For more information about this book, you can visit the Yale University Press website which includes its Table of Contents, my introduction, and the author and title indexes.
Mysterious Words: Unverified Quotations that I Could Not Include in Science Fiction Quotations
[Note: When I originally agreed to edit Science
Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits for Yale
University Press, I promised that I would verify the accuracy of each quotation
by locating and examining its original source. Unfortunately, this meant that I
could not feature a number of worthwhile quotations because I could never
determine exactly where they had first appeared. Thanks to Neil Easterbrook and
a fortuitous rereading of Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe," I can now remove two
quotations from the list, but I still need some assistance in identifying the
sources of the eight quotations below.]
- I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.
- —Isaac Asimov
- [This quotation is all over the Internet, but a source is never
provided. One website did provide the date of 1977, but I could not find it in
any Asimov articles or books published in that year.]
- In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power ... Green Lantern's light!
- —Alfred Bester
- [I know that this well-known Green Lantern oath first appeared in a
Green Lantern comic book story published in 1943, but although I contacted the
great Jerry Bails himself, even he could not identify the exact story in which
it first appeared. The authorship is also disputed: Bester stated that he did
not write the oath, but Julius Schwartz insisted that he did.]
- A psychotic is someone who knows a little of what's going on.
- —William S. Burroughs
- Sometimes I think we are alone in the universe, sometimes I think we
aren't: in both cases, the idea makes me dizzy.
- —Arthur C. Clarke
- There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a
- —Arthur C. Clarke
- Grown men and women, sixty years old, twenty‑five years old, sit
around and talk about the "golden age of science fiction," remembering when
every story in every magazine was a masterwork of daring, original thought.
Some say the golden age was circa 1928; some say 1939; some favor 1953, or
1970, or 1984. The arguments rage till the small of morning, and nothing is
ever resolved. Because the real golden age of science fiction is twelve ....
- —Peter Graham
- [To find the source of this common quotation, I actually got in touch
with Peter Graham, its author, but he could not recall ever saying that the
"golden age of science fiction is twelve." He believes that he must have said
it while on a panel at some science fiction convention, and that he was then
quoted in a science fiction fanzine. ]
- Until you meet an alien intelligence you will not know what it is to be
- —Frank Herbert
- Maybe this world is some other planet's hell.
- —Aldous Huxley