The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He's entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you're in violation.

— Larry Niven

The most fulfilling Larry Niven quotes to get the best of your day

Ethics change with technology.

34

SF isn't a genre; SF is the matrix in which genres are embedded, and because the SF field is never going in any one direction at any one time, there is hardly a way to cut it off.

13

The human species really could have faced global thermonuclear war.

During seventy years of Cold War we grew used to it.

12

There were timelines branching and branching, a mega-universe of universes, millions more every minute. Billions? Trillions? The universe split every time someone made a decision. Split, so that every decision ever made could go both ways. Every choice made by every man, woman, and child was reversed in the universe next door.

11

In the world of words the imagination is one of the forces of nature.

10

In hindsight it may even seem inevitable that a socialist society will starve when it runs out of capitalists.

10

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.

8

One mark of a good officer, he remembered, was the ability to make quick decisions. If they happen to be right, so much the better.

6

It's very difficult for a black man to get out of South-Central Los Angeles, and get out civilized....The only men I know who have escaped, all began reading Robert Heinlein at age ten.

5

I do suspect that privacy was a passing fad.

4

I'd visit the near future, close enough that someone might want to talk to Larry Niven and can figure out the language; distant enough to get me decent medical techniques and a ticket to the Moon.

4

The Gods do not protect fools. Fools are protected by more capable fools.

4

About Larry Niven

Quotes 79 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

As for AIDS, it's a plague. We are human, we get plagues. They come along every so often, kill off two thirds of the population; in the next generation it's a quarter; after that it's a childhood disease.

4

Boredom is my worst enemy. It's killed a lot of my friends, but it won't get me. When I get bored, I go risk my life somewhere.

3

Everything starts as somebody's day dream.

3

Love was a delicious blend of warm and cold.

There was comfort in making love. It solved no problems: but one could run away from problems.

3

That's the thing about people who think they hate computers.

What they really hate is lousy programmers.

3

Once every hundred years, the Los Angeles smog rolls away for a single night, leaving the air as clean as interstellar space. That way the gods can see if Los Angeles is still there. If it is, they roll the smog back so they won't have to look at it.

3

Mother Nature doesn't care if you're having fun.

3

I have a kind of psychic invisibility.

As long as I can stay scared, I can keep people from seeing me. That's what we have to count on.

3

The Product of Freedom and Security is a constant (F X S = k).

Giving up freedom for security is beginning to look naive.

3

The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program.

3

Bruce Sterling is one terrific writer and he's relatively new, but I don't know how long he's been doing it; he probably doesn't need the publicity anymore!

3

Never fire a laser at a mirror.

2

The best advice I was ever given was on my twenty-first birthday when my father said, Son, here's a million dollars. Don't lose it.

2

Anything beats an expensive stack of paper.

2

There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is 'idiot'.

2

I am trying to prevent a bloodbath. Is that clear enough for you? I'm trying to prevent a civil war that could kill half the people in this world.

1

In challenging a kzin, a simple scream of rage is sufficient. You scream and you leap.

1

If one must explain a magic trick, one should do so after the show is over.

1

Hopeless causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

The fight for the taxpayer is the most hopeless of them all.

0

Sometimes there's no point in giving up.

0

In a collaboration, each author will do 75% of the work.

0

But... watching Steven Barnes taught me to treat my life like an art form.

0

Psi and/or magical powers, if real, are nearly useless.

0

I've spent a lot of my life among people brighter than myself.

0

We should not have assumed that a political space station could be built.

0

I never got good at predicting what millions of people will suddenly decide is rational.

0

I do not believe they've run out of surprises.

0

Intelligence is just a tool to be used toward a goal, and goals are not always chosen intelligently.

0

We need to take command of the solar system to gain that wealth, and to escape the sea of paper our government is becoming, and for some decent chance of stopping a Dinosaur Killer asteroid.

0

Building one space station for everyone was and is insane: we should have built a dozen.

0

I love superconductors.

0

I'd repair our education system or replace it with something that works.

0

We learn only to ask more questions.

0

The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program.

And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!

0

I don't have a strong interest in history.

0

The brightest minds in our field have been trying to find a definition of science fiction for these past seventy years. The short answer is, science fiction stories are given as possible, not necessarily here and now, but somewhere, sometime.

0

Never tell a computer to forget it.

0
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