History - Quotes from Science Fiction
21.02.2012, 19:54

History - Quotes from Science Fiction


A lot of quotations carefully collected from a very big amount of books and divided by categories.

Have fun reading it, this is really interesting and breathtaking!



History is a department of human delusion that interests us.

- Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned (1919)


Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

- H. G.Wells, The Outline of History (1920)


History, as [H. G.Wells] sees it is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man.

- George Orwell, ''Wells, Hitler, and theWorld State'' (1941)


The Historical Point of View, put briefly, means that when a learned man is presented with any statement in an ancient author, the one question he never asks is whether it is true. He asks who influenced the ancient writer, and how far the statement is consistent with what he said in other books, and what phase in the writer's development, or in the general history of thought, it illustrates, and how it affected later writers, and how often it has been misunderstood (specially by the learned man's colleagues) and what the general course of criticism on it has been for the last ten years, and what is the ''present state of the question.'' To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge - to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behavior - this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded. And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another. But thanks be to our Father and the Historical Point of View, great scholars are now as little nourished by the past as the most ignorant mechanic who holds that ''history is bunk.''

- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)


People don't make history - Burkhalter thought. Peoples do that. Not the individual.

- Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, ''The Piper's Son'' (1945)


Perhaps we do waste too much time in hankering after the past.

- A. Bertram Chandler, ''NewWings'' (1948)


To an imaginative man like Denham, a teacher of advanced semantics, the last years of the Twentieth Century loomed through the mists of time with all the fascination of a vast dust bin infested with black widow spiders.

- Frank Belknap Long, ''TheWorld of Wulkins'' (1948)


You know how one feels about history, the glamour of the past; I expected to hear everybody talking about great events - battles, poets, that kind of thing - but of course you don't. You just squabble among yourselves.

- Gore Vidal, Visit to a Small Planet, revised (play, 1957)


Historians list nothing but trivia.

- Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)


I pass through Terran history this way.When the clown tumbles into the tub, I laugh. Terran history is full of clowns and tubs; at first it seems that's all there is, but you learn to see beneath the comic costumes.

- Sonya Dorman, ''When I Was Miss Dow'' (1966)


The history of man is not his technical triumphs, his kills, his victories. It is a composite: a mosaic of a trillion pieces, the account of each man's accommodation with his conscience. This is the true history of the race.

- Jack Vance, ''The Last Castle'' (1966)


Glogauer had no wish to change history, only to strengthen it.

- Michael Moorcock, ''Behold the Man'' (1967)


Prior forms, he reflected, must carry on an invisible, residual life in every object. The past is latent, is submerged, but still there, capable of rising to the surface once the later imprinting unfortunately - and against ordinary experience - vanished. The man contains - not the boy - but earlier men.

- Philip K. Dick, Ubik (1969)


No culture as yet has actually forgotten history because no culture has really possessed more than fragments of it.

- Edgar Pangborn, ''Mount Charity'' (1971)


History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion - i.e., none to speak of.

- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)


The History of every major Galactic civilization has gone through three distinct and recognizable phases - those of survival, inquiry and sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance the first phase is characterized by the question ''How can we eat?,'' the second by the question ''Why do we eat?'' and the third by the question ''Where shall we have lunch?''

- Douglas Adams, ''Fit the Sixth,'' episode of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio series, 1978)


Did I want a world of human wolves? It would not be very different. Half the history of man is the history of wolf-man, which is why humanity has dominated all the other animals of the planet and his history is a history of blood.

- Katherine MacLean, ''Night-Rise'' (1978)


Myths are not fiction, but history seen with a poet's eyes and recounted in a poet's terms.

- Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom, The Jesus Incident (1979)


''The present is never the present,'' Sam said. ''It's layered with persistent pasts.''

- George Zebrowski, Macrolife (1979)


Planetary history is one long dark age, he thought, an evolving slaughterhouse.

- George Zebrowski, Macrolife (1979)


History has limited use, she knew, since memory distorts.

- Suzy McKee Charnas, ''The Unicorn Tapestry'' (1980)


Dom Felix had gently pointed out to him something he should have known, something that had sidled up on historians since the first troglodyte grunted the tale of last month's contest with the timber wolf: History isn't only then; it's now.

- Theodore Sturgeon, ''Why Dolphins Don't Bite'' (1980)


''As individuals, they are hardly relevant to the course of history.'' [. . .] ''Of course they're relevant!'' I shouted. ''They are the history, not all these bloody numbers!''

- ConnieWillis, ''FireWatch'' (1982)


Tyranny is the death of history.

- Greg Bear, ''Hardfought'' (1983)


Any fool can foresee the past.

- Larry Niven, The Integral Trees (1983)


As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day.

- Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1986)


Romance is one thing, history another. Romance makes history palatable by making it pretty; real history is dirt and famine and plagues.

- George Turner, Drowning Towers (1987)


It is too easy to fall into the trap of seeing history in terms of human movement, as though all else is ancillary, as though we make history. It is history that makes us.

- George Turner, Drowning Towers (1987)


I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive.

- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Bluebeard (1987)


History was tales and tales were a kind of lie, or else not much different from them; he knew that much.Which was enough. A practical man had to seize the moment before him, not meander through dusty tales.

- Gregory Benford, ''At the Double Solstice'' (1988)


My sweet, harmless comrades were tortured, mutilated, burnt alive. History is a laboratory in which we learn that nothing works, or ever can.

- Michael Swanwick, ''The Dragon Line'' (1988)


There is nothing to history. No progress, no justice. There is nothing but random horror.

- William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine (1991)


What was the good of being a time researcher, if you could not even learn from times past?

- Nancy Kress, ''And Wild for to Hold'' (1991)


History, contrary to popular theories, is kings and dates and battles.

- Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (1992)


History too has an inertia. In the four dimensions of spacetime, particles (or events) have directionality; mathematicians, trying to show this, draw what they call ''world lines'' on graphs. In human affairs, individual world lines form a thick tangle, curling out of the darkness of prehistory and stretching through time: a cable the size of Earth itself, spiraling round the sun on a long curved course. That cable of tangled world lines is history. Seeing where it has been, it is clear where it is going - it is a matter of simple extrapolation.

- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1992)


History is not evolution! It is a false analogy! Evolution is a matter of environment and chance, acting over millions of years. But history is a matter of environment and choice, acting within lifetimes, and sometimes within years, or months, or days!

- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1992)


History so far had been a nightmare, a huge compendium of examples to be avoided.

- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1992)


Historical analogy is the last refuge of people who can't grasp the current situation.

- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1992)


Skinner had this thing he got on about history. How it was turning into plastic.

- William Gibson, Virtual Light (1993)


I care nothing for history, human or otherwise, Major Solomon. It has always seemed to me a mere justification for repeating the mistakes of the past.

- Adrienne Martine-Barnes, ''Flambeaux'' (1995)


All history begins between a woman's legs.

- Jane Yolen, ''The One-Armed Queen'' (1995)


Riker: Someone once said, ''Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgments.'' Zefram Cochrane: That's rhetorical nonsense.Who said that? Riker: You did, ten years from now.

- Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, Star Trek: First Contact (film, 1996)


History has no laws, and all patterns that we find there are useful illusions.

- Orson Scott Card, Children of the Mind (1996)


Looking into history is like shining a flashlight into a cave. You can't see the whole cave, but as you play the flashlight around, a hidden shape is revealed.

- Richard Preston, The Cobra Event (1997)


Londo: So, how does it feel to make history? G'Kar: You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it.

- J. Michael Straczynski, ''Rising Star,'' episode of Babylon 5 (1997)

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