parish (even if you are just now adjusting the mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope), you are likely to be the product of a culture that has elevated belief, in the absence of evidence, to the highest place in the hierarchy of human virtues. Ignorance is the true coinage of this realm — ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed’ (John 20:29) — and every child is instructed that it is, at the very least, an option, if not a sacred duty, to disregard the facts of this world out of deference to the God who lurks in his mother’s and father’s imaginations.” (Ch 2, p. 65)
  • Letter to a Christian Nation [2006] (ISBN: 978-0-307-27877-7)
    • “The same Gallup poll revealed that 53 percent of Americans are actually creationists. This means that despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.” (“Note to the Reader”, p. xi)
    • “You believe that Christianity is an unrivaled source of human goodness. You believe that Jesus taught the virtues of love, compassion and selflessness better than any other teacher who has ever lived. You believe that the Bible is the most profound book ever written and that it its contents have stood the test of time so well that it must have been divinely inspired. All of these beliefs are false.” (“The Wisdom of the Bible”, p. 7-8)
    • “If you think that Christianity is the most direct and undefiled expression and love and compassion the world has ever seen, you do no know much about the world’s other religions.” (“The Wisdom of the Bible”, p. 11)
    • “One of the most pernicious effects of religion is that it tends to divorce morality from the reality of human and animal suffering. Religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are not — that is, when they have nothing to do with suffering or its alleviation. Indeed, religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral—that is, when pressing these concerns inflicts unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings. This explains why Christians like yourself expend more ‘moral’ energy on opposing abortion than fighting genocide. It explains why you are more concerned about human embryos than about the lifesaving promise of stem-cell research. And it explains why you can preach against condom use in sub-Saharan Africa while millions die from AIDS there each year.

You believe that your religious concerns about sex, in all their tiresome immensity, have something to do with morality. And yet, your efforts to constrain the sexual behavior of consenting adults—and even to discourage your own sons and daughters from having premarital sex—are almost never geared toward the relief of human suffering. In fact, relieving suffering seems to rank rather low on your priorities. Your principal concern appears to be that the creator of the universe will take offense at something people do while naked. This prudery of yours contributes daily to the surplus of human misery.

Consider for instance the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is now the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The virus affects over half the American population and causes nearly five thousand women to die each year from cervical cancer; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than two hundred thousand die worldwide. We now have a vaccine for HPV that appears to be both safe and effective. The vaccine produced 100 percent immunity in the six thousand women who received it as part of a clinical trial. And yet, Christian conservatives in our government have resisted a vaccination program on the grounds that HPV is a valuable impediment to premarital sex. These pious men and women want to preserve cervical cancer as an incentive toward abstinence, even if it sacrifices the lives of thousands of women each year.” (“Real Morality”, p. 25-7)

    • “Scripture itself remains a perpetual engine of extremism: because, while He may be many things, the God of the Bible and the Qur’an is not a moderate.” (“The Problem with Moderate Religion”, p. 105)

Heinlein, Robert A.

  • Stranger in a Strange Land [two editions: 1961, 1991; quotes from the 1991 uncut edition] (ISBN: 0-441-78838-6)
    • “All men, gods, and planets in this story are imaginary. Any coincidence of names is regretted.” (Notice, p. 8)
    • “Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.

Valentine Michael Smith was as real as taxes but he was a race of one.

The first human expedition from Terra to Mars was selected on the theory that the greatest danger to man in space was man himself.” (Part 1, Ch 1, p. 15)

Herbert, Frank

  • Dune series
    • Book 1: Dune [1965] (ISBN: 0-425-05471-3)
      • “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate car that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad’Dib then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad’Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.

—from “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan” (Book I, p. 3)

      • I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pas over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” (Book I, p. 8)

Hitchens, Christopher

  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [2007] (ISBN: 978-0-446-69796-5)
    • “And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.” (Ch 1, p. 5)
    • “We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Elliot than in the mythical morality tales of holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul.” (Ch1, p. 5)
    • “We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true—that religion has caused innumerable people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.” (Ch1, p. 6)
    • “Not all can be agreed on matters of aesthetics, but we secular humanists and atheists and agnostics do not wish to deprive humanity of its wonders or consolations. Not in the least. If you will devote a little time to studying the staggering photographs taken by the Hubble telescope, you will be scrutinizing things that are far more awesome and mysterious and beautiful—and more chaotic and overwhelming and forbidding—than any creation or ‘end of days’ story. If you read Hawking on the ‘event horizon,’ that theoretical lip of the ‘black hole’ over which one could in theory plunge and see the past and the future (except that one would, regrettably and by definition, not have enough ‘time’), I shall be surprised if you can still go on gaping at Moses and his unimpressive ‘burning bush.’ If you examine the beauty and symmetry of the double helix, and then go on to have your own genome sequence fully analyzed, you will be at once impressed that such a near-perfect phenomenon is at the core of your being, and reassured (I hope) that you have so much in common with other tribes of the human species—‘race’ having gone, along with ‘creation’ into the ashcan—and further fascinated to learn how much you are a part of the animal kingdom as well. Now at last you can be properly humble in the face of your maker, which turns out not to be a ‘who,’ but a process of mutation with rather more random elements than our vanity might wish. This is more than enough mystery and marvel for any mammal to be getting along with: the most educated person in the world now has to admit—I shall not say confess—that he or she knows less and less but at least knows less and less about more and more.” (Ch 1, p. 8-9)
    • “Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we gt over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. Very generous of me, you might say. But will the religious grant me the same indulgence? I ask because there is a real and serious difference between me and my religious friend, and the real and serious friends are sufficiently honest to admit it. I would be quite contend to go to their children’s bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to ‘respect’ their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition—which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion ultimately incapable of doing. As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments I have touched upon.” (Ch 1, p. 12-3)
    • “A further difficulty is the apparent tendency of the Almighty to revel himself only to unlettered and quasi-historical individuals, in religions of Middle Eastern wasteland that were long the home of idol worship and superstition, and in many instances already littered with existing prophecies.” Ch 7, p. 98)
    • “This prolonged throat-clearing is accompanied by some very serious admonitions, including a dire warning that the sins of the father will be visited on their children ‘even unto the third and fourth generation.’ This negates the moral and reasonable idea that children are innocent of their parents’ offenses. The fourth commandment insists on the observance of a holy Sabbath day, and forbids all believers—and their slaves and domestic servants—to perform any work in the course of it. It is added that, as was said in the book of Genesis, god made all the world in six days and rested on the seventh (leaving room for speculation as to what he did on the eighth day).” (Ch 7, p. 98-9)
    • “One might have expected a stronger maternal memory, especially from someone who had undergone the experience, along among all women, of discovering herself pregnant without having undergone the notorious preconditions for that happy state.” (Ch 8, p. 116)
    • “Arabic script was not standardized until the later part of the ninth century, and in the meantime the undotted and oddly voweled Koran was generating wildly different explanation of itself, as it still does. This might not matter in the case of the Iliad, but remember that we are supposed to be talking about the unalterable (and final) word of god. There is obviously a connection between the sheer feebleness of this claim and the absolutely fanatical certainty with which it is advanced. To take one instance that can hardly be called negligible, the Arabic words written on the outside of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem are different from an version that appears in the Koran.” (Ch 9, p. 131)
    • “A faith that despises the mind and the free individual, that preaches submission and resignation, and that regards life as a poor and transient thing, is ill-equipped for self-criticism. Those who become bored by conventional ‘Bible’ religions, and seek ‘enlightenment’ by way of the dissolution of their own critical faculties into nirvana in any form, had better take a warning. They may think they are leaving the realm of despised materialism, but they are still being asked to put their reason to sleep, and to discard their minds along with their sandals.” (Ch 15, p. 204)
  • Column in Vanity Fair
    • “My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends. I can’t eat or drink for pleasure anymore, so when they offer to come it’s only for the blessed chance to talk. Some of these comrades can easily fill a hall with paying customers avid to hear them: they are talkers with whom it’s a privilege just to keep up. Now at least I can do the listening for free. Can they come and see me? Yes, but only in a way. So now every day I go to a waiting room, and watch the awful news from Japan on cable TV (often closed-captioned, just to torture myself) and wait impatiently for a high dose of protons to be fired into my body at two-thirds the speed of light. What do I hope for? If not a cure, then a remission. And what do I want back? In the most beautiful apposition of two of the simplest words in our language: the freedom of speech.” (Unspoken Truths, Vanity Fair, June 2011)

