Quotations by Nicoll, James


We discovered at one point that the brick wall of the pillar would hold up a sock pretty well. This led to sorting socks by putting them on the wall, which in turn led to mosaics built entirely of socks. Mission drift is a hazard in all pursuits, including doing the laundry.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Another question about expectations,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (22 May 2005)
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Added on 15-Feb-16 | Last updated 15-Feb-16
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A common issue with SF settings is that causally disconnected civilizations nevertheless are close enough in technological development that conflict is possible, rather than it being a matter of laser cannons against a thin film of single celled organisms.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Because My Tears are Delicious to You 5,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (30 Jun 2014)
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Added on 28-Mar-16 | Last updated 28-Mar-16
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It demonstrated that old adage: never bring a gun to a fight where the other guy has a time-machine and tomorrow’s newspapers.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“OTT: If ye break faith with us who die,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (27 Apr 2006)
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Added on 14-Mar-16 | Last updated 14-Mar-16
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That’s not a nuts thing, that’s a “humans hate to admit error even as they stand there, black and smoldering, with the stub of a cigarette in one hand, in the middle of a wide crater containing them and the remains of a sign that once read ‘DANGER: VOLATILE EXPLOSIVES'” thing. It’s pretty universal.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Proposal for a new FAQ or two,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (10 Jun 2005)
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Added on 29-Feb-16 | Last updated 29-Feb-16
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Look, I tried the cat experiment. On the third trial, the cat was dead. On each of the subsequent 413 trials, it remained dead. Am I doing something wrong?

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“SCHRODINGER’S CAT??” sci.physics, Usenet (11 Mar 1992)
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Added on 1-Feb-16 | Last updated 1-Feb-16
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Romeo and Juliet died. I always liked that in a teen romance story.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Sex AND violence!?” rec.arts.sf.written (26 Feb 1996)
Added on 25-Jan-16 | Last updated 25-Jan-16
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Nothin’g sa’ys q’uality fantas’y l’ike misuse’d apos’tro’phes.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“SFBC 1999 June,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (11 Feb 2004)
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Review of James Clemens's Wit'ch Storm.
Added on 8-Feb-16 | Last updated 8-Feb-16
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The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“The King’s English,” rec.arts.sf-lovers (15 May 1990)
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Nicoll later corrected the final verb to "rifle."
Added on 13-Jan-16 | Last updated 13-Jan-16
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This I (still) believe:
Fire is not necessarily your friend. Neither are dogs. Things with lit fuses should not be held onto. Beware the savage croquet ball. If it is -30 out, put on a coat before you leave the house. Just because the snow keeps you from seeing other objects the objects do not cease to exist. Clotheslines are the enemy of the bicyclist. If you don’t remember how you got on the ground or where the blood came from, don’t get up right away. Gym teachers think it’s funny to commit assault with a baseball so don’t day-dream during PE even if they have you so far in the outfield there are DEW line posts on either side of you. All guns are loaded. So are many bows. Trebuchets are for outside use only.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
Facebook (11 Jul 2014)
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Added on 4-Apr-16 | Last updated 4-Apr-16
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The sharp side of the knife goes away from you. Pure reason does not trump brute force but surprisingly few people know what hot peppers look like when the teacher asks if you have enough to share with everyone. Never take the lid of a pressure cooker “to see if it’s done yet”. Even if you are careful with the picric acid that won’t matter if you are careless with other items next to it. Move away from mysterious burglar alarms. Do not append “you moron” to exposition directed at people who have just broken into your building. “We need to talk” is overwhelmingly unlikely to precede good news. A rough brick wall may be used to sort socks or as a backdrop for sock-art (The Neglected Art). A silent cat is Up to Something. Lungs are unsuited for many possible atmospheres, including that of London, and anything with a high content of industrial cleaners. Youth will not save you from Newton’s Laws. Or Darwin’s.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
Facebook (11 Jul 2014)
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Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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I don’t mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
LiveJournal post (17 Aug 2005)
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Added on 22-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-16
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“Gun-wielding recluse gunned down by local police” isn’t the epitaph I want. I am hoping for “Witnesses reported the sound up to two hundred kilometers away” or “Last body part finally located”.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
Usenet (2005)
Added on 7-Mar-16 | Last updated 7-Mar-16
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