“Some automatic device clicked in her big brain, and her knees felt weak, and there was a chilly feeling in her stomach. She was in love with this man.
They don't make memories like that anymore”
“For some people, getting pregnant is as easy as catching cold." And there certainly was an analogy there: Colds and babies were both caused by germs which loved nothing so much as a mucous membrane.”
“It pains me even now, even a million years later, to write about such human misbehaviour.
A million years later, I feel like apologizing for the human race. That’s all I can say.”
“Just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilogrammes! There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn't imagine and execute.
So I raise this question, although there is nobody around to answer it: Can it be doubted that three-kilogramme brains were once nearly fatal defects in the evolution of the human race?”
“Just in the nick of time they realized that it was their own habitat they were wrecking -- that they weren't merely visitors.”
“What made marriage so difficult back then was yet again that instigator of so many other sorts of heartbreak: the oversize brain.”
“Why so many of us knocked us major chunks of our brains with alcohol from time to time remains an interesting mystery. It may be that we were tring to give evolution a shove in the right direction - in the direction of smaller brains.”
“That was another thing people used to be able to do, which they can't do anymore: enjoy in their heads events which hadn't happened yet and might never occur. My mother was good at that. Someday my father would stop writing science fiction, and write something a whole lot of people wanted to read instead. And we would get a new house in a beautiful city, and nice clothes, and so on. She used to make me wonder why God had ever gone to all the trouble of creating reality.
Imagination is as good as many voyages - and how much cheaper!
- GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS”
“As Mary delivered what was to be her last lecture about the Galapagos Islands, she would be stopped mid-sentence for five seconds by a doubt which, if expressed in words, might have come out something like this: "Maybe I'm just a crazy lady who had wandered off the street and into this classroom and started explaining the mysteries of life to these people. And they believe me, although I am utterly mistaken about simply everything."
She had to wonder, too, about all the supposedly great teachers of the past, who, although their brains were healthy, had turned out to be as wrong as Roy about what was really going on.”
“I didn't know then what a sperm was, and so wouldn't understand his answer for several years. "My boy," he said, "you are descended from a long line of determined, resourceful, microscopic tadpoles-- champions every one.”
“Thanks to their decreased brainpower, people aren't diverted from the main business of life by the hobgoblins of opinion anymore.”
“In the era of big brains, life stories could end up any which way. Look at mine.”
“I'll tell you what the human soul is, Mary,' he whispered, his eyes closed. 'Animals don't have one. It's the part of you that knows when your brain isn't working right. I always knew, Mary. There wasn't anything I could do about it, but I always knew.”
“That, in my opinion, was the most diabolical aspect of those old-time big brains: They would tell their owners, in effect, 'Here is a crazy thing we could actually do, probably, but we would never do it, of course. It's just fun to think about.' And then, as though in trances, the people would really do it--have slaves fight each other to death in the Colosseum, or burn people alive in the public square for holding opinions which were locally unpopular, or build factories whose only purpose was to kill people in industrial quantities, or to blow up whole cities, and on and on.”
“Colds and babies were both caused by germs which loved nothing so much as a mucous membrane.”
“This woman was so ugly and stupid, she probably never should have been born. And yet Wait was the second person to have married her.”
“Only one English word adequately describes his transformation of the islands from worthless to priceless: magical.”
“What humanity was about to lose, though, except for one tiny colony on Santa Rosalia, was what the trackless sea could never lose, so long as it was made of water, the ability to heal itself.”
“I am reminded of one of my father’s novels, The Era of Hopeful Monsters. It was about a planet where the humanoids ignored their most serious survival problems until the last possible moment. And then, with all the forests being killed and all the lakes being poisoned by acid rain, and all the groundwater made unpotable by industrial wastes and so on, the humanoids found themselves the parents of children with wings or antlers or fins, with a hundred eyes or with no eyes, with huge brains, with no brains, and on and on. These were Nature’s experiments with creatures which might, as a matter of luck, be better planetary citizens than the humanoids.”
“What made marriage so difficult back then was yet again that instigator of so many other sorts of heartbreak: the oversize brain. That cumbersome computer could hold so many contradictory opinions on so many different subjects all at once, and switch from one opinion or subject to another one so quickly, that a discussion between a husband and wife under stress could end up like a fight between blindfolded people wearing roller skates.”
“As long as they killed people with conventional rather than nuclear weapons, they were praised as humanitarian statesmen. As long as they did not use nuclear weapons, it appeared, nobody was going to give the right name to all the killing that had been going on since the end of the Second World War, which was surely “World War Three.”
“There are all these people bragging about how they’re survivors, as though that’s something very special. But the only kind of person who can’t say that is a corpse.”
“Something is always going wrong with our teeth. They don’t last anything like a lifetime, usually. What chain of events in evolution should we thank for our mouthfuls of rotting crockery?”
“I can still remember what I was like when I was sixteen. It was hell to be that excited. Then as now, orgasms gave no relief. Ten minutes after an orgasm, guess what? Nothing would do but that you have another one. And there was homework besides!”
“Human beings used to be molecules which could do many, many different sorts of dances, or decline to dance at all --as they pleased. My mother could do the waltz, the tango, the rumba....”
“I say the same thing about the death of James Wait: "Oh, well - he wasn't going to write Beethoven's Ninth Symphony anyway." This wry comment on how little most of us were likely to accomplish in life, no matter how long we lived, isn't my own invention.”
“It was humanity's ability to heal so quickly, by means of babies, which encouraged so many people to think of explosions as show business, as highly theatrical forms of self-expression, and little more.”
“More and more people back then, and not just Andrew MacIntosh, had found ensuring the survival of the human race a total bore.”
“They were suddenly saying to people with nothing but paper representations of wealth, “Wake up, you idiots! Whatever made you think paper was so valuable?”
“See, you have to marry me. I seem to scare off all the help.”
“Boredom is vastly underrated. Boredom means that nothing is trying to kill you every day.”
“An enemy, perhaps. Ah, so simple. Liane will kill you ten men. Two steps forward, thrust — thus!” He lunged. “And souls go thrilling up like bubbles in a beaker of mead.”
“And, above all, beware of the cat.”
“Well, put that lovely treasure back in your pants and calm down.”
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