Books

The Greatest Wisdom From Sci-fi Novels

In a truly great science fiction novel, you'll find the creation of an often fantastical land or situation effortlessly and cleverly grounded with enough humanity and realism for you to genuinely invest your time and emotions.

We've scoured some of our favourite examples of the genre and picked out the 25 greatest pieces of wisdom from science fiction novels, whether you're living on Mars or in Minneapolis.

Let us know if we've missed off your favourite at the bottom.

Check out the 50 coolest sci-fi book covers here

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“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.”

Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451

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“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.”

Frank Herbert - Dune

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“Wanting more is just a recipe for heartache.”

Stephen King - Dreamcatcher

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“Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.”

HG Wells - The Time Machine

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“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

George Orwell - 1984

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“Everything in life is just for a while.”

Philip K Dick - A Scanner Darkly

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“When there’s only God to blame, we forgive him. When it’s our fellow man, we destroy him.”

Hugh Howey - Shift

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“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World

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“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game

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“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

Robert A. Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land

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“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

Isaac Asimov - Foundation

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“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, is the reverse.”

Gregory Benford - The Martian Race

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“When the past is always with you, it may as well be present; and if it is present, it will be future as well.”

William Gibson - Neuromancer

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“Freedom, like everything else, is relative.”

Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

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“Only people who are afraid of the water want to understand it. Other people jump in and get wet.”

Michael Crichton - Sphere

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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 - The Day of the Triffids

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“That's what was wrong with drinking too much. You became immune to drunken delights. There was no solace in liquor. Before you got happy, you collapsed.”

Richard Matheson - I Am Legend

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“We can experience nothing but the present moment, live in no other second of time, and to understand this is as close as we can get to eternal life.”

P.D. James - The Children of Men

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“It's hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness.”

Carl Sagan - Contact

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“You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn't mean you're defective - it just means you're human.”

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

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“The only important elements in any society are the artistic and the criminal, because they alone, by questioning the society’s values, can force it to change.”

Samuel R. Delany - Empire Star

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“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

Ursula K. Le Guin - The Lathe of Heaven

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“Nature's creative power is far beyond man's instinct of destruction.”

Jules Verne - Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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“We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos.”

Stanisław Lem - Solaris

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“Excessive interest in pathological behavior was itself pathological”

Arthur C. Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey

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