Language - 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!
The words which make up human language are inadequate for those who venture into the depths of the Earth. [. . .] New words were needed for new sensations and my imagination could not provide them.
- Jules Verne, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), translated by William Butcher (1992)
Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures inWonderland (1865)
''When I use a word,'' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ''it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.''
- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872)
He had an idea, I believe, that to gabble about names that meant nothing was the proper use of speech. [. . .] He had developed in the most wonderful way the distinctive silliness of man without losing one jot of the natural folly of a monkey.
- H. G.Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896)
Human language is naturally wanting in words that are adequate for the delineation of events and sensations beyond the normal scope of human experience.
- Clark Ashton Smith, ''The City of the Singing Flame'' (1931)
Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly - they'll go through anything.
- Aldous Huxley, Brave NewWorld (1932)
He liked the serene world that Shangri-La offered him, pacified rather than dominated by its single tremendous idea. He liked the prevalent mood in which feelings were sheathed in thoughts, and thoughts softened into felicity by their transference into language.
- James Hilton, Lost Horizon (1933)
Words were subtle, and frequently had little connection with the facts they were supposed to represent.
- A. E. van Vogt, The Players of Null-A (1948)
Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.
- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
''I never knew words could be so confusing,'' Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear. ''Only when you use a lot to say a little.''
- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)
[Human] communication is rendered more complex by the use of differing sets of sound-symbols, called languages and by the fact that a given set of symbols tends to change with the passage of years to become an entirely new language.
- Howard L. Myers, ''The Creatures of Man'' (1968)
There is a treachery in words that somehow cuts out sincerity, albeit by accident, and makes the deepest feelings seem shallow and distant.
- John DeCles, ''Cruelty'' (1970)
Others have developed cries, songs, words as weapons.Words that cut like buzz saws.Words that vibrate the entrails to jelly. Cold strange words that fall like icy nets on the mind. Virus words that eat the brain to muttering shreds.
- William S. Burroughs, TheWild Boys: A Book of the Dead (1971)
Very little thinking was ever done in English; it is not a language suitable to logical thought.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)
With them [the phytolinguist and the critic], or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer - the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks; each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space.
- Ursula K. Le Guin, ''The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics'' (1974)
''Why do people always make such a tremendous thing about words?'' [. . .] ''They may be the best means we have for probing certain kinds of darkness. As for communication, Jesse, we might survive for a while without it but I'm not sure the survival would be worth having.Words weren't invented only to conceal thoughts as the old wheeze has it. They create thoughts, give thoughts, and are thoughts. People live by honest words, and die by the other kind.''
- Edgar Pangborn, ''The Children's Crusade'' (1974)
The original purpose of language was to ritualize men's threats and curses, his spells to compel the gods; communication came later.Words can be a safety valve.
- GeneWolfe, ''The Death of Doctor Island'' (1974)
They knew nothing of this world, their world, only that they must walk in it in silence, until they had learned a language fitting to be spoken here.
- Ursula K. Le Guin, ''The Eye of the Heron'' (1978)
The world is a message from God written in Egyptian picture letters in an unknown tongue. A language half remembered. The shapes whispered meanings, and they seemed to mean more away from the brightest lights.
- Katherine MacLean, ''Night-Rise'' (1978)
I am not certain what is meant by the smell of a rose, but if a rose on Earth is the common flower that is called a rose on Aurora, and if by its ''smell'' you mean a property that can be detected, sensed, or measured by human beings, then surely calling a rose by another sound-combination - and holding all else equal - would not affect the smell or any other of its intrinsic properties.
- Isaac Asimov, The Robots of Dawn (1983)
They spoke in Interlingua, the language of space.
- Mack Reynolds, Chaos in Lagrangia (1983)
There are many creatures, but only one language, which all speak with greater or lesser skill, according to their destinies.
- Robert Silverberg, ''Homefaring'' (1983)
The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
- Philip K. Dick, ''How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later'' (1985)
Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.
- Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988)
In every language, from Arabic to Zulu to calligraphy to shorthand to math to music to art to wrought stone, everything from the Unified Field Theory to a curse to a sixpenny nail to an orbiting satellite, anything expressed is a net around some idea.
- Richard Bach, One (1988)
Where I come from the men and women hardly speak to each other. First of all, they don't speak the same language. They don't here either, but you don't recognize that as clearly.Where I come from there's men's English and there's women's English.
- Karen Joy Fowler, ''Game Night at the Fox and Goose'' (1989)
That is the tragedy of language, my friend. Those who know each other only through symbolic representations are forced to imagine each other. And because their imagination is imperfect, they are often wrong.
- Orson Scott Card, Xenocide (1991)
In the dim, high hollow of the great station a thousand voices seemed to mingle, the constituent elements of language reduced to the aural equivalent of fog, homogeneous and impenetrable.
- William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine (1991)
Language, Jason realised, was a large part of the problem, because words say what they want to say, not what you want them to say.
- Tom Holt, Ye Gods! (1992)
''Medicine is a language?'' Drake felt that his mind must be slowed by the long sleep and thawing treatment. ''Of course. Like Music, or Chemistry, or Astronautics. But surely this was already true in your own time. Did you not have languages specific to each - what is your word?
- Charles Sheffield, ''At the Eschaton'' (1995)
The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not narn or human or centauri or gaim or minbari. It speaks in the language of hope. It speaks in the language of trust. It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us and the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born. The small, still voice that says: ''We are one. No matter the blood, no matter the skin, no matter the world, no matter the star . . . We are one. No matter the pain, no matter the darkness, no matter the loss, no matter the fear . . . We are one.'' Here, gathered together in common cause, we begin to realize this singular truth and this singular rule that we must be kind to one another. Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost diminishes us.We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light our way to a better future.We are one.
- J. Michael Straczynski, ''The Paragon of Animals,'' episode of Babylon 5 (1998)
He luxuriated in the sound of high language well spoken.
- Orson Scott Card, Ender's Shadow (1999)
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