Famous Quotes & Sayings

John Wyndham Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 94 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by John Wyndham.

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John Wyndham Quotes 550519

Personal honesty takes time to assert itself - if it is ever allowed to. — John Wyndham

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The clock is the most scared thing in a hospital — John Wyndham

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The dove is not a coward to fear the hawk; it is simply wise. — John Wyndham

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It seemed to me an odd view to take - rather as if one should protest that one didn't LIKE the idea of dying or being born. I preferred the notion of finding out first how it would be, and then doing what one could about the parts of it one disliked most. — John Wyndham

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It was all conveyed by the nicest, almost indetectably refined blend of sympathy and bitchiness ... — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 705988

I suppose a book is still a book, even if no one but the author and his wife reads it," she said. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 2232361

The Sunday Tidings, which had for some years been pursing a policy of intellectual sensationalism, had never found it easy to maintain its supply of material. The stuff of mere emotional sensationalism, as used by its cheaper and less dignified contemporaries, lay thickly all around, easily malleable into shapes attractive to the constant human passions. Intellectual sensationalism, however, was a much more tricky business. In addition to avoiding the suggestion of sensationalism for sensationalism's sake, it required knowledge, research, careful timing, and, if possible, some literary ability. Inevitably, therefore, its policy was subject to lamentable gaps during which it could find nothing topical on its chosen level to disclose. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1653314

There must, I think, be a great many people who go around just longing to be baffled ... — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1949004

Among the other papers I bought at London Airport was the current number of The Beholder. Thought it is, I am aware, not without its merits and even well thought of in some circles, it leaves me with an abiding sense that it is more given to expressing its first prejudices than its second thoughts. Perhaps if it were to go to press a day later ... — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1598468

But, as I understand it, your God is a universal God; He is God on all suns and all planets. Surely, then, He must have universal form? Would it not be a staggering vanity to imagine that He can manifest Himself only in the form that is appropriate to this particular, not very important planet? — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 823005

The only sounds in the cave were the hopeless, abandoned sobbing, and plop-plop-plop of the drips.
Petra looked at us, then at the figure on the bed, then at us again, expectantly. When neither of us moved she appeared to decide that the initiative lay with her. She crossed to the bedside and knelt down concernedly beside it. Tentatively she put a hand on the dark hair.
'Don't,' she said. 'Please don't.'
There was a startled catch in the sobbing. A pause, then a brown arm reached out round Petra's shoulders. The sound became a little less desolate ... it no longer tore at one's heart: but it left it
bruised and aching.. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1792004

We all have our youthful follies, embarassing to recall
but people somehow find it hard to dismiss as a youthful folly anything that has happened to be a financial success. — John Wyndham

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Appreciating a private room. In a public ward the messy proceeding would have taken place a whole unnecessary hour — John Wyndham

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The laws evolved by one particular species, for the convenience of that species, are, by their nature, concerned only with the capacities of that species - against a species with different capacities they simply become inapplicable. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 2174490

The Old People brought down Tribulation, and were broken into fragments by it. Your father and his kind are a part of those fragments. They have become history without being aware of it. They are determined still that there is a final form to defend: soon they will attain the stability they strive for, in the only form it is granted - a place among the fossils. — John Wyndham

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I was hiding from them even while I moved among them. — John Wyndham

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They haven't God's word like they thought: God doesn't have any last word. If He did He'd be dead. But He isn't dead; and He changes and grows, like everything else that's alive — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 921223

You'd think she'd be reasonable," he muttered.
"Most people aren't, even though they'd protest that they are. They prefer to be coaxed or wheedled, or even driven. That way they never make a mistake: if there is one, it's always due to something or somebody else. This going headlong for things is a mechanistic view, and people in general aren't machines. They have minds of their own-mostly peasant minds, at their easiest when they are in the familiar furrow. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1304318

They stamp on any change: they close the way and keep the type fixed because they've got the arrogance to think themselves perfect. As they reckon it, they. and only they, are in the true image; very well, then it follows that if the image is true, they themselves must be God: and, being God, they reckon themselves entitled to decree, "thus far, and no farther." That is their great sin: they try to strangle the life out of Life. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 96313

