Iain Banks Quotes

Oh, they never lie. They dissemble, evade, prevaricate, confound, confuse, distract, obscure, subtly misrepresent and willfully misunderstand with what often appears to be a positively gleeful relish and are generally perfectly capable of contriving to give one an utterly unambiguous impression of their future course of action while in fact intending to do exactly the opposite, but they never lie. Perish the thought.

Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot.

The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others

One should never mistake pattern for meaning.

Political correctness is what right-wing bigots call what everybody else calls being polite

A guilty system recognizes no innocents.

One should never regret one’s excesses, only one’s failures of nerve.

People can be teachers and idiots; they can be philosophers and idiots; they can be politicians and idiots… in fact I think they have to be… a genius can be an idiot. The world is largely run for and by idiots; it is no great handicap in life and in certain areas is actually a distinct advantage and even a prerequisite for advancement.

Truth, I have learned, differs for everybody. Just as no two people ever see a rainbow in exactly the same place – and yet both most certainly see it, while the person seemingly standing right underneath it does not see it at all – so truth is a question of where one stands, and the direction one is looking in at the time.

All you ever were was a little bit of the universe, thinking to itself. Very specific; this bit, here, right now. All the rest was fantasy.

My gratitude extends beyond the limits of my capacity to express it.

Reason shapes the future, but superstition infects the present.

There’s an old Sysan saying that the soup of life is salty enough without adding tears to it.

Science fiction is trying to find alternative ways of looking at realities.

The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn’t.

People were always sorry. Sorry they had done what they had done, sorry they were doing what they were doing, sorry they were going to do what they were going to do; but they still did whatever it is. The sorrow never stopped them; it just made them feel better. And so the sorrow never stopped.

Half the fun of writing a novel is finding out from other people later on what you actually meant.

There has seldom if ever a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots.

One of the advantages of having laws is the pleasure one may take in breaking them.

“I think I know the real reason.” “Which is?” “Alcohol in the dust clouds. Goddamn stuff is everywhere. Any lousy species ever invents the telescope and the spectroscope and starts looking in between the stars, what do they find?” He knocked the glass on the table. “Loads of stuff, but much of it alcohol.” He drank from the glass. “Humanoids are the galaxy’s way of trying to get rid of all that alcohol.”

I remember being shocked when I discovered some of my school pals didn’t have books in their homes. I thought it was like not having oxygen, or hot water.

The History Of The Universe In Three Words CHAPTER ONE Bang! CHAPTER TWO sssss CHAPTER THREE crunch. THE END

One of your American professors said that to study religion was merely to know the mind of man, but if one truly wanted to know the mind of God, you must study physics.

It was the day my grandmother exploded.

All our lives are symbols. Everything we do is part of a pattern we have at least some say in. The strong make their own patterns and influence other people’s, the weak have their courses mapped out for them. The weak and the unlucky, and the stupid.