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SFs Wisest Words

62 samples of sage sci-fi sayings that you can use in your everyday life (possibly… if your life is a bit odd)

Forget about red skies at night, empty vessel/noise inverse ratios and birds in bushes – the true wisdom of ages can be found spoken by the seers, philosophers and visionaries of sci-fi and fantasy. So prepare yourselves for 62 new proverbs, aphorisms and maxims that should be introduced into every day life…

Thanks to everyone on the SFX forum and SFX Facebook page who suggested quotations


For The Journey:

“Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle”
Granny, The Company Of Wolves

“Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors”
Dart player, An American Werewolf In London

“A straight line may be the quickest route between two points but it is by no means the most interesting”
The Doctor, Doctor Who , “The Time Warrior”

“Always follow your nose”
Gandalf, The Lord Of The Rings



“Do what seems like a good idea at the time, and do it as hard as possible”
Nanny Ogg, Discworld

“If nothing we do matters then all that matters is what we do”
Angel, Angel , “Epiphany”

“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes”
The Doctor, Doctor Who , “Robot”

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men”
Willy Wonka, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

“Life finds a way”
Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

“The moment we stop fighting for each other, that’s the moment we lose our humanity”

“Where should we be if nobody tried to find out what lies beyond?”
Henry Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1932)

“The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it”
Buffy Summers, Buffy The Vampire Slayer , “The Gift”


Short and sweet:

“Expect the unexpected”

“Don’t panic!”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

“Be excellent to each other”
Bill and Ted, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

“Never give up! Never surrender!”
Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, Galaxy Quest

“With great power comes great responsibility”
Peter Parker, Spider-Man


Life And Death:

“If your head comes away from your neck, it's over!”
Ramirez, Highlander

“Life is like a movie. Only you can’t pick your genre” Billy, Scream

“How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life”
Kirk, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan


The Rules Of Engagement:

“Deterrence is the art of producing, in the mind of the enemy, the fear to attack!”
Dr Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb

“What to do when one army occupies a well-fortified fortress on superior ground and the other does not: Endeavour to be the one inside”
General Tacticus, Discworld

“Let the Wookiee win”
C-3PO, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

“It's not enough to survive. One has to be worthy of surviving”
Adama, Battlestar Galactica

“Never mess with anything that has more teeth than the entire Osmond family”
Rimmer, Red Dwarf

“Never get involved in a land war in Asia”
Vizzini, The Princess Bride

“Evil begets evil. Shooting it only makes it stronger”
Father Cornelius, The Fifth Element

“There’s no right way to hit a woman”
Kirk, Star Trek , “Charlie X”

“When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you can head off an enemy with a balanced attack”
The Sphynx, Mystery Men

No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style”
Vlad Taltos, Jhereg

“Revenge is a feast best served immediately”
D’Argo, Farscape


Specialist advice:

“Always count your steps... you never know when you might need to escape in a box”
The Doctor, Doctor Who , “Dreamland”

“Never rub another man's rhubarb”
The Joker, Batman

“Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!”
Rule One, Discworld, Thief of Time

“Don’t cross the streams”
Egon, Ghostbusters

“Never trust a Venusian shanghorn with your perigosto stick”
The Doctor, Doctor Who , “The Green Death”

“Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple”
Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

“Always know where your towel is”
Ford Prefect, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger”
Gildor Inglorion, The Lord Of The Rings


Proverbs of dubious merit:

“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women”
Conan The Barbarian

“Command and compassion is a fool’s mixture”
Mitchell, Star Trek , “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

“Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try”
Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (surely trying is a good thing?)

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”
Doc Brown, Back To The Future (no you can’t, unless you’re character in Inception )

“When a woman, whether she’s a wife, a lover, or a slave you’ve purchased to be a wife or lover, leaves you repeatedly... take the hint”
Rygel, Farscape

“Anything can happen in the next half hour”
Stingray (well, d’uh! Of course it could. We could make a cup of tea and watch Neighbours . Or sculpt an Easter Island statue out of a potato. Or watch the highlights of Charmed … then spend the next 29 minutes and 47 seconds ironing our socks… you get the idea)


For cynics:

“Never believe anything until it's been officially denied”
Mulder, The X-Files

“Life is pain. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something”
Man In Black, The Princess Bride

“There’s always a bigger fish”
Qui-Gon Jin, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

“The best way to hide a lie is within a bigger lie”
Mulder, The X-Files

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”
Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid”
Han Solo, Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope

“Much better to be the right hand of the devil than to be in his path”
Beni, The Mummy

“Some people will never know beyond what they can see with their own eye”
Nightcrawler, X-Men 2

“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”
Sirius Black, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

“Never send a human to do a machine’s job”
Agent Smith, The Matrix

Pretentious, moi?

“Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation”
The Architect, The Matrix Reloaded

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain”
Bene Gesserit litanty, Dune

“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills”
Just about everybody in The Wheel Of Time

“Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender”
G'Kar, Babylon 5

“There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path”
Morpheus, The Matrix

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end”
Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”
Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four