Machines and technology - Quotes from Science Fiction
21.02.2012, 21:36

Machines and technology - 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!



inventor, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)


Why should you sweat yourselves to death to benefit the Lord of Metropolis? Who keeps the machines going? Who are the slaves of the machines? Let the machines stop. Destroy the machines.

- Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou, Metropolis (film, 1926), translator unknown (1926)


Can you appreciate the crushing hopelessness it brought to me? I, who love science, who see in it, or have seen in it, the salvation, the raising of mankind - to see those wondrous machines, of man's triumphant maturity, forgotten and misunderstood. The wondrous, perfect machines that tended, protected, and cared for those gentle, kindly people who had - forgotten.

- JohnW. Campbell, Jr., ''Twilight'' (1934)


There's an affinity between men and the machines they make. They make them out of their own brains, really, a sort of mental conception and gestation, and the result responds to the mind that created them, and to all human minds that understand and manipulate them.

- C. L. Moore, ''NoWoman Born'' (1944)


Too darned good a machine can be a menace, not a help.

- JohnW. Campbell, Jr., introduction to Cloak of Aesir (1951)


The machinery of civilization was a living body, with organismic Man as its brain.

- Walter M. Miller, Jr., ''Way of a Rebel'' (1954)


A man could change his politics, his friends, his religion, his country, but Men's tools were a part of his body. Having used a high-powered rifle, the man subsumed the weapon, made it a part of himself. Trading it for a stone axe would be like cutting off his arm. Man was a user of tools, a shaper of environments.

- Walter M. Miller, Jr., ''Way of a Rebel'' (1954)


When your life has depended for a long while upon machines - upon tubes and wires and gadgets of all kinds - you must come to trust these things as a part of yourself.

- Michael Shaara, ''The Holes'' (1954)


You can see from this that the world started going to pot right from the beginning. Things would be going along fine - law and order and all that and the elders in charge - and then, some smart aleck would invent something and spoil the whole business.

- John Steinbeck, ''The Short-Short Story of Mankind'' (1958)


The machines didn't tire and the medi-techs never made computational errors but both lacked an essential something. Something only one human being, no matter how inadequate, could give to another.

- Leo P. Kelley, ''The Handyman'' (1965)


We've been slaves to our tools since the first caveman made the first knife to help him get his supper. After that there was no going back, and we built till our machines were ten million times more powerful than ourselves.We gave ourselves cars when we might have learned to run; we made airplanes when we might have grown wings; and then the inevitable.We made a machine our God.

- John Brunner, ''Judas'' (1967)


These machines had become old and worn-out, had begun making mistakes; therefore they began to seem almost human.

- Philip K. Dick and Ray Nelson, The Ganymede Takeover (1967)


Only a free society, he thought, can produce the technology that makes tyranny possible . . .

- Keith Laumer, ''Test to Destruction'' (1967)


First you use machines, then you wear machines, and then . . .? Then you serve machines. It was obvious. It followed so logically it was almost comforting.

- John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968)


''One of these days,'' Joe said wrathfully, ''people like me will rise up and overthrow you, and the end of tyranny by the homeostatic machine will have arrived. The day of human values and compassion and simple warmth will return, and when that happens someone like myself who has gone through an ordeal and who genuinely needs hot coffee to pick him up and keep him functioning when he has to function will get the hot coffee whether he happens to have a poscred readily available or not.''

- Philip K. Dick, Ubik (1969)


Man has reached the stage where he evolves through his machines.

- GeneWolfe, ''Alien Stones'' (1972)


There was no easy way to heaven, or nirvana, or whatever it was that the faithful sought. Merit was acquired solely by one's own efforts, not with the aid of machines. An interesting doctrine, and one containing much truth; but there were also times when only machines could do the job.

- Arthur C. Clarke, The Fountains of Paradise (1979)


So the five appliances lived and worked, happy and fulfilled, serving their dear mistress and enjoying each other's companionship, to the end of their days.

- Thomas M. Disch, ''The Brave Little Toaster'' (1980)


He also saw a certain sense in the notion that burgeoning technologies require outlaw zones, that Night City wasn't there for its inhabitants, but as a deliberately unsupervised playground for technology itself.

- William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)


Most people who sneer at technology would starve to death if the engineering infrastructure were removed.

- Robert A. Heinlein, Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in a moment of reasoned lucidity which is almost unique among its current tally of five million, nine hundred and seventy-three thousand, five hundred and nine pages, says of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation products that [. . .] ''Their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.''

- Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1985)


You know what your trouble is? [. . .] You're the kind who always reads the handbook. Anything people build, any kind of technology, it's going to have some specific purpose. It's for doing something that somebody already understands. But if it's new technology, it'll open areas nobody's ever thought of before. You read the manual, man, and you won't play around with it, not the same way. And you get all funny when somebody else uses it to do something you never thought of.

- William Gibson, ''TheWinter Market'' (1985)


Out of order? Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works!

- Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan, and Ronny Graham, Spaceballs (film, 1987)


The truck seemed so easy to drive, it had so much power, that you sometimes forgot how dangerous one slip might be. One of the drawbacks to advanced technology, and to evolution. It made you reckless; it became too easy to lose control over the power.

- Steve Rasnic Tem, ''Dinosaur'' (1987)


The late twentieth century, and the early years of our own millennium, form, in retrospect, a single era. This was the Age of the Normal Accident, in which people cheerfully accepted technological risks that today would seem quite insane.

- Bruce Sterling, ''Our Neural Chernobyl'' (1988)


''It is a concatenation of synergistic interactions; the whole system is on the period-doubling route to Chaos!'' ''What does that mean, pray?'' ''Essentially,'' Mallory said, smiling behind his kerchief, ''in layman's terms, it means that everything gets twice as bad, twice as fast, until everything falls completely apart!''

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


The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

- Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (1992)


Somewhere in its history, every technological species will make the tools to become godlike. Immortal citizens will be capable of building worlds, or obliterating them. How a species responds to the challenge . . . well, that's what determines its fate, more often than not.

- Robert Reed, ''Sister Alice'' (1993)


He had to get off the ship, away from the manufactured things of man, and find a contact with his soul.

- P. J. Beese, ''WhiteWings'' (1995)


We have never developed a sinister view of technology, Mr. Laney. It is an aspect of the natural, of oneness.

- William Gibson, Idoru (1996)


Everything happens twice, first as theology, then as technology.

- Howard V. Hendrix, ''The Body Apocalyptic: Theology and Technology in Films and Fictions of the MIME Era'' (2002)

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