Jacoby, Susan

  • The Age of American Unreason [2008] (ISBN: 978-1-4000-9638-1)
    • “When the grand Forty-second Street headquarters of the New York Public Library opened its doors to the public for the first time on May 24, 1911, some fifty thousand New Yorkers passed through the Fifth Avenue entrance—guarded by the stone lions that would soon become famous civic landmarks—to view the marvels within. The first book delivered to a reader was a Russian language volume of philosophy, attesting to the evolution of a civic culture in which ordinary citizens were gaining access to cultural and intellectual resources previously locked away from all but the wealthiest, most privileged members of society.” (Ch 3, p. 64-5)
    • “That people should aspire to read and think about great books, or even aspire to being thought of as the sort of person who reads great books, is not a bad thing for society.” (Ch 5, p. 107)
    • “Too many white professors today could not care less whether most white students are exposed to black American writers, and some of the multicultural empire builders are equally willing to sign off on a curriculum for African-American studies majors that does not expose them to Henry James and Edith Wharton.

The same willingness to ghettoize is also evident in the teaching of history. A few years ago, I was delivering a lecture at a state university in Southern California and happened to mention John Hope Franklin’s Mirror to America. Franklin’s autobiography is unique because it applies the powers of observation of a great historian, born in 1915, to all of the important issues involving race in America in the twentieth century. It is a work of American history, not only African-American history, and belongs in every History 101 syllabus in every American college. After my lecture, a white student approached me and said she had read Franklin’s book in her elective African-American history course. I asked her if there were any other white students in the class, and she said there was one Vietnamese-born student, but everyone else, including the professor, was black. The de facto segregation of minority students that prevails at many institutions, in classes attended almost entirely by minority students and taught by professors from the same minority, is as bad for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians as it is for the white majority at universities, because putting such courses in a special category devalues them for anyone not planning a career in the multicultural studies ghetto.” (Ch 6, p. 147)

    • “Apart from Israel, the willingness of fundamentalist evangelicals to sanction American military and diplomatic intervention abroad is generally limited to situations in which Christians, or the freedom of Christians to proselytize, are threatened. American fundamentalists have displayed little concern about violent clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East—except in Iraq, where American forces are threatened—but they speak out forcefully, and advocate for American action, wherever Muslims threaten Jews or Christian Arabs. In 2006, when a Muslim convert to Christianity was threatened with execution under Islamic law in Afghanistan, the Bush administration quickly made it clear to the Afghan government that the United States would not tolerate such an action, and the convert was whisked away as a refugee to Rome. In its focus on the rights of Christians around the world, the fundamentalist evangelical posture on foreign policy today bears a strong resemblance to the old anti-Communist alliance between Protestant fundamentalists and American Catholics. The Soviets were equal opportunity suppressors of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious liberty within their sphere of influence, but American policy in the forties and fifties, to the extent that it was influenced by domestic religious forces, focused almost entirely on the Christian ‘captive nations.'” (Ch 8, p. 194)
    • “Memoirs of self-educated men and women of the nineteenth century show that they cut their teeth on the same books—the Bible and Shakespeare—because those were the only books available in many small communities. When today’s American children fail to develop either the skills or the habit of reading, something has gone radically wrong long before the age when anyone is old enough to enjoy or comprehend one tenth of Tolstoy, Homer, Twain, and Hemingway.” (Ch 9, p. 238)
    • “When Anna Karenina throws herself in front of the train, the reader is left with an endless series of questions about the nature of betrayal, the sexual double standard, and compromises of marriage, parental duty versus personal fulfillment, family loyalty, religion in nineteenth-century Russia—the great and the quotidian dilemmas of life in every era and the red meat of intellectual discourse.” (Ch 10, p. 252)
  • Freethinkers [2004] (ISBN: 978-0-8050-7776-6)
    • “It takes nothing away from the herosim of civil rights volunteers animated by religious ideals to point out that the movement also had many heroes animated by nonreligious humanism. One of the greatest strengths of the movement was that it had room enough, as there had been in the ranks of nineteenth-century abolitionists, for every strand of religious belief: the devout Christianity of a King, the individualistic and humanistic spirituality of a Liuzzo, the atheism of a Schwerner or a Goodman. In the era of its greatest successes, which included passages of the 1964 and 1965 laws attempting to undo nearly a century of Jim Crow, the civil rights movement became an overarching moral force that embraced and transcended both religion and secularism. But the laws that emerged from the civil rights struggle, through assuredly written in the blood of martyrs, were based not on the duties of humans to their gods but on the obligation of citizens to one another. The desire of the apostles of religious correctness to recast the civil rights struggle as a purely religious movement is of a piece with their insistence that the secularist framers of the Constitution really intended to found a Christian nation. The attempt of the religious to sacralize the civil rights struggle has nothing to do with historical truth and everything to do with the time that has passed since those passionate days—time enough to engender the sentimentality that breeds forgetting.” (Ch 11, p. 338)
    • “Although the civil rights and later antiwar movement were grounded both in religious and secularist impulses, the third great social movement originating in the sixties—the renewal of the struggle for women’s rights—was thoroughly and fundamentally secularist. Religious feminists, who have labored for years with varying degrees of success to transform Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism into faiths that respect the equality of women both as members and as spiritual leaders, will no doubt quarrel with any definition of feminism as essentially secularist. On this issue, however, the religious right is right: true belief in and commitment to the equality of women and men shakes the foundations of all religions. Religion and feminism can be reconciled only through a radical reconstruction of traditional religious practices and beliefs. By admitting women to the clergy, much of American Protestantism and Reform and Conservative Judaism have adapted to what is essentially a secularist demand—that women be treated within their religious institutions as equal moral and intellectual beings. It is reasonable to argue, as religious conservatives do, that mainstream American religion has become more secularized as a result of its accommodation to feminism—just as mainstream nineteenth-century Protestantism was secularized by its accommodation to evolutionism and eighteenth-century Protestantism by its exposure to Enlightenment thought. Whether one views the secularization of religion as good or bad is another matter. For extremist conservatives of all faiths, the status of women is a line in the sand, a measure of their unwillingness to let secular laws and new secular customs to overturn centuries of religious dogma and tradition. The real enemies of religious fundamentalism are rationalism and the modern world, and while this observation is most frequently applied by American pundits to radical Islamist theocracies, it also applies in some measure to any religion, fundamentalist or not, that treats women as inferiors of men.” (Ch 11, p. 338-9)
  • The Spirited Atheist: In search of a new Age of Reason(at the On Faith section of The Washington Post)
    • “My congratulations to the Russian Orthodox Church. That reactionary institution survived the 20th century Bolshevik storm and is now back in business at the same old stand — claiming special privileges from the Russian government, doing its best to reunite church and state, battling both religious heresy and political dissent in a country with no tradition of legal tolerance for either, and waging a campaign to suppress the proselytizing of other religions. Bad ideas and institutions never really die; they merely hibernate until they can speak lies in the name of power again.” (08/04/2010: The new Russian Orthodoxy: speak no ill of religion)
    • “Of course, the heart of this book [Peter Hitchens’ The Rage Against God] is the most common argument against atheism—that without a God who rewards and punishes, no one can be good. Hitchens began his career as an atheist by setting fire to his Bible on the playing fields of his boarding school. In this phase of his life, he writes, he knew only, ‘I did not have to do anything I did not want to do, ever again…I could behave as I wished, without fear of eternal consequences and (if I was cunning and could get away with it) without fear of earthly ones either.’ He mentions that before he burned his Bible, he was already on the road to perdition because he could find excuses for ‘mocking the weak (such as a wheelchair-bound boy in my class who provided an especially shameful target for this impulse), insulting my elders, and eventually breaking the law.’ What any of this has to do with religion, or the lack of it, I cannot imagine. If you reach your teens without knowing that there is something very wrong about mocking people in wheelchairs—regardless of race or creed—it is unlikely that reading the Bible or listening to a sermon will fix what has gone awry. Perhaps mocking the weak was the product not of atheist rebelliousness but of the brutal, class-ridden, and oh yes, Christian experience of single-sex English boarding schools—one well chronicled by generations of English writers. The Battle of Waterloo may have been won on the playing fields of Eaton, but Eaton did an even better job of reinforcing contempt for the lower orders in the nation’s ruling aristocracy.” (08/01/2010: Is ‘any religion’ better than no religion?)