Marvelously clear-fretted in the unsmoked air, the Abbey rose, silver-grey. It stood detached by the serenity of age from the ephemeral growths around it. It was solid on a foundation of centuries, destined, perhaps, for centuries yet to preserve within it the monuments to those whose work was now all destroyed. I did not loiter there. In years to come I expect some will go o look at the old Abbey with romantic melancholy. But romance of that kind is an alloy of tragedy with retrospect. I was too close. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 131268

Darling, whose book is this to be?"
"Ostensibly yours, my sweet"
"I see
rather like my life since I met you?"
"Yes darling — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 160804

We've got to believe that God is sane, Davie boy. We'd be lost indeed if we didn't do that. — John Wyndham

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Anybody who has had a great treasure has always led a precarious existence. — John Wyndham

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It is because nature is ruthless, hideous, and cruel beyond belief that it was necessary to invent civilisation. — John Wyndham

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All my life I have been surrounded by things I'd rather not know too much about, so I have come to feel that truth made naked without purpose is really a wanton. — John Wyndham

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Knowledge is simply a kind of fuel; it needs the motor of understanding to convert it into power. — John Wyndham

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In temperate countries, where man had succeeded in putting most forms of nature save his own under a reasonable degree of restraint, the status of the triffid was thus made quite clear. But in the tropics, particularly in the dense forest areas, they quickly became a scourge. — John Wyndham

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Some quotations," said Zellaby, "are greatly improved by lack of context. — John Wyndham

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Something entirely unexpected happened to Bert. Yesterday he had seen her as a child grown up, today it was different. There was a pain in his chest and a hammering, the skin on his temples felt oddly tight, his hand trembled so that he almost dropped the bar he was holding. He leaned back against the wheel, staring at her but unable to speak. A long time seemed to pass before he could say anything, and the words sounded clumsy in his own ears. What — John Wyndham

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... after all, what is a planet but an island in space? — John Wyndham

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My love's locked up in a frigidaire, And my heart's in a deep-freeze pack. She's gone with a guy, I'd not know where, But she wrote that she'd never come back. Now she don't care for me no more, I'm just a one-man frozen store, And it ain't nice To be on ice With my love locked up in a frigidaire, And my heart in a deep-freeze pack. While — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 363286

Sophie dear,' I said. 'Are you in love with him - with this spider-man?'
'Oh, don't call him that - please - we can't any of us help being what we are. His name's Gordon. He's kind to me, David. He's fond of me. You've got to have as little as I have to know how much that means. You've never known loneliness. You can't understand the awful emptiness that's waiting all round us here. I'd have given him babies gladly, if I could ... I - oh, why do they do that to us? Why didn't they kill me? It would have been kinder than this ... '
She sat without a sound. The tears squeezed out from under the closed lids and ran down her face. I took her hand between my own.
I remembered watching. The man with his arm linked in the woman's, the small figure on top of the pack-horse waving back to me as they disappeared into the trees. Myself desolate, a kiss still damp on my
cheek, a lock tied with a yellow ribbon in my hand. I looked at her now, and my heart ached. — John Wyndham

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It's humiliating to be dependent, anyway, but it's still a poorer pass to have no one to depend on. — John Wyndham

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Sham idealists: the quite large number of people who profess ideals as a form of premium for other-life insurance, and are content to lay up slavery and destitution for their descendants so long as they are enabled to produce personal copybooks of elevated views at the gate of heaven. — John Wyndham

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Until then I had always thought of loneliness as something negative - an absence of company, and, of course, something temporary ... That day I had learned that it was much more. It was something which could press and oppress, could distort the ordinary and play tricks with the mind. Something which lurked inimically all around, stretching the nerves and twanging them with alarms, never letting one forget that there was no one to help, no one to care. It showed one as an atom adrift in vastness, and it waited all the time its chance to frighten and frighten horribly - that was what loneliness was really trying to do; and that was what one must never let it do ... — John Wyndham

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Why was I condemned to live in a democracy where every fool's vote is equal to a sensible man's? — John Wyndham

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Find a nice, self sufficient hilltop, and fortify it. — John Wyndham

