Richard Powers

Richard
Powers
1957

American Novelist and Computer Professional, Winner of National Book Award for Fiction with "The Echo Maker"

Author Quotes

We build our technologies as a way of addressing all our anxieties and desires. They are our passions congealed into these prosthetic extensions of ourselves. And they do it in a way that reflects what we dream ourselves capable of doing.

We don't consider the roles that we're taking in making the world the way it is.

We will live with racism forever. But senses of self, senses of belonging, senses of us and of others? Those are up for grabs.

What he had done, how he had chosen to spend his energies, really was science. A way of looking, reverencing. And the purpose of all science, like living, which amounts ot the same thing, was not the accumulations of Gnostic power, fixing of formulas for the names of God, stockpiling brutal efficiency, accomplishing the sadistic myth of progress. the purpose of science was to revive and cultivate a perpetual state of wonder. For nothing deserved wonder so much as our capacity to feel it.

What I really like to learn how to do is to build sentences that are equal to mental states.

What we can do should never by itself determine what we choose to do, yet this is the way technology tends to work.

The thing that makes reading and writing suspect in the eyes of the market economy is that it's not corrupted.

This idea that a book can either be about character and feeling, or about politics and idea, is just a false binary. Ideas are an expression of the feelings and the intense emotions we hold about the world.

Type a few lines of code, you create an organism.

Until I was 42, I could fit everything that I owned into two suitcases.

The Midwest is such a tabula rasa.

The oldest principle of composition: repeat everything.

The prose can be brutally beautiful. But the semester starts, you fall in love, get deflowered, watch Kennedy die and the Beatles invade, get high to listen to Coltrane, and discover Heller, Ellison, Ferlighetti, and Bellow -- writing that flows across the page in huge bright swaths that you didn't know English could permit.

The thing about music was that you never knew the shape of anyone?s desire.

Only white men have the luxury of ignoring race.

Out of grad school, I worked as a tech writer for a while before going into computer coding for a living.

Reading is the last act of secular prayer.

Reading may be the last secretive behavior that is neither pathological or prosecutable. It is certainly the last refuge from the real-time epidemic. For the stream of a narrative overflows the banks of the real. Story strips its reader, holding her in a place time can't reach. A book's power lies in its ability to erase us, to expand or contract without limit, to circle inside itself without beginning or end, to defy our imaginary timetables and lay us bare to a more basic ticking. The pages we read are a nowhen, unfolding far outside the public arena. As long as we remain in them, now reveals itself to be the baldest of inventions.

Reckless archaism. Arpeggiating under the influence. Presto in an andante zone.

Speech baffled my machine. Helen made all well-formed sentences. But they were hollow and stuffed--linguistic training bras. She sorted nouns from verbs, but, disembodied, she did not know the difference between thing and process, except as they functioned in clauses. Her predications were all shotgun weddings. Her ideas were as decorative as half-timber beams that bore no building load. She balked at metaphor. I felt the annoyance of her weighted vectors as they readjusted themselves, trying to accommodate my latest caprice. You're hungry enough to eat a horse. A word from a friend ties your stomach in knots. Embarrassment shrinks you, amazement strikes you dead. Wasn't the miracle enough? Why do humans need to say everything in speech's stockhouse except what they mean?

The desire to live in our imagination is driven by this suspicion that we're disembodied sensibilities cobbled into our bodies. That idea has infused most of human thought since the very beginning.

The 'information novel' shouldn't be a curiosity. It should be absolutely mainstream.

The job of taste was to thin the insane torrent of human creativity down to manageable levels. But the job of appetite was never to be happy with taste.

My goal for technology has always been to reach a point where the technological mediation becomes invisible.

Novel-writing is the only place where someone who would have liked to do anything can still do that vicariously.

Author Picture
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Powers
Birth Date
1957
Bio

American Novelist and Computer Professional, Winner of National Book Award for Fiction with "The Echo Maker"