Le Guin, Ursula K.

  • Changing Planes [2003] (ISBN: 0-441-01224-8)
    • “I learned recently that there is a restricted plane. It came as a shock. I’d taken it for granted that once you got the hang of Sita Dulip’s Method, you could go from any airport to any plane, and that the options were essentially infinite. The frequent updates to the Encyclopedia Planaria are evidence that the number of known planes keeps increasing. And I thought all of them were accessible (under the right conditions) from all the others, until my cousin Sulie told me about The Holiday Plane™.” [Great Joy] (p. 130)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness [1969] (ISBN: 0-441-47812-3)
    • “The following must go into my finished Directives: When you meet a Gethenian you cannot and must not do what a bisexual naturally does, which is to cast him in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards him a corresponding role dependent on your expectations of the patterned or possible interactions between persons of the same or the opposite sex. Our entire pattern of socio-sexual interaction is nonexistent here. They cannot play the game. They do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imagination to accept. What is the first question we ask about a newborn baby?

Yet you cannot think of a Gethenian as ‘it.’ They are not neuters. They are potentials, or integrals. Lacking the Karhidish ‘human pronoun’ used for persons in somer, I must say ‘he,’ for the same reasons as we used the masculine pronoun in referring to a transcendent god: it is less defined, less specific, than the neuter or the feminine. But the very use of the pronoun in my thoughts leads me continually to forget that the Karhider I am with is not a man, but a manwoman.

The First Mobile, if one is sent, must be warned that unless he is very self-assured, or senile, his pride will suffer. A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indications of regard and appreciation. On Winter they will not exist. One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience.” (Ch 7, p. 94-5)

  • The Telling [2000] (ISBN: 0-441-01123-3)
    • “Most civilisations, perhaps, look shinier in general terms and from several light-years away.” (Ch 2, p. 30)

Lofus, John W.

  • The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited [2010] (essay from The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, ed. John W. Loftus, Part 1, p. 81-106) (ISBN: 978-1-61614-168-4)
    • “Faith is the warp and woof of Christian theology and apologetics, and it can only increase the level of confirmation bias people already have. Maintaining faith is the antithesis to examining whether or not one’s faith is true. Until believers repudiate such a faith stance, they cannot claim with a straight face that their faith has passed the OTF [Outsider Test for Faith]. Let me express this same thought within the language game of Christianity: Faith is not something Christians can have while seeking to examine the religion that was given to them, since that it not how they approach any of the other religions they reject.” (p. 103-4)

Lowell, James Russell

  • The Present Crisis [December 1845] (available online at Bartleby and WikiSource)
    • “Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.” (lines 38-40)

Manji, Irshad

  • Allah, Liberty, and Love [2011] (ISBN: 978-4516-4520-0)
    • “Freedom-haters appreciate their freedoms enough to use them for the purpose of stifling others. How can the rest of us let them get away with it?” (Introduction, p. xxiii)

Milton, John

  • Paradise Lost [first edition in 1667, later revised in 1674] (quoted from the 1971 edition, fist edition in 1963, of The Complete Poetry of John Milton, ed. John T. Shawcross; ISBN: 0-385-02351-0)
    • “And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark

Illumin, what is low raise and support;

That to the highth of this great Argument

I may assert Eternal Providence,

And justifie the wayes of God to men.” (Book I, lines 17-26)

    • “Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,

Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat

That we must change for Heav’n, this mournful gloom

For that celestial light? Be it so, since he

Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid

What shall be right: fardest from him is best

Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream

Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields

Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail

Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell

Receive they new Possessor: One who brings

A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.

The mind is its own place and in it self

Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less than he

Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least

We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built

Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:

Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce

To reign is wroth ambition though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,

Th’ associates and copartners of our loss

Lye thus astonished on th’ oblivious Pool,

And call them not to share with us their part

In this unhappy Mansion, or once more

With rallied Arms to try what may be yet

Regained in Heav’n, or what more lost in Hell?” (Book I, lines 242-271)

    • “Into this wild Abyss,

The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,

Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,

But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt

Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,

Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain

His dark materials to create more Worlds,

Into this wild Abyss the warie fiend

Stood on the brink of Hell and look’d a while,

Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith

He had to cross.” (Book II, lines 910-20)

Mukherjee, Siddhartha

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer [2010] (ISBN: 978-1-4391-0795-9)
    • “Here, too, there are victories and losses, campaigns upon campaigns, heroes and hubris, survival and resilience—and inevitably, the wounded, the condemned, the forgotten, the dead. In the end, cancer truly emerges, as a nineteenth century physician once wrote in a book’s frontispiece, as ‘the emperor of all maladies, the kind of terrors.'” (Author’s Note, p. xiv)
    • “Cancer, in contrast, is riddled with more contemporary images. The cancer cell is a desperate individualist, ‘in every possible sense, a nonconformist,’ as the surgeon-writer Sherwin Nuland wrote. The word metastasis, used to describe the migration of cancer from one site to another, is a curious mix of meta and stasis—“beyond stillness” in Latin—an unmoored, partially unstable state that captures the peculiar instability of modernity. If consumption once killed its victims by pathological evisceration (the tuberculosis bacillus gradually hollows out the lung), then cancer asphyxiates us by filling bodies with too many cells; it is consumption in its alternate meaning—the pathology of excess. Cancer is an expansionist disease; it invades through tissues, sets up colonies in hostile landscapes, seeking “sanctuary” in one organ and then immigrating to another. It lives desperately, inventively, fiercely, territorially, cannily, and defensively—at times, as if teaching us how to survive. To confront cancer is to encounter a parallel species, one perhaps more adapted to survival than even we are.

This image—of cancer as our desperate, malevolent, contemporary doppelgänger—is so haunting because it is at least partially true. A cancer cell is an astonishing perversion of the normal cell. Cancer is a phenomenally successful invader and colonizer in part because it exploits the very features that make us successful as a species or as an organism.

Like the normal cell, the cancer cell relies on growth in the most basic, elemental sense: the division of one cell to form two. In normal tissues, this process is exquisitely regulated, such that growth is stimulated by specific signals and arrested by other signals. In cancer, unbridled growth gives risk to generation upon generation of cells. Biologists use the term clone to describe cells that share a common genetic ancestor. Cancer, we now know, is a clonal disease. Nearly every known cancer originates from one ancestral cell that, having acquired the capacity for limitless cell division and survival, gives rise to limitless numbers of descendants—Virchow’s omnis cellula e cellula e cellula repated ad infinitum.

But cancer is not simply a clonal disease; it is a clonally evolving disease. If growth occurred without evolution, cancer cells would not be imbued with their potent capacity to invade, survive, and metastasize. Every generation of cancer cells creates a small number of cells that is genetically different from its parents. When a chemotherapeutic drug or the immune system attacks cancer, mutant clones that can resist the attack grow out. The fittest cancer cell survives. This mirthless, relentless cycle of mutation, selection, and overgrowth generates cells that are more and more adapted to survival and growth. In some cases, the mutations speed up the acquisition of other mutations. The genetic instability, like a perfect madness, only provides more impetus to generate mutant clones. Cancer thus exploits the fundamental logic of evolution unlike any other illness. If we, as a species, are the ultimate product of Darwinian selection, then so, too, is this incredible disease that lurks inside us.

