Terry Pratchett

The Dark Side of the Sun

"The creapii had found the first joker tower and, all else having failed to open it, had dropped a live nigrocavernal matrix on it. The tower was later found to be intact. Three neighbouring stellar systems had been wrecked, however."

"It wasn't logical, but the idea had a certain artistic appeal."

"`I wonder what makes us build inefficiently-shaped human robots instead of nice streamlined machines?'
`Pride, sir,' said the robot."
- Dom Sabalos and Isaac

"`Don't you want to be free?'
`What? And have God blame the Universe on me?'"
- Dom Sabalos and Isaac

"According to the Newer Testament, it was the same meal that Sadhim Himself ate when he became Lord of Earth - a quarter-loaf of brown bread, a strip of salt dried fish, an apple and a glass of water.
There were some slight differences. The flour for Dom's loaf had been freighted in from Third Eye. The fish was truly Widdershin, but the salt had been mined on Terra Novae. The apple was from the Earth's Avalon, the water melted from a particle of a comet. In all, the meal cost about two thousand standards. Some kinds of simplicity cost more than others."

"`Understanding is the first step towards control. We now understand probability.'
`If we control it every man will be a magician. Let us then hope that this will not come to pass. For our universe is a fragile house of atoms, held together by the weak mortar of cause-and-effect. One magician would be two too many.'
Charles Sub-Lunar, Cry Continuum."

"`But a student of probability soon realizes that by its nature the billion-to-one chance crops up nine times out of ten, and that the greatest odds boil down to a double-sided statement: it will happen, or it will not.'"
- John Sabalos

"The universe was divided into two parts, separated by a five centimetre shell of monomolecular steel. On the inner side was the interior of the luxury yacht One Jump Ahead, superbly outfitted for one passenger but badly cramped for three, one of whom was metal and another one was smelling of swamp water.
On the other side was the rest of the universe, composed almost entirely of nothing with a trace of hydrogen."

"In fact, Dom considered, it looked like an early conception of hell. With tourists. Certainly some of the tourists would have fitted the concept nicely."

"`I don't begin to understand,' he said, flatly. `To me its sounds like jargon.'
`Hrsh-Hgn turned to the Bank. `Nonsense,' he explained. `In Sadhimist tradition God invented it to forestall the firsst attempt at intersstellar travel. To prevent scientissts from understanding each other, you understand. You will find it mentioned in the Newer Testament.'"
- Dom, the First Syrian Bank and Hrsh-Hgn

"Once there had only been one kind of Creap, the silicon-oxygen Creaps of of low degree, living in barbarism and molten phosphorous sulphides on a small world hugging close to the fires of one of the 70 Ophiuchis. Seventeen light-years away, a brighter than average ape was seeing real possibilities in banging two stones together.
The Creapii were kindly, patient, and intensely curious. They were also pathologically humble. When they spread into space, they changed the Creap to fit the situation.
Half a million years of gene-manipulation and radical molecular restructuring produced the middle-degree Creaps, based on a silicon-carbon bond, a dynamic species that lived happily enough at 500 degrees. Soon afterwards the vats stabilized the intricate aluminium silicon polymers of the High-Degrees, the ones that occasionally floated their rafts on cool stars.
There were others, including even a boron sub-species. Wherever a star warmed a rock beyond the melting point of tin, there was a Creap to bask in its beneficence."

"`I perceive a possibility of an immediate chronological sequence of events which includes a violence,' said Three. He stepped back, `I express preference for a chronological sequence of events which precludes a violence.'
Eight poked his head round the hatchway and added, `I too express a preference for a chronological sequence of events which precludes a violence.'
Isaac hefted the spanner thoughtfully. `You are advanced fellows for Class Threes. There's just you and me here, and we none of us are non-metallic humans. Do you intend to molest me?'
`Our orders are to escort the contents of this machine to our mistress,' said Three. He was watching the spanner.
`You could disobey.'
`Class Fives may disobey. Class Fours may disobey in special circumstances. We are not Class Fives. We are not Class Fours. It is a matter for regret.'
`Then I will temporarily disable you,' said Isaac firmly.
`Although you are more intelligent than myself I will resist.' said Three. He shifted uneasily.
`We will resort to violence on the count of three,' said Isaac. `One. Two.'
The spanner clonked against Three's cutout button. `Three,' said Isaac, and turned to Eight who was staring at his fallen comrade with a perplexed air.
`I perceive an illogical sequence of events which included a violence,' he said. Isaac hit him."
- Isaac (Class Five) arguing with two Class Three robots

"Imagine a doughnut, three million miles across. Imagine another. Link them.
The Chain Stars."

"Dom knew that most of the bulk must be shielding, plus an engine big enough to lift the ship up against the crushing pull of a sun. But the streamlining puzzled him.
Until he realized. Even suns have atmospheres."

"And the Sabalos family was rich - so rich, in fact, that it could afford the simple life."