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Most people [ ... ] prefer to be coaxed or wheedled, or even driven. That way they never make a mistake: if there is one, it's always due to something or somebody else — John Wyndham

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And we danced, on the brink of an unknown future, to an echo from a vanished past. — John Wyndham

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As a race, we have allowed ourselves to become accustomed to the idea that the proper way to die is in bed, at a ripe age. It is a delusion. The normal end for all creatures comes suddenly. — John Wyndham

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Children have a different convention of the fearful until they have been taught the proper things to be shocked at. — John Wyndham

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I don't feel quite so lightly about it," I admitted. "But I'm not sure that that's virtue - it's more likely merely habit. And an obstinate refusal to face facts isn't going to bring anything back, or help us at all. I think we'll have to try to see ourselves not as the robbers of all this but more as - well, the unwilling heirs to it." "Yes. I suppose it is - something like that," she agreed in a qualified way. She — John Wyndham

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In Oppley they're smart, and in Stouch they're smarmy, but Midwich folk are just plain barmy — John Wyndham

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In loyalty to their kind they cannot tolerate our rise; in loyalty to our kind, we cannot tolerate their obstruction.
They are the crown of creation, they are ambition fulfilled - they have
nowhere more to go. But life is change, that is how it differs from the rocks, change is its very nature — John Wyndham

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I don't think it had ever occurred to me that man's supremacy is not primarily due to his brain, as most of the books would have one think. It is due to the brain's capacity to make use of the information conveyed to it by a narrow band of visible light rays. His civilization, all that he had achieved or might achieve, hung upon his ability to perceive that range of vibrations from red to violet. Without that, he was lost. — John Wyndham

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You know, one of the most shocking things about it is to realize how easily we have lost a world that seemed so safe and certain."

She was quite right. It was that simplicity that seemed somehow to be the nucleus of the shock. From very familiarity one forgets all the forces which keep the balance, and thinks of security as normal. It is not. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 779849

I'm not romancing. I'm talking about the inevitable time when, unless we do something to stop it, men will be hunting men through the ruins, for food. We're letting it drift towards that, with an evil irresponsibility, because with our ordinary short lives we shan't be here to see it. Does our generation care about the misery it is bequeathing? Not it. "That's their worry," we say. "Damn our children's children; we're all right. — John Wyndham

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every day it was tomorrow that I'd be able to do it, and each day it became more difficult. — John Wyndham

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You can't kill an idea the way they try to. You can keep it down awhile, but sooner or later it'll come out. Now what you've got to understand is that the wheel's not evil. Never mind what the scared men all tell you. no discovery is good or evil until men make it that way. -The Wheel, John Wtndham — John Wyndham

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There is an inability to sustain the tragic mood, a phoenix quality of the mind. It may be helpful or harmful, it is just a part of the will to survive - yet, also, it has made it possible for us to engage in one weakening war after another. But it is a necessary part of our mechanism that we should be able to cry only for a time over even an ocean of spilt milk - the spectacular must soon become the commonplace if life is to be supportable. — John Wyndham

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Failure.
That is a word so little to our taste that many think it a virtue to claim that they never admit it. But blind stupidity is not one of the virtues; it is a weakness ... — John Wyndham

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To deprive a gregarious creature of companionship is to maim it, to outrage its nature. The prisoner and the cenobite are aware that the herd exists beyond their exile; they are an aspect of it. But when the herd no longer exists, there is, for the herd creature, no longer entity, a part of no whole; a freak without a place. If he cannot hold on to his reason, then he is lost indeed; most utterly, most fearfully lost, so that he becomes no more than the twitch in the limb of a corpse. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1057138

The thinking has to be done largely by people who are not directly productive - by people who appear to be living almost entirely on the work of others, but are, in fact, a long-term investment. Learning grew up in the cities, and in great institutions - it was the labor of the countryside that supported them. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1161343

Your work is to survive. Neither his kind, nor his kind of thinking will survive long. They are the crown of creation, they are ambition fulfilled - they have nowhere more to go. But life is change, that is how it differs from the rocks, change is its very nature. Who, then, were the recent lords of creation, that they should expect to remain unchanged? — John Wyndham