Such metaphorical seductions can carry us away, but they are unavoidable with a subject like cancer. In writing this book, I started off by investigating my project as a “history” of cancer. But it felt, inescapably, is if I were writing not about something but about someone. My subject daily morphed into something that resembled an individual—an enigmatic, if somewhat deranged, image in a mirror. This was not so much a medical history of an illness, but something more personal, more visceral: its biography.” (Part One, A Private Plague, p. 38-9)

    • “The novelist Thomas Wolfe, recalling a lifelong struggle with illness, wrote in his last letter, ‘I’ve made a long voyage and been to a strange country, and I’ve seen the dark man very close.’ I had not made the journey myself, and I had only seen the darkness reflected in the eyes of others. But surely, it was the most sublime moment of my clinical life to have watched that voyage in reverse, to encounter men and women returning from that strange country—to see them so very close, clambering back.” (Part Six, “No one had labored in vain”, p. 400)

Orwell, George

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four [1949] (quoted from a volume that also contains Animal Farm) (ISBN: 978-0-15-101026-4)
    • “The Ministry of Truth—Minitrue, in Newspeak—was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred meters into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:




The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.

The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometer of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.” (Book One, Ch I, p. 91-2)

Ovid (full name: Publius Ovidius Naso)

  • The Metamorphoses [8] (quoted from the 2004 English translation by Charles Martin; ISBN: 978-0-393-32642-0)
    • “Before the seas and lands had been created,

before the sky that covers everything,

Nature displayed a single aspect only

throughout the cosmos; Chaos was its name,

shapeless, unwrought mass of inert bulk

and nothing more, with the discordant seeds

of disconnected elements all heaped

together in anarchic disarray.” (Book 1, lines 6-13)

    • “Some god (or kinder nature) settled this

dispute by separating earth from heaven,

and then by separating sea from earth

and fluid aether from the denser air;

and after these were separated out

and liberated from the primal heap,

he bound the disentangled elements

each in its place and all in harmony.” (Book 1, lines 26-33)

Pratchett, Terry

  • Discworld series
    • Equal Rites [1987] (ISBN: 978-0-06-102069-8)
      • “There was a village tucked in a narrow valley between steep woods. It wasn’t a large village, and wouldn’t have shown up on a map of the mountains. It barely showed up on a map of the village

It was, in fact, one of those places that exist merely so that people can have come from them. The universe is littered with them: hidden villages, windswept little towns under wide skies, isolated cabins on chilly mountains, whose only mark on history is to be the incredibly ordinary place where something extraordinary started to happen. Often there is no more than a little plaque to reveal that, against all gynecological probability, someone very famous was born halfway up a wall.” (p. 2-3)

Pullman, Philip

  • His Dark Materials trilogy
    • The Golden Compass (Northern Lights in the UK) [1995] (ISBN: 0-440-23813-7)
      • “How can I just go and sit in the library or somewhere and twiddle my thumbs, knowing what’s going to happen? I don’t intend to do that, I promise you.” [Lyra Belacqua] (Ch 1, p. 8)
      • “It lay heavily in her hands, the crystal face gleaming, the golden body exquisitely machined. It was very little like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing to places around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of the compass there were several little pictures, each of them painted with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the finest and slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor, an hourglass surmounted by a skull, a chameleon, a bull, a beehive . . . Thirty-six altogether, and she couldn’t even guess what they meant.” (Ch 4, p. 70)
      • “‘We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not,’ said the witch [Serafina Pekkala], ‘or die of despair. there is a curious prophecy about this child: she is destined to bring about the end of destiny. But she must do so without knowing what she is doing, as it were her nature and not her destiny to do so. If she’s told what she must do, it will all fail; death will sweep through all the worlds; it will be a triumph of despair, forever. The universes will all become nothing more than interlocking machines, blind and empty of thought, feeling, life . . .'” (Ch 18, p. 271-2)
      • “But think of Adam and Eve like an imaginary number, like the square root of minus one: you can never see any concrete proof that it exists, but if you include it in your equations, you can calculate all manner of things that couldn’t be imagined without it.” (Ch 21, 327)
      • “Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world. Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.” (Ch 21, p. 331)
    • The Subtle Knife [1997] (0-440-23814-5)
      • “‘Sisters,’ she [Queen Ruta Skadi] began, ‘let me tell you what is happening and who it is that we must fight. For there is a war coming. I don’t know who will join with us, but I know whom we must fight. It is the Magisterium, the Church. For all its history—and that’s not long by our lives, but it’s many, many of theirs—it’s tried to suppress and control every natural impulse. And when it can’t control them, it cuts them out. Some of you have seen what they did at Bolvangar. And that was horrible, but it is not the only such place, not the only such practice. Sisters, you know only the north; I have traveled in the south lands. There are churches there, believe me, that cut their children, too, as the people of Bolvangar did—not in the same way, but just as horribly. They cut their sexual organs, yes, both boys and girls; they cut them with knives so that they shan’t feel. That is what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling. So if a war comes, and the Church is on one side of it, we must be on the other, no matter what strange allies we find ourselves bound to.'” (Ch 2, p. 45)
      • “Dark matter is what my research team is looking for. No one knows what it is. there’s more stuff out there in the universe than we can see, that’s the point. We can see the stars and the galaxies and the things that shine, but for it all to hang together and not fly apart, there needs to be a lot more of it—to make gravity work, you see. But no one can detect it. So there are lots of different research projects trying to find out what it is, and this is one of them.” [Dr. Mary Malone] (Ch 4, p. 76)
    • The Amber Spyglass [2000] (0-440-23815-3)
      • “Balthamos said quietly, ‘The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty—those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves—the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself. Matter loves matter. It seeks to know more about itself, and Dust is formed. The first angels condensed out of Dust, and the Authority was the first of all. He told those who came after him that he had created them, but it was a lie. One of those who came later was wiser than he was, and she found out the truth, so be banished her. We serve her still. And the Authority still reigns in the Kingdom, and Metatron is his Regent.” (Ch 2, p. 28)
      • “‘The gate to the land of the dead is on this island,’ said the boatman. ‘Everyone comes here, kings, queens, murderers, poets, children; everyone comes this way, and none come back.'” (Ch 21, p. 255-6)
      • “Between them they helped the ancient of days out of his crystal cell; it wasn’t hard, for he was as light as paper, and he would have followed them anywhere, having no will of his own, and responding to simple kindness like a flower to the sun. But in the open air there was nothing to stop the wind from damaging him, and to their dismay his form began to loosen and dissolve. Only a few moments later he had vanished completely, and their last impression was of those eyes, blinking in wonder, and a sigh of the most profound and exhausted relief.” (Ch 31, p. 366-7)
  • His Dark Materials-related books
    • Lyra’s Oxford [2003] (978-0-375-84369-3)
      • “This book contains a story and several other things. The other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven’t happened yet. It’s not easy to tell.” (Introduction)
      • “Perhaps some particles move backward in time; perhaps the future affects the past in some way we don’t understand; or perhaps the universe is simply more aware than we are. There are many things we haven’t yet learned how to read.” (Introduction)
      • “‘Everything means something,’ Lyra said severely. ‘We just have to find out how to read it.'” (Lyra and the Birds, p. 5-6)
      • “‘I thought I could trust witches,’ Lyra said, and there was a quiver in her voice that she couldn’t prevent. ‘I thought . . .’

‘I know. But witches have their own causes and alliances. And some are trustworthy, others are not; why should they be different from us?'” (p. 42)

  • Quoted in articles/interviews
    • Quoted by Helena de Bertodano, I am of the Devil’s party, The Telegraph (29 January 2002)
      • “Blake said Milton was a true poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it. I am of the Devil’s party and know it.”
      • “Atheism suggests a degree of certainty that I’m not quite willing to accede to. I suppose technically you’d have to put me down as an agnostic. But if there is a God and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against.

