Charles Stross's latest "Laundry series" novel, The Rhesus Chart, uses the phrase "you-gotta-believe-me" to refer to mind control powers. The first time I came across this was in Vinge's Rainbow's End, where he claimed it originated in a turn of the century novel, but didn't say which one. Does anyone know if this was an in-joke on Vinge's part, or if there was another novel that used this euphemism that both Stross and Vinge were inspired by?

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    Does he say it originated from a turn-of-the-century novel? Googling, all I find is this quote from Rainbow's End: "That was a bit of science-fiction jargon from the turn of the century: You-Gotta-Believe-Me. That is, mind control." The way it's phrased, he may just mean that in the context of his story, the popular phrase "you gotta believe me" was turned into a euphemism for mind control around the turn of the century, i.e. not too far into the 2000s.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 13:24
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    Interesting. I took "turn of the century" to mean around 1900. (Since the book was written before 2000.) But the book is set after 2000, so it may mean around 2000. Maybe Rainbows End (note: no apostrophe) is the book that popularized the phrase...
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 15:51
  • I assumed this was a recursive joke - that the "turn-of-the-century" SF was itself some alternate reality Vinge novel, a counterpart to Rainbows End. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:35


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