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"Your Tim is so unmistakably a healthy extravert type. Mens stulta in corpore sano, and all that."
"Exactly," she agreed. — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1175044

And again there are no words.
Words exist that can, used by a poet, achieve a dim monochrome of the body's love, but beyond that they fail clumsily.
My love flowed out to her, hers back to me. Mine stroked and soothed. Hers caressed. The distance - and the difference - between us dwindled and vanished. We could meet, mingle, and blend. Neither one of us existed any more; for a time there was a single being that was both. There was escape from the solitary cell; a brief symbiosis, sharing all the word ... — John Wyndham

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But he survived, that radio announcer. His ship and five others out of the flotilla of ten came through, a bit radioactive, but otherwise unharmed. And I understand that the first thing that happened to him when he reported back to his office after treatment
was a reprimand for the use of overcolloquial language which had given offense to a number of listeners by its neglect of the Third Commandment. — John Wyndham

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A sort of botanical glory-hole — John Wyndham

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I shall pray to God to send charity to this hideous world, and sympathy for the weak, and love for the unhappy and unfortunate. I shall ask Him if is indeed His will that a child should suffer and its soul be damned for a little blemish on the body ... And I shall pray Him, too, that the hearts of the self-righteous may be broken ... — John Wyndham

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We are not shut away into individual cages from which we can reach out only with inadequate words. — John Wyndham

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It's not my fault if I'm not any good at things like that." "I'll differ there," Coker told her. "It's not only your fault - it's a self-created fault. Moreover, it's an affectation to consider yourself too spiritual to understand anything mechanical. It is a petty and a very silly form of vanity. Everyone starts by knowing nothing about anything, but God gives him - and even her - brains to find out with. Failure to use them is not a virtue to be praised; — John Wyndham

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I'm a reliable witness, you're a reliable witness, practically all God's children are reliable witnesses in their own estimation
which makes it funny how such different ideas of the same affair get about. — John Wyndham

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Don't you sometimes wish that you had been born into the Age of Reason, instead of into the Age of the Ostensible Reason? — John Wyndham

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My protective coloration isn't intended to deceive you, my sweet. It is intended to deceive me. — John Wyndham

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When almost half a lifetime has been spent in one conception of order, reorientation is no five-minute business. — John Wyndham

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If you want to keep alive in the jungle, you must live as the jungle does. — John Wyndham

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There they sit, with everyone thinking no more of them than they might of a pretty odd lot of cabbages, yet half the time they're pattering and clattering away at one another. Why? What is it they patter about? That's what I want to know.' I — John Wyndham

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But it is an inescapable conclusion that life has to be dynamic and not static. Change is bound to come one way or another. — John Wyndham

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In my experience,' he told me, 'if you run away from a thing just because you don't like it you don't know what you find either. Now running to a thing, that's a different matter, but what would you want to run to? — John Wyndham

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When I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city - which was strange, because it began before I even knew what a city was. — John Wyndham

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There is no conception more fallacious than the sense of cosiness implied by "Mother Nature". Each species must strive to survive, and that it will do, by every means in its power, however foul - unless the instinct to survive is weakened by conflict with another instinct. — John Wyndham

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When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere. — John Wyndham

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The humans have a curious force they call ambition. It drives them, and, through them, it drives us. This force which keeps them active, we lack. Perhaps, in time, we machines will acquire it. — John Wyndham

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What do you think it is that makes a man"
I started on the Definition. He cut me of after five words.
"It is not!" he said. "A wax figure could have all that, and he'd still be a wax figure, wouldn't he?" ...
"Well, then, what makes a man a man is something inside him."
"A soul?" I suggested.
"No ... souls are just counters for churches to collect, all the same value, like nails. No, what makes man man is mind; it's not a thing, it's a quality, and minds aren't all the same value; they're better or worse, and the better they are, the more they mean. — John Wyndham

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Babies, in a world that already has far too many, remain desirable. — John Wyndham

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Why should I? I've done nothing to be ashamed of. I am not ashamed - I am only beaten — John Wyndham