As you look back over the history of the Christian Church, it’s a record of terrible infamy and cruelty and persecution and tyranny. How they have the bloody nerve to to go on ‘Thought for the Day’ and tell us all to be good when, given the slightest chance, they’d be hanging the rest of us and flogging the homosexuals and persecuting the witches.”

Qur’an (The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary; translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

  • “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;

Most Gracious, Most Merciful;

Master of the Day of Judgment.

Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.

Show us the straight way,

The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.” (1:1-7, Surah Al Fatihah/The Opening)

  • “O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill your covenant with Me as I fulfill My covenant with you, and fear none but Me.

And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My signs for a small price; and fear me, and Me alone.

And cover not truth With falsehood, nor conceal The Truth when ye know (what it is).

And be steadfast in prayer; Practise regular charity; And bow down your heads With those who bow down (in worship).

Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practise it) yourselves. And yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?

Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit–

Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to met their Lord, and that they are to return to Him.” (2:40-6, Surah Al Baqarah/The Heifer)

  • “They say: ‘Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).’ Say thou: ‘Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham, the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.’

Say ye: ‘We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the descendents (children of Jacob) and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from the Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).’

So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (2:135-7, Surah Al Baqarah/The Heifer)

  • “Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things.” (4:85, Surah Al Nisa/The Women)
  • “Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of they Lord and Cherisher, Who created —

Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:

Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, —

He Who taught (the use of) the pen, —

Taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5, Surah Al ‘Alaq/The Clinging Clot or Iqra’/Read!)

Rowling, J. K.

  • The Casual Vacancy [2012] (ISBN: 978-1-4087-0420-2)
    • “Everything had shattered. The fact that it was all still there — the walls and chairs and the children’s pictures on the walls — meant nothing. Every atom of it had been blasted apart and reconstituted in an instant, and its appearance of permanence and solidarity was laughable; it would dissolve at a touch, for everything was suddenly tissue-thin and friable.” (Part One, VIII, p. 39)
    • “But then, so local legend told, came the sudden darkness that attends the appearance of the wicked fairy.” ((Olden Days), III, p. 55)
    • “She wanted to scream, You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.” ((Olden Days), Tuesday, V, p. 87-8)
    • But who could bear to know which stars were already dead, she thought, blinking up at the night sky, could anybody stand to know that they all were?” (Part Six, III, p. 477)
  • The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination(Harvard University Commencement Address, June 2008)
    • “I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.”
    • “And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just had to give him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed. Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone. And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before. Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.”
    • “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
  • Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award acceptance speech (2010) [video; transcript (with my thoughts)]
    • “Children are not ‘they’. They are us. And this is why writing that succeeds with children often succeeds just as well with adults — not because the latter are infantile or regressive, but because the true dilemmas of childhood are the dilemmas of the whole of life: those of belonging and betrayal, the power of the group and the courage it takes to be an individual, of love and loss, and learning what it means to be a human being, let alone a good, brave, or honest one.”
  • Harry Potter series
    • HP 1: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone [1997] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2586-0)
      • “for Jessica, who loves stories, for Anne, who loved them too, and for Di, who heard this one first.” (Dedication page)
      • “A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley … He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter — the boy who lived!'” (Ch 1, p. 18)
      • “But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” (Ch 10, p. 132)
      • “After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.” [Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter] (Ch 17, p. 215)
      • “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” [Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter] (Ch 17, p. 216)
      • “‘The truth.’ Dumbledore sighed. ‘It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.'” [Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter] (Ch 17, p. 216)
    • HP 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [1998] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2581-5)
      • “For Séan P. F. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend” (Dedication page)
      • “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” [Arthur Weasley to Ginny Weasley] (Ch 18, p. 242)
      • “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” [Albus Dumbledore] (Ch 18, p. 245)
    • HP 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [1999] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2585-3)
      • “To Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely, the Godmothers of Swing” (Dedication page)
      • “I don’t go looking for trouble,” said Harry, nettled. “Trouble usually finds me.” (Ch 5, p. 60)
      • “They drank the Butterbeer in silence, until Harry voiced something he’d been wondering for a while.

‘What’s under a Dementor’s hood?’

Professor Lupin lowered his bottle thoughtfully.

‘Hmmm … well, the only people who really know are in no condition to tell us. You see, the Dementor only lowers its hood to use it’s last and worst weapon.’

‘What’s that?’

‘They call it the Dementors’ Kiss,’ said Lupin, with a slightly twisted smile. ‘It’s what Dementor’s do to those they wish to destroy utterly. I suppose there must be some kind of mouth under there, because they clamp their jaws upon the mouth of the victim and — and suck out his soul.’

Harry accidentally spat out a bit of Butterbeer.

‘What — they kill –?’

‘Oh, no,’ said Lupin. ‘Much worse than that. You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you’ll have no sense of self any more, no memory, no … anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just — exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone for ever … lost.'” (Ch 12, 182-3)

      • ‘Professor,’ Harry interrupted loudly, ‘what’s going on –?’

But he never finished the question, because what he saw made his voice die in his throat. Lupin was lowering his wand. Next moment, he had walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother.” (Ch 17, p. 252)

      • “Because the Marauder’s map never lies …” [Remus Lupin] (Ch 18, p. 257)
      • “‘He — he was taking over everywhere!’ gasped Pettigrew. ‘Wh-What was to be gained by refusing him?’

‘What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has ever existed?’ said Black, with a terrible fury in his face. ‘Only innocent lives, Peter!’

‘You don’t understand!’ whined Pettigrew. ‘He would have killed me, Sirius!’


    • HP 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [2000] (ISBN: 078-1-4088-2583-9)
      • “To Peter Rowling, in memory of Mr Ridley and to Susan Sladden, who helped Harry out of his cupboard” (Dedication page)
      • “It is my belief — and never have I so hoped that I am mistaken — that we are all facing dark and difficult times. Some of you, in this Hall, have already suffered directly at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Many of your families have been torn asunder. A week ago, a student was taken from our midst.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” [Albus Dumbledore addressing the school] (Ch 37, p. 627-8)

    • HP 5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [2003] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2587-7)
      • “To Neil, Jessica, and David, who make my world magical.” (Dedication page)
      • “‘And as for who’s going to look after Ron and Ginny if you and Arthur died,’ said Lupin, smiling slightly, ‘what do you think we’d do, let them starve?'” [Remus Lupin to Molly Weasley] (Ch 9, p. 161)
      • All student organisations, societies, teams, groups and clubs are henceforth disbanded.

An organisation, society, team, group or club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students.

Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge).

No student organisation, society, team, group or club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor.

Any student found to have formed, or belong to, an organisation, society, team, group or club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.” [Educational Decree Number Twenty-four] (Ch 17. p. 313)

      • Teachers are hereby banned from giving students any information that is not strictly related to the subjects they are paid to teach.” [Educational Decree Number Twenty-six] (Ch 25, p. 486)
      • “This latest decree [Educational Decree Number Twenty-six] had been the subject of a great number of jokes among the students. Lee Jordan had pointed out to Umbridge that by the terms of the new rules she was not allowed to tell Fred and George off for playing Exploding Snap in the back of the class.” (Ch 25, p. 486)
      • “Harry was pleased to see that all of them, even Zacharias Smith, had been spurred to work harder than ever by the news that ten more Death Eaters were now on the loose, but in nobody was this improvement more pronounced than in Neville. The news of his parents’ attackers’ escape had wrought a strange and even slightly alarming change in him. [ . . . ] He was improving so fast it was quiet unnerving and when Harry taught them the Shield Charm, means of deflecting minor jinxes so that they rebounded upon the attacker, only Hermione mastered the charm faster than Neville.” (Ch 25, p. 488)
      • Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled.” [Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven] (Ch 26, p. 512)
      • “For some reason, every time Hermione caught sight of one of these signs [Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven] she beamed with pleasure.

‘What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her.

‘Oh Harry, don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she [Dolores Umbridge] could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!’

