This was a fun sci-fi book – very heavy on the technical details of space-travel, genetic modification, and human behavior.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • It is only a certain type of mind that scorns what is known by all and treats secrets as jewels.

  • But I have to warn you that this is the word–‘politics’–that nerds use whenever they feel impatient about the human realities of an organization.

  • She is driven to seek power. She finds some way to do that and then backfills a rationalization for it afterward.

  • And yet people went on thinking this way, kind of in the way that someone who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness will go on getting up and going to work every morning, not so much out of habit as because the knowledge of impending doom makes them wish to assert an identity.

  • It struck Dinah as odd that they were talking about such an event so matter-of-factly. But, there was no other way to address it. Emotions were not large enough to encompass such a thing.

  • “We will take a distributed architecture,” J.B.F. said, with perhaps too careful enunciation, as if she had learned the phrase ten minutes ago.

  • It boiled down to Amistics. In the decades before Zero, the Old Earthers had focused their intelligence on the small and the soft, not the big and the hard, and built a civilization that was puny and crumbling where physical infrastructure was concerned, but astonishingly sophisticated when it came to networked communications and software.

  • If Izzy got hit by a rock of any size, it was all over. In that sense there really was no point in talking about it.

  • Izzy was full of people who were skewed toward the Asperger’s end of the social spectrum, and there was no better way to get them to start talking than to ask them a technical question.

  • Any efforts made by modern consumer-goods manufacturers to produce the kinds of devices and apps that had disordered the brain of Tav were met with the same instinctive pushback as Victorian clergy might have directed against the inventor of a masturbation machine.

  • But he seemed to have learned a sort of posture and gait that made him look too busy to brook interruption.

  • I gave my assent to the idea because I saw it as an opportunity to carry out a dry run for the procedures we would be using later, when we got started for real. I see now, however, that it is the main event.

  • There was surprisingly little thinking about the Agent.

  • People who claim they are motivated by the Purpose end up behaving differently –and generally better– than peole who serve other masters.