Iain Banks Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 91 quotes)
Why had he done it? Why couldn't it just not have happened? Why didn't they have time-travel, why couldn't he go back and stop it happening? Ships that could circumnavigate the galaxy in a few years, and count every cell in your body from light-years off, but he wasn't able to go back one miserable day and alter one tiny, stupid, idiotic, shameful decision...
...for all its apparent speed, the ship was almost perfectly silent, and he experienced an enervating, eerie feeling, as though the ancient warship, mothballed all those centuries, had somehow not yet fully woken up, and events within its sleek hull still moved to another, slower tempo, made half of dreams.
I sucked that smoke in and made it part of me, joined mystically with the universe right at that point, said Yes to drugs forever just by the unique hit I got from that one packet of fags Andy liberated from his dad. It was a revelation, an epiphany; a sudden realisation that it was possible for matter - something there in front of you, in your hand, in your lungs, in your pocket - to take your brain apart and reassemble it in ways you hadn't thought of previously. This was better than religion, or this was what people meant by religion! The whole point was that this worked! People said Believe In God or Do Well At School or Buy This or Vote For Me or whatever, but nothing ever worked the way substances worked, nothing ever fucking delivered the way they did. They were truth. Everything else was falsehood.
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.
Often I've thought of myself as a state; a country or, at the very least, a city. It used to seem to me that the different ways I felt sometimes about ideas, courses of action and so on were like the differing political moods that countries go through. It has always seemed to me that people vote in a new government not because they actually agree with their politics but just because they want a change. Somehow they think that things will be better under the new lot. Well, people are stupid, but it all seems to have more to do with mood, caprice and atmosphere than carefully thought-out arguments. I can feel the same sort of thing going on in my head. Sometimes the thoughts and feelings I had didn't really agree with each other, so I decided I must be lots of different people inside my brain.
Don't you have a religion?" Dorolow asked Horza."Yes," he replied, not taking his eyes away from the screen on the wall above the end of the main mess-room table. "My survival."So... your religion dies with you. How sad," Dorolow said, looking back from Horza to the screen. The Changer let the remark pass.
Horza recalled that the Culture's attitude to somebody who believed in an omnipotent God was to pity them, and to take no more notice of the substance of their faith than one would take of the ramblings of somebody claiming to be Emperor of the Universe. The nature of the belief wasn't totally irrelevant - along with the person's background and upbringing, it might tell you something about what had gone wrong with them - but you didn't take their views seriously.
It felt like faith, like revelation: that things went on, that life ground on regardless, and mindless, and produced pain and pleasure and hope and fear and joy and despair, and you dodged some of it and you sought some of it and sometimes you were lucky and sometimes you weren’t, and sometimes you could plan your way ahead and that would be the right thing to have done, but other times all you could do was forget about plans and just be ready to react, and sometimes the obvious was true and sometimes it wasn’t, and sometimes experience helped but not always, and it was all luck, fate, in the end; you lived, and you waited to see what happened, and you would rarely ever be sure that what you had done was really the right thing or the wrong thing, because things can always be better, and things can always be worse.
[Changers] were a threat to identity, a challenge to the individualism even of those they were never likely to impersonate. It had nothing to do with souls or physical or spiritual possession; it was, as the Idirans well understood, the behavouristic copying of another which revolted. Individuality, the thing which most humans held more precious than anything else about themselves, was somehow cheapened by the ease with which a Changer could ignore it as a limitation and use it as a disguise.
Was Fergus Urvill anywhere, still? Apart from the body - whatever was left of him physically, down there in that dark, cold pressure - was there anything else? Was his personality intact somehow, somewhere? I found that I couldn't believe that it was. Neither was dad's, neither was Rory's, nor Aunt Fiona's, nor Darren Watt's. There was no such continuation; it just didn't work that way, and there should even be a sort of relief in the comprehension that it didn't. We continue in our children, and in our works and in the memories of others; we continue in our dust and ash. To want more was not just childish, but cowardly, and somehow constipatory, too. Death was change; it led to new chances, new vacancies, new niches and opportunities; it was not all loss.
But it was pointless, it was stupid; he thought about thoughtless things. If I were a seabird . . . but how could you be a seabird? If you were a seabird your brain would be tiny and stupid and you would love half-rotted fish guts and tweaking the eyes out of little grazing animals; you would know no poetry and you could never appreciate flying as fully as the human on the ground yearning to be you. If you wanted to be a seabird you deserved to be one.