C. J. Cherryh Quotes

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.

Watch out for a man whose enemies keep disappearing.

Nothing’s hopeless except never trying.


I most fear stupid people. Stupid people will do anything. Truly smart people will do only what is logical for them to do.

There are three kinds of people I’ve found: those who think the universe is good, those who believe it’s corrupt, and those who don’t want to think about it any more than they can help. I prefer the first two.

Ignorance killed the cat; curiosity was framed!

Trade isn’t about goods. Trade is about information. Goods sit in the warehouse until information moves them.

Never start a war with something you can’t talk to.

Honor to the earth,” the abbot said, “honor to the dead in the passing of the year; honor to the living, in the coming of the new. A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish.

Average people didn’t analyze what they thought: they thought they thought, and half of it was gut reaction.

Remember, constantly, that when you talk about ‘tense of a subjunctive,’ you’re not talking about time. You’re slipping through degrees of reality.

Science fiction is a dialogue, a tennis match, in which the Idea is volleyed from one side of the net to the other. Ridiculous to say that someone ‘stole’ an idea: no, no, a thousand times no. The point is the volley, and how it’s carried, and what statement is made by the answering ‘statement.’ In other words — if Burroughs initiates a time-gate and says it works randomly, and then Norton has time gates confounded with the Perilous Seat, the Siege Perilous of the Round Table, and locates it in a bar on a rainy night — do you see both the humor and the volley in the tennis match?

Inevitably the party trying to resolve a matter had to contend with the party most willing to exploit it.

My worlds are complex, and often suggest more than one story.

For me the purest and truest art in the world is science fiction.

Change happened and you thought it was forever, and immediately there were all the enemies of that change making common cause and meeting in the cloakrooms.

If you’re up against a smart opponent, make him think himself to death.

Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency – and don’t complain about the heat.

Culture is how biology responds and makes its living conditions better.

Rattle a lawyer’s door and you get more lawyers.

Writing day and night for months… that’s hard.

A year of ending and beginning, a year of loss and finding… and all of you were with me through the storm. I drink your health, your wealth, your fortune for long years to come, and I hope for many more days in which we can gather like this.

Jane leaned back against the counter and stared at the ceiling. At the traditional location of God, no matter what the planet.

The warrior may fight for gold or for an immediate gain, or for something to take home for the winter to feed the family. The soldier is part of a more complex society. He’s fighting for a group ethic of some sort.

Poisoning rarely happens in a well-managed kitchen.