Quotes from Excession

Iain M. Banks ·  499 pages

Rating: (20.1K votes)


“An Outside Context Problem was the sort of thing most civilisations encountered just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“It was a warship, after all. It was built, designed to glory in destruction, when it was considered appropriate. It found, as it was rightly and properly supposed to, an awful beauty in both the weaponry of war and the violence and devastation which that weaponry was capable of inflicting, and yet it knew that attractiveness stemmed from a kind of insecurity, a sort of childishness. It could see that—by some criteria—a warship, just by the perfectly articulated purity of its purpose, was the most beautiful single artifact the Culture was capable of producing, and at the same time understand the paucity of moral vision such a judgment implied. To fully appreciate the beauty of the weapon was to admit to a kind of shortsightedness close to blindness, to confess to a sort of stupidity. The weapon was not itself; nothing was solely itself. The weapon, like anything else, could only finally be judged by the effect it had on others, by the consequences it produced in some outside context, by its place in the rest of the universe. By this measure the love, or just the appreciation, of weapons was a kind of tragedy.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“But then, as she knew too well, the more fondly we imagine something will last forever, the more ephemeral it often proves to be.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“Look at these humans! How could such glacial slowness even be called life? An age could pass, virtual empires rise and fall in the time they took to open their mouths to utter some new inanity!”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“there came a point when if a conspiracy was that powerful and subtle it became pointless to worry about it.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession



“Unbelievable. I’m in a fucking Outside Context situation, the ship thought, and suddenly felt as stupid and dumb-struck as any muddy savage confronted with explosives or electricity.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“A new collection of matter and information to present to the universe and to which it in turn will be presented; different, arguably equal parts of that great ever-repetitive, ever-changing jurisdiction of being.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“the Fate had moved, or had been moved, thirty light years in less than a picosecond.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“It also occurred to him that Minds wrote voluminous biographies of each other in order to cover the odd potentially valuable or embarrassing nugget of truth under a mountain of bullshit.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“and was taken to the Forward Docks and a big, brightly lit hangar, where the Psychopath Class ex-Rapid Offensive Unit Frank Exchange of Views was waiting for her. Ulver laughed. 'It looks,' she snorted, 'like a dildo!' 'That's appropriate,' Churt Lyne said. 'Armed, it can fuck solar systems.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession



“the battle-memes of the invading alien consciousness aided by the thought processes and shared knowledge of the by now obviously completely overwhelmed ship. With”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“Hup! . . . and here we are, waking up. Quick scan around, nothing immediately threatening, it would seem . . . Hmm. Floating in space. Odd. Nobody else around. That’s funny. View’s a bit degraded. Oh-oh, that’s a bad sign. Don’t feel quite right, either. Stuff missing here . . . Clock running way slow, like it’s down amongst the electronics crap . . . Run full system check. ... Oh, good grief!”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“To touch this abomination with anything less perfectly attuned to its nature than the carefully dispersed wings of an engine field would be like an ancient, fragile rocket ship falling into a sun, like a wooden sea-ship encountering an atomic blast.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“Ulver Seich woke up in the best possible way.  She surfaced with a languorous slowness through fuzzy layers of luxurious half-dreams and memories of sweetness, sensuality and sheer carnal bliss… to find it all merging rather splendidly into reality, and what was happening right now.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“[B]ecause of all his previous attempts to integrate with the rest of society and what he had learned about himself through them - he wanted to be who he was, not the person he would become if he lost the one trait that distinguished him from everybody else, no matter how perverse that decision seemed to others.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession



“the ignobility of thought and action that desperation born of indigence produces.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“[A]ll her hardships had been self-inflicted and recreational in the past.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“Somehow, later, exhausted and dismayed by these sapping, abrasive, attriting episodes, they came to a sort of truce; but it was at the expense of any closeness.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“He felt great. spa'dassins digladiate; ziffidae and xebecs contend! gol-iard dunking!”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


“no matter how intelligent, perceptive and gifted you were, no matter how entirely you lived for the ascetic rewards of the intellect and eschewed the material world and the ignobility of the flesh, if your heart just gave out . . . That”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession



“Meanwhile the Mind of Pittance watched over them, and looked out into the resounding silence and the sun-freckled darkness of the spaces between the stars, forever content and ineffably satisfied with the absence of anything remotely interesting happening.”
― Iain M. Banks, quote from Excession


About the author

Iain M. Banks
Born place: in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Born date February 16, 1954
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