And it seemed that Hermione was quite right. By the end of that day, though Harry had not seen so much as a corner of The Quibbler anywhere in the school, the whole place seemed to be quoting the interview at each other. Harry heard them whispering about it as they queued up outside classes, discussing it over lunch and in the back of lessons, while Hermione even reported that every occupant of the cubicles in the girls’ toilets had been talking about it when she nipped in there before Ancient Runes.” (Ch 26, p. 513)

      • Dolores Jane Umbridge (High Inquisitor) has replaced Albus Dumbledore as Head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” [Educational Decree Number Twenty-eight] (Ch 28, p. 550)
      • “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …” [Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy about Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter] (Ch 37, p. 741)
      • “‘But I don’t!’ said Harry, in a strangled voice. ‘I haven’t got any powers he [Lord Voldemort] hasn’t got, I couldn’t fight the way he did tonight, I can’t possess people or — or kill them –‘

‘There is a room in the Department of Mysteries,’ interrupted Dumbledore, ‘that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more powerful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.'” (Ch 37, p. 743)

      • “There were still deep welts on his [Ron’s] forearms where the brains tentacles had wrapped around him. According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else, though since she had started applying copious amounts of Dr Ubbly’s Oblivious Unction there seemed to have been some improvement.” (Ch 38, p. 746)
    • HP 6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [2005] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2582-2)
      • “To Mackenzie, my beautiful Daughter, I dedicate her ink-and-paper twin” (Dedication page)
      • “‘But for heaven’s sake — you’re wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out — well — anything!’

Scrimgeour turned slowly on the spot and exchanged an incredulous look with Fudge, who really did manage a smile this time as he said kindly, ‘The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister.'” (Ch 1, p. 24)

      • “‘But, sir,’ said Harry, making valiant efforts not to sound argumentative, ‘it all comes down to the same thing, doesn’t it? I’ve got to try and kill him, or –‘

‘Got to?’ said Dumbledore ‘Of course you’ve got to! But not because of the prophecy! Because you, yourself, will never rest until you’ve tried! We both know it! Imagine, please, just for a moment, that you had never heard of that prophecy! How would you feel about Voldemort now? Think!’

Harry watched Dumbledore striding up and down in front of him, and thought. He thought of his mother, his father and Sirius. He thought of Cedric Diggory. He thought of all of the terrible deeds he knew Lord Voldemort had done. A flame seemed to leap inside his chest, searing his throat.

‘I’d want him finished,’ said Harry quietly. ‘And I’d want to do it.’

‘Of course you would!’ cried Dumbledore. ‘You see, the prophecy does not mean you have to do anything! But the prophecy caused Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equal … in other words, you are free to choose your way, quite free to turn your back on the prophecy! He will continue to hunt you … which makes it certain, really, that –‘

‘That one of us is going to end up killing the other,’ said Harry. ‘Yes.’

But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.” (Ch 23, p. 478-9)

      • “There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees. But once again he reveals his own lack of wisdom. It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” [Albus Dumbledore] (Ch 26, p. 529)
      • To the Dark Lord

I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.

R. A. B.” (Ch 28, p. 569)

      • “Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world.” [Minerva McGonagall] (Ch 29, p. 582)
    • HP 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [2007] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-2584)
      • “The dedication of this book is split seven ways: to Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.” (Dedication page)
      • “This was their first encounter with the fact that a full stomach meant good spirits; an empty one, bickering and gloom. Harry was least surprised by this, because he had suffered periods of near starvation at the Dursleys’. Hermione bore up reasonably well on those nights when they managed to scavenge up nothing but berries or stale biscuits, her temper perhaps a little shorter than usual and her silences rather dour. Ron, however, had always been used to three delicious meals a day, courtesy of his mother or of the Hogwarts house-elves, and hunger made him both unreasonable and irascible. Whenever lack of food coincided with Ron’s turn to wear the Horcrux, he became downright unpleasant.” (Ch 15, p. 236-7)
      • “‘”The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” …’ A horrible thought came to him, and with it a kind of panic. ‘Isn’t that a Death Eater idea? Why is that there?’

‘It doesn’t mean defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it, Harry,’ said Hermione, her voice gentle. ‘It means … you know … living beyond death. Living after death.’

But they were not living, thought Harry: They were gone. The empty words could not disguise the fact that his parents’ moldering remains lay beneath snow and stone, indifferent, unknowing. And tears came before he could stop them, boiling hot then instantly freezing on his face, and what was the point in wiping them off or pretending? He let them fall, his lips pressed hard together, looking down at the thick snow hiding from his eyes the place where the last of Lily and James lay, bones now, surely, or dust, not knowing or caring that their son stood so near, his heart still beating, alive because of their sacrifice and close to wishing, at this moment, that he was sleeping under the snow with them.” (Ch 16, p. 269)

      • “He [Harry] raised his wand: He could not, would not, suffer the Dementor’s Kiss, whatever happened afterward. It was of Ron and Hermione that he thought as he whispered, ‘Expecto Patronum!‘” (Ch 28, p. 449)
      • “The world had ended, so why had the battle not ceased, the castle fallen silent in horror, and every combatant laid down their arms? Harry’s mind was in free fall, spinning out of control, unable to grasp the impossibility, because Fred Weasley could not be dead, the evidence of all his sense must be lying —” (Ch 32, p. 513)
      • “‘You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?’

‘Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?’

‘Lately, only those whom I could not save,’ said Snape. He stood up. ‘You have used me.’


‘I have spied for you and lied for, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter —‘

‘But this is touching, Severus,’ said Dumbledore seriously. ‘Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?’

‘For him?’ shouted Snape. ‘Expecto Patronum!

From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

‘After all this time?’

‘Always,’ said Snape.” (Ch 33, p. 551-2)

      • “And again, Harry understood, without having to think. It did not matter about bringing them back, for he was about to join them. He was not really fetching them: they were fetching him.

He closed his eyes, and turned the stone over in his hand, three times.

He knew it had happened, because he heard slight movements around him that suggested frail bodies shifting their footing on the earthy, twig strewn ground that marked the outer edge of the forest. He opened his eyes and looked around.

They were neither ghost nor truly flesh, he could see that. They resembled most closely the Riddle that had escaped from the diary, so long ago, and he had been memory made nearly solid. Less substantial than living bodies, but much more than ghosts, they moved towards him, and on each face there was the same loving smile.

James was exactly the same height as Harry. He was wearing the clothes in which he had died, and his hair was untidy and ruffled, adn his glasses were a little lopsided, like Mr Weasley’s.

Sirius was tall and handsome, and younger by far than Harry had seen him in life. He loped with an easy grace, his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face.

Lupin was younger too, and much less shabby, and his hair was thicker and darker. He looked happy to be back in this familiar place, scene of so many adolescent wanderings.

Lily’s smile was widest of all. She pushed her long hair back as she drew close to him, and her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough.

‘You’ve been so brave.’

He could not speak. His eyes feasted on her, and he thought that he would like to stand and look at her forever, and that would be enough.

‘You are nearly there,” said James. ‘Very close. We are . . . so proud of you.’

‘Does it hurt?’

The childish question had fallen from Harry’s lips before he could stop it.

‘Dying? Not at all,” said Sirius. ‘Quicker and easier than falling asleep.’

‘And he will want it to be quick. He wants it over,’ said Lupin.

‘I didn’t want you to die,’ Harry said. These words came without his volition. ‘Any of you. I’m sorry —‘

He addressed Lupin more than any of them, beseeching him.

‘— right after you’d had your son … Remus, I’m sorry —‘

‘I am sorry too,’ said Lupin. ‘Sorry I will never know him … but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.’

A chilly breeze that seemed to emanate from the heart of the forest lifted the hair at Harry’s brow. He knew that they would not tell him to go, that it would have to be his decision.

‘You’ll stay with me?’

‘Until the very end,’ said James.

‘They won’t be able to see you?’ asked Harry.

‘We are part of you,’ said Sirius. ‘Invisible to anyone else.’

Harry looked at his mother.

‘Stay close to me,’ he said quietly.