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It must be, I thought, one of the race's most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that "it can't happen here"
that one's own time and place is beyond cataclysm. — John Wyndham

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Pretty nearly any stroke of fate can be made to look like a funny coincidence if you try hard enough and wait long enough. — John Wyndham

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You'd expect her to see reason,' he muttered.
I don't see why. Most of us don't - we see habit. She'll oppose any modification, reasonable or not, that conflicts with her previously trained feelings of what is right and polite - and be quite honestly convinced that she's showing steadfast strength of character ... — John Wyndham

John Wyndham Quotes 1707153

The definition of Man recited itself in my head ...
And God created man in His own image. And God decreed that man should have one body, one head, two arms and two legs: that each arm should be joined in two places and end in one hand: that each hand should have four fingers and one thumb: that each finger should bear a flat finger-nail ... Then God created woman, also, in the same image, but with these differences, according to her nature: her voice would be of higher pitch than man's: she should grow no beard: she should have two breasts ...
And any creature that shall seem to be human, but is not formed thus is not human. It is neither man, nor woman. It is a blasphemy against the true image of God, and hateful in the sight of God. — John Wyndham

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The essential quality of life is living' the essential quality of living is change; change is evolution; and we are part of it. — John Wyndham

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Knowing makes all the difference ... It's the difference between just trying to keep alive, and having something to live for — John Wyndham

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All the old problems, the stale ones, both personal and general, had been solved by one mighty slash. — John Wyndham

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We have both been given the same wish to survive, We are all, you see, toys of the life-force. It made you numerically stronger, but mentally undeveloped. It made us mentally strong but physically weak: now it has set us at one another, to see what will happen. A cruel sport perhaps, from both our points of view, but a very very old one. Cruelty is as old as life itself. There is some improvement: humour and compassion are the most important of human inventions; but they are not very firmly established yet, though promising well. But the life-force is a lot stronger than they are; and it won't be denied its blood-sports. — John Wyndham

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If you run away from a thing just because you don't like it, you don't like what you find either. — John Wyndham

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But not she. Her eternity is an article of her faith. Great wars and disasters can ebb and flow, races rise and fall, empires wither with suffering and death, but these are superficialities: she, woman, is perpetual, essential; she will go on for ever. — John Wyndham

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Moreover, I was beginning to experience something new - the fear of being alone. I had not been alone since I walked from the hospital along Piccadilly, and then there had been bewildering novelty in all I saw. Now,for the first time I began to feel the horror that real loneliness holds for a species that is by nature gregarious. I felt naked, exposed to all the fears that prowled ... — John Wyndham

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There was often a great deal of grown-up fuss that seemed disproportionate to causes. — John Wyndham

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You don't seriously suggest that thet're talking when they make that rattling noise. — John Wyndham

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Half the political intelligentsia who talk to a working audience don't get the value of their stuff across - not so much because they're over their audience's heads, as because half the chaps are listening to the voice and not to the words, so they knock a big discount off what they do hear because it's all a bit fancy, and not like ordinary, normal talk. — John Wyndham

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There were some cigarettes still in the case. I lit one, and started to get into the state of mind where, though everything was still undeniably queer, I could no longer understand why I had been quite so near panic. It — John Wyndham

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Nobody is going to be muddle-headed enough to confuse ignorance with innocence now - it's too important. Nor is ignorance going to be cute or funny anymore. It is going to be dangerous, very dangerous. — John Wyndham

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The more complex they made their world, the less capable they were of dealing with it. They had no means of consensus. They learnt to co-operate constructively in small units; but only destructively in large units. They aspired greedily, and then refused to face the responsibilities they had created. They created vast problems, and then buried their heads in the sands of idle faith. — John Wyndham

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So you're in love with her?' she went on.
A word again ... When the minds have learnt to mingle, when no thought is wholly one's own, and each has taken too much of the other ever to be entirely himself alone; when one has reached the beginning of seeing with a single eye, loving with a single heart, enjoying with a single joy; when there can be moments of identity and nothing is separate save bodies that long for one another ... When there is that, where is the word? There is only the inadequacy of the word that exists.
'We love one another,' I said. — John Wyndham