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Stranger in a Strange Land Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from Stranger in a Strange Land
  1. #1
    “The woman’s last speech had contained symbols new to him and those which were not new had been arranged in fashions not easily understood. But he was happy that the flavor had been suitable for communication between water brothers—although touched with something disturbing and terrifyingly pleasant.”
  2. #2
    ″‘Yes, Jubal. You—’ Smith stopped, looked embarrassed. ‘I again have not words. I will read and read and read, until I find words. Then I will teach my brother.‘”
  3. #3
    “It was not possible to separate in the Martian tongue the human concepts: ‘religion,’ ‘philosophy,’ and ‘science’—and, since Mike thought in Martian, it was not possible for him to tell them apart.”
  4. #4
    “On Mars there is never anything to laugh at. All the things that are funny to us humans either cannot happen on Mars or are not permitted to happen—sweetheart, what you call ‘freedom’ doesn’t exist on Mars; everything is planned by the Old Ones.”
  5. #5
    “You need to think in Martian to grok the word ‘grok.‘”
  6. #6
    “The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.”
  1. #7
    “A person must start with a willingness to learn and follow it with long, hard study. I grok that is salutary.”
  2. #8
    “Jill, of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of ‘altruism’ is the worst. People do what they want to, every time.”
  3. #9
    “I never spoke more plainly in my life. Try believing the evidence instead of insisting that the cameras must be at fault because what they saw was not what you expected.”
  4. #10
    “And now (he felt sure) Mike was about to be treated as a sovereign by those nabobs—with the world watching. Let ‘em try to roust the boy around after this!”
  5. #11
    “Democracy is a poor system; the only thing that can be said for it is that it’s eight times as good as any other method. Its worst fault is that its leaders reflect their constituents— low level, but what can you expect?”
  6. #12
    “I have learned two ways to tie my shoes. One way is only good for lying down. The other way is good for walking.”

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  1. #13
    “A prude thinks that his own rules of propriety are natural laws.”
  2. #14
    “The truth can’t be stated in English any more than Beethoven’s Fifth can be.”
  3. #15
    “The sky held scattered clouds; at that instant the sun came out from behind one and a shaft of light hit him.
    His clothes vanished. He stood before them, a golden youth, clothed only in beauty—beauty that made Jubal’s heart ache, thinking that Michelangelo in his ancient years would have climbed down from his high scaffolding to record it for generations unborn. Mike said gently, ‘Look at me. I am a son of man.‘”
  4. #16
    “You don’t have any feeling for what makes a chump a chump. A real magician can make the marks open their mouths by picking a quarter out of the air. That levitation you do—I’ve never seen it done before, but the marks don’t warm to it. No psychology. Now take me, I can’t even pick a quarter out of the air. I got no act—except the one that counts. I know marks. I know what he hungers for, even if he don’t. That’s showmanship, son, whether you’re a politician, a preacher pounding a pulpit—or a magician. Find out what the chumps want and you can leave half your props in your trunk.”
  5. #17
    ″‘It is later than you think’ could not be expressed in Martian—nor could ‘Haste makes waste,’ though for a different reason: the first notion was inconceivable while the latter was an unexpressed Martian basic, as unnecessary as telling a fish to bathe. But ‘As it was in the Beginning, is now and ever shall be’ was so Martian in mood that it could be translated more easily than ‘two plus two makes four’—which was not a truism on Mars.”
  6. #18
    “Around a minor G-type star toward one edge of a medium-sized galaxy planets swung as they had for billions of years, under a modified inverse square law that shaped space. Four were big enough, as planets go, to be noticeable; the rest were pebbles, concealed in the fiery skirts of the primary or lost in the black reaches of space. All, as is always the case, were infected with that oddity of distorted entropy called life; on the third and fourth planets surface temperatures cycled around the freezing point of hydrogen monoxide; in consequence they had developed life forms similar enough to permit a degree of social contact.”
  7. #19
    “His idea is that whenever you encounter any other grokking thing—man, woman, or stray cat…you are meeting your ‘other end.’ The universe is a thing we whipped up among us and agreed to forget the gag.
    Jubal looked sour. ‘Solipsism and pantheism. Together they explain anything. Cancel out any inconvenient fact, reconcile all theories, include any facts or delusions you like. But it’s cotton candy, all taste and no substance—as unsatisfactory as solving a story by saying: ‘—then the little boy fell out of bed and woke up.‘”
  8. #20
    “All symbols were in Smith’s vocabulary but he had trouble believing that he had heard rightly.”
Book Topics › communication
Children's Books About Communication