And he set off. The dementors’ chill did not overcome him; he passed through it with his companions, and they acted like Patronuses to him, and together they marched through the old tress that grew closely together, their branches tangled, their roots gnarled and twisted underfoot. Harry clutched the Cloak tightly around him in the darkness, traveling deeper and deeper into the forest, with no idea where exactly Voldemort was, but sure that he would find him. Beside him, making scarcely a sound, walked James, Sirius, Lupin, and Lily, and their presence was his courage, and the reason he was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other.” (Ch 34, p. 559-561)

      • “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love. By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say goodbye for the present.” [Albus Dumbledore] (Ch 35, p. 578)
      • “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” [Albus Dumbledore] (Ch 35, p. 579)
  • Harry Potter-related works
    • Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them [Hogwarts textbook] [2001] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-0301-1)
      • “All that remains is for me to warn anyone who has read this far without purchasing this book that it carries a Thief’s Curse. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure Muggle purchasers that the amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you. To wizards, I say merely: Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.” (Forward by Albus Dumbledore, p. xv)
      • “Rumors that a colony of Acromantula has been established in Scotland are unconfirmed confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.” (p. 4)
    • Kennilworthy Whisp’s Quidditch Through the Ages [Hogwarts Library book] [2001] (ISBN: 978-1-4088-0302-8)
      • “Quidditch Through the Ages is one of the most popular titles in the Hogwarts school library. Madam Pince, our librarian, tells me that it is ‘pawed about, dribbled on and generally maltreated’ nearly every day — a high compliment for any book.” (Forward by Albus Dumbledore, p. xv)
      • “Though I have removed the usual library-book spells from this volume, I cannot promise that every trace has gone. Madam Pince has been known to add unusual jinxes to the books in her care. I myself doodled absentmindedly on a copy of Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration last year and next moment found the book beating me fiercely around the head. Please be careful how you treat this book. Do not rip out the pages. Do not drop it in the bath. I cannot promise that Madam Pince will not swoop down on you, wherever you are, and demand a heavy fine.” (Forward by Albus Dumbledore, p. xvii-xviii)
      • “The Chudley Cannons’ glory days may be considered by many to be over, but their devoted fans live in hope of a renaissance […] The club motto was changed in 1972 from ‘We shall conquer’ to ‘Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.'” (Ch 7, p. 33-4)
    • The Tales of Beedle the Bard [2008] (ISBN: 978-0-7475-9987)
      • So-called pure-blood families maintain their alleged purity by disowning, banishing, or lying about Muggles or Muggle-borns on their family trees. They then attempt to foist their hypocrisy upon the rest of us by asking us to ban works dealing with the truths they deny. There is not a witch or wizard in existence whose blood has not mingled with that of Muggles, and I should therefore consider it both illogical and immoral to remove works dealing with the subject from our students’ store of knowledge.” [Albus Dumbledore in a letter to Lucius Malfoy] (Albus Dumbledore on “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, p. 40-1)
  • J. K. Rowling’s official website
  • Quoted in Melissa Anelli’s Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon (ISBN: 978-4165-5495-0)
    • “When all the fuss and hoopla dies away, and when all the press commentary dies away, I think it will be seen that this phenomenon was generated, in the first instance, by kids loving a book. A book went on shelves, and a few people loved it. When all of the smoke and lights die away, that’s what you’ll be left with.

And that’s the most wonderful thought for an author.” (p. 330)

Sagan, Carl

  • Cosmos [1980] (ISBN: 978-0-345-33135-9)
    • “Finally, at the end of all our wanderings, we return to our tiny, fragile, blue-white world, lost in a cosmic ocean vast beyond our most courageous imaginings. It is a world among an immensity of others. It may be significant only for us. The Earth is our home, our parent. Our kind of life arose and evolved here. The human species is coming of age here. It is on this world that we developed our passion for exploring the Cosmos, and it is here that we are, in some pain and with no guarantees, working out our destiny.

Welcome to the planet Earth — a place of blue nitrogen skies, oceans of liquid water, cool forests and soft meadows, a world positively rippling with life. In the cosmic perspective it is, as I have said, poignantly beautiful and rare; but it is also, for the moment, unique. In all our journeying through space and time, it is, so far, the only world on which we know with certainty that the matter of the Cosmos has become alive and aware. There must be many such world scattered through space, but our search for them begins here, with the accumulated wisdom of the men and women of our species, garnered at great cost over a million years. We are privileged to live among brilliant and passionately inquisitive people, and in a time when the search for knowledge is generally prized. Human beings, born ultimately of the stars and now for a while inhabiting a world called Earth, have begun their long voyage home.” (Ch 1, p. 5)

Shakespeare, William

  • Hamlet, or The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark [1599-1601]
    • “Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!

The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,

And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!

And these few precepts in thy memory

See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware

Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,

Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;

Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habits as thy purse can buy,

But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man,

And they in France of the best rank and station

Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!” (Lord Polonius, Hamlet I.iii.59-85)

    • “To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause: there’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than to fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.” (Hamlet, Hamlet, III.i.64-96)

  • Julius Caesar [1599] (quoted from the Folger Shakespeare Library edition; ISBN: 978-0-7434-8274-5)
    • “When beggars die there are no comets seen;

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.” (Calphurnia, Julius Caesar, II.ii.31-2)

    • “Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonder that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.” (Caesar, Julius Caesar, II.ii.34-9)

  • Othello [1603] (quoted from the Folger Shakespeare Library edition; ISBN: 978-0-7434-7755-0)
    • “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

Who steals my purse steals trash. ‘Tis something, nothing;

‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands.

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And make me poor indeed.” (Iago, Othello, III.iii.182-90)

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady

  • The Woman’s Bible [1895/1898] [e-book]
    • “The Bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgement seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a period of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjugation, she was to play the role of a dependent on man’s bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire on the vital questions of the hour, she was commanded to ask her husband at home. Here is the Bible position of woman briefly summed up.” (Introduction, p. 11 of 400)

Swift, Jonathan

  • Gulliver’s Travels [1726, amended 1735] (ISBN: 978-1-59308-132-4)
    • “For, said he [Reldresal, Principle Secretary of Private Affairs], as flourishing a condition as we appear to be in to foreigners, we labour under two mighty evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of an invasion by an enemy abroad. As to the first, you are to understand, that for about seventy moons past, there have been two struggling parties in the empire, under the name of Tramecksan and Slamecksan, from the high and low heels of their shoes, by which they distinguish themselves.

It is alleged indeed, that the high heels are most agreeable to our ancient constitution: but however this be, his Majesty hath determined to make use of only low heels in the administration of the government and all offices in the gift of the crown, as you cannot but observe; and particularly, that his Majesty’s imperial heels are lower at least by a drurr than any of his court, (drurr is a measure about the fourteenth part of an inch). The animosities between these two parties run so high, that they will neither eat nor drink, nor talk with each other. We compute the Tramecksan, or High-Heels, to exceed us in number; but the power is wholly on our side. We apprehend his Imperial Highness, the heir to the crown, to have some tendency towards the High-Heels; at least we can plainly discover one of his heels higher than the other, which gives him a hobble in his gait. Now, in the midst of these intestine disquiets, we are threatened with an invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of our universe, almost as large and powerful as this of his Majesty. For as to what we have heard you affirm, that there are other kingdoms and states in the world, inhabited by human creatures as large as yourself, our philosophers are much in doubt, and would rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one of the stars; because it is certain, that an hundred mortals of your bulk would, in a short time, destroy all the fruits and cattle of his Majesty’s dominions. Besides, your histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions, than the two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu. Which two mighty powers have, as I was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war for six and thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion. It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger end: but his present Majesty’s grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the Emperor his father published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tell us there have been six rebellions raised on that account; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly formented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed, that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffered death, rather than submit to breaking their eggs at the small end. Many hundred large volumes has been published on this controversy: but the books of Big-Endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments. During the course of these troubles, the emperors of Blefuscu did frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in religion, by offending against a fundamental doctrine of our great prophet Lustrog, in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Brundercral (which is their Alcoran). This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text: for the words are these; That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end: and that which is the convenient end, seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man’s conscience, or at least in the power of the chief magistrate to determine. Now the Big-Endian exiles have found so much credit in the Emperor of Blefuscu’s court, and so much private assistance and encouragement from their party here at home, that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two empires for six and thirty moons with various success; during which time we have lost forty capital ships, and a much greater number of smaller vessels, together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers; and the damage received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater than ours. However, they have now equipped a numerous fleet, and are just preparing to make a descent upon us; and his Imperial Majesty, placing great confidence in your valour and strength, hath commanded me to lay this account of affairs before you.

I desired the Secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and to let him know, that I thought it would not become me, who was a foreigner, to interfere with parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to defend his person and state against all invaders.” (Part I, Ch IV, pp. 53-5)

    • “They [Lilliputians] bury their dead with their heads directly downwards, because they hold an opinion that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again, in which period the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside down, and by this means they shall, at their resurrection, be found reading standing on their feet. The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine, but the practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar.” (Part I, Ch VI, p. 63)
    • “He [the King of Brobdingnag] wondered to hear me talk of such chargeable and extensive wars; that certainly we must be a quarrelsome people, or live among very bad neighbors, and that our generals must needs be richer than our kings.” (Part II, Ch VI, p. 135)
    • “He [the King of Brobdingnag] was perfectly astonished with the historical account I gave him of our affairs during the last century, protesting it was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments; the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, and ambition could produce.” (Part II, Ch VI, p. 136)
    • “These people [Laputans] are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a minute’s peace of mind; and their disturbances proceed from causes which very little affect the rest of the mortals. Their apprehensions arise from several changes they dread in the celestial bodies.” (Part III, Ch II, p. 167)
    • “That the system of living contrived by me was unreasonable and unjust, because it supposed a perpetuity of youth, health, and vigour, which no man could be so foolish to hope, however extravagant he might be in his wishes. That the question therefore was not whether a man would choose to be always in the prime of youth, attended with prosperity and health, but how he would pass a perpetual life under all the usual disadvantages which old age brings along with it.” (Part III, Ch X, p. 212)

Tolkien, J. R. R.

  • The Hobbit [1937 (first edition); 1951 (second edition); 1966 (third edition)] (ISBN: 978-0-547-92822-7)
    • “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” (Ch 1, p. 3)
    • “‘That would be no good,’ said the wizard [Gandalf], ‘not without a mighty warrior, even a Hero. I tried to find one; but warriors are busy fighting one another in distant lands, and in this neighbourhood heroes are scarce, or simply not to be found. Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish covers; and dragons are comfortably far off (and therefore legendary).'” (Ch 1, p. 21)
    • Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown,

And through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone,

And under mountains in the moon.


Roads go ever ever on

Under cloud and under star,

Yet feet that wandering have gone

Turn at last to home afar.

Eyes that fire and sword have seen

And horror in the halls of stone

Look at last on meadows green

And trees and hills they long have known.” [Bilbo Baggins] (Ch XIX, p. 273)

  • The Lord of the Rings
    • Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring [1954; later revised] (ISBN: 978-0-547-92821-0)
      • “It is perhaps not possible in a long tale to please everybody at all points, or to displease everybody at the same points; for I find from the letters that I have received that the passages or chapters that are to some a blemish are all by others specially approved. The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major, but being fortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again, he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short.” (Forward, p. xiv)
      • Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.” (p. v; Book I, Ch II, p. 49)

      • The road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet,

Until it joints some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.” [Frodo Baggins] (Book I, Ch III, p. 72)

      • “He [Bilbo Baggins] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even further and to worse places?’ He used to say that on the path outside the front door at Bag End, especially after he had been out for a long walk.” [Frodo Baggins] (Book I, Ch III, p. 72-3)
    • Part 2: The Two Towers [1954; later revised] (ISBN: 978-0-547-92820-3)
      • “Éomer’s eyes blazed, and the Men of Rohan murmured angrily, and closed in, advancing their spears. ‘I would cut off your head, beard and all, Master Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground,’ said Éomer.

‘He stands not alone,’ said Legolas, bending his bow and fitting an arrow with hands that moved quicker than sight. ‘You would die before your stroke fell.’” (Book III, Ch II, p. 422)

      • “And what about your companions? What about Legolas and me?’ cried Gimli, unable to contain himself any longer. ‘You rascals, you woolly-footed and wool-pated truants! A fine hunt you have led us! Two hundred leagues, through fen and forest, battle and death, to rescue you! And here we find you feasting and idling – and smoking! Smoking! Where did you come by the weed, you villains? Hammer and tongs! I am so torn between rage and joy, that if I do not burst, it will be a marvel!’

‘You speak for me, Gimli,’ laughed Legolas. ‘Though I would sooner learn how they came by the wine.’

‘One thing you have not found in your hunting, and that’s brighter wits,’ said Pippin, opening an eye. ‘Here you find us sitting on a field of victory, amid the plunder of armies, and you wonder how we came by a few well-earned comforts!’

‘Well-earned?’ said Gimli. ‘I cannot believe that!’

The Riders laughed. ‘It cannot be doubted that we witness the meeting of dear friends,’ said Théoden.” (Book 3, Ch VIII, p. 543-4)

    • Part 3: The Return of the King [1955; later revised] (ISBN: 978-0-547-92819-7)
      • “‘No, I’m afraid not, Sam,’ said Frodo. ‘At least, I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.'” (Part VI, Ch III, pp. 916)
      • “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well.” [Samwise Gamgee] (Book VI, Ch III, p. 919)
      • Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate;

And though I oft have passed them by,

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.” [Frodo Baggins] (Book VI, Ch IX, p. 1005)

      • “Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not week; for not all tears are an evil.” [Gandalf] (Book VI, Ch IX, p. 1007)
  • Tree and Leaf [1964] (quoted from The Tolkien Reader, first published in 1966, ISBN: 978-0-345-34506-6)
    • Leaf by Niggle [1947]
      • “There was one picture in particular which bothered him. It had begun with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew, sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out the most fantastic roots. Strange birds came and settled on the twigs and had to be attended to. Then all round the Tree, and behind it, through the gaps in the leaves and boughs, a country began to open out; and there were glimpses of a forest marching over the land, and of mountains tipped with snow. Niggle lost interest in his other pictures; or else he took them and tacked them on to the edges of his great picture.” (p. 101)
    • On Fairy-Stories [based on a lecture given by Tolkien in 1939, first published 1947, later revised]
      • “The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and keys be lost.” (p. 33)

Twain, Mark (pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court [1889] (ISBN: 0-375-75780-5)
    • “The ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are historical, and the episodes which are used to illustrate them are also historical. It is not pretended that these laws and customs existed in England in the sixth century; no, it is only pretended at inasmuch as they existed in the English and other civilizations of far later times, it is safe to consider that it is no libel upon the sixth century to suppose them to have been in practice in that day also. One is quite justified in inferring that wherever one of these laws or customs was lacking in that remote time, its place was competently filled by a worse one.

The question as to whether there is such a thing as divine right of kings is not settled in this book. It was found too difficult. That the executive head of a nation should be a person of lofty character and extraordinary ability, was manifest and indisputable; that none but the Deity ought to make that selection, then, was likewise manifest and indisputable; consequently, that He does make it, as claimed, was an unavoidable deduction. I mean, until the author of this book encountered the Pompadour, the Lady Castlemaine and some other executive heads of that kind; these were found so difficult to work into the scheme, that it was judged better to take the other tack in this book, (which must be issued this fall,) and then go into training and settle the question in another book. It is of course a thing which ought to be settled, and I am not going to have anything particular to do next winter anyway.” (Preface, p. xxix-xxx)

    • “I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sunday-schools the first thing; as a result, I now had an admirable system of graded schools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of Protestant congregations all in a prosperous and growing condition. Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teaching to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it in my other educational buildings. I could have given my own sect the preference and made everybody a Presbyterian without any trouble, but that would have been to affront a law of human nature: spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it; and besides I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty power, mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to human liberty, and paralysis to human thought.” (Ch X, p. 83)

Oh, these words which do make humanity think,

Ani J. Sharmin

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