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118 votes
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Is there a story behind the misquote, "Luke, I am your father"?

Contextualization matters more than words In common speech, the quote is fairly vague, and likely only those who have seen the movie would understand the reference (at least, right away, to the ...
Mwr247's user avatar
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100 votes
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What is "DON'T PANIC" a reference to on the dashboard of Elon Musk's car?

It's from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It even has its own entry on the Wikipedia page for H2G2: In the series, Don't Panic is a phrase on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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90 votes
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Pratchett Quote about Research and Development

You're referring to the quote below from Small Gods between the Great God Om (presently in the form of a small turtle) and his acolyte Brother Brutha (presently in the form of a slightly befuddled ...
Valorum's user avatar
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77 votes
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Who said "One person, one vote. I just happened to be the person voting"?

I think you might be referring to this one: Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; ...
Ram's user avatar
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67 votes
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Was Douglas Adams specifically joking about British small talk?

At the time he wrote the original radio series and first novel, Adams had lived his entire life in England, and was writing for a British audience, so a lot of the cultural references are based on ...
IMSoP's user avatar
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65 votes
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What is the linguistic challenge Louise uses in the beginning of "Arrival"?

The question Louise Banks poses is as follows: DR. BANKS: Before you commit to him… ask him the Sanskrit word for “war” and its translation. It’s a way of challenging the other linguist’s ...
Adamant's user avatar
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65 votes
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In what context did Tolkien say "evil cannot create anything new"?

It doesn't appear to be anything that Tolkien ever said or wrote, but a paraphrase: "No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of ...
OrangeDog's user avatar
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58 votes
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What does this quote in Small Gods refer to?

It's a reference to the use of Logo (a programming language) to control robots referred to as "turtles".
Valorum's user avatar
  • 698k
52 votes

What is the linguistic challenge Louise uses in the beginning of "Arrival"?

(There is a TL;DR at the end for those who don't care about Sanskrit or grammar.) Adamant's answer is pretty excellent, but as a holder of a BA in Sanskrit & Linguistics, perhaps I can add ...
Au101's user avatar
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51 votes

Looking for quote about the absurdity of people driving cars

Robert Heinlein had a long rant about cars in The Rolling Stones: Despite their great sizes and tremendous power spaceships are surprisingly simple machines. Every technology goes through three ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
50 votes

What are all the times Gandalf was either late or early?

It's hard to catch Gandalf on this, because he'll just retort the second half of the line, that whenever he came actually was when he meant to come. So you'll have up look for places where Gandalf ...
ibid's user avatar
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48 votes
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Looking for a Discworld book a quote is from (and the full quote)

This is from Maskerade, in relation to Greebo the cat's transformation into a human. The allusion is that it's very hard to do something once (e.g. turn a cat into a man) but that once it had happened,...
Valorum's user avatar
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46 votes
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Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

I found it! It's in the third book of the Robots cycle, The Robots of Dawn (chapter 2: "Daneel"), and said by Daneel, as you correctly guess (emphasis mine): “Of a certainty, Partner Elijah....
Gallifreyan's user avatar
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44 votes
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Was Lupin's comment to Harry about fear affected by Franklin Roosevelt? If so, why did Rowling choose this?

The reason for the similarity may simply be that it is a commonplace thought, neither unique to nor original with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Yale Book of Quotations gives these examples: Michel ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 167k
44 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

There are many parallels between the two stories but the specific word "Hero", in the context you require, I believe only occurs in "An Unexpected Party", chapter one in The Hobbit:...
elemtilas's user avatar
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42 votes
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Faith cannot move mountains but can create someone who can (Discworld)

The quote is indeed from Reaper Man, but concerns belief rather than faith. The exact quote is: Belief is one of the most powerful organic forces in the multiverse. It may not be able to move ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
37 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

Towards the end of the Council of Elrond there's a dialog which seems like it fits your question. First, Elron says (my emphasis): ...'The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
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35 votes
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Which Harry Potter novel is the quote "Things are gonna get serious for you" from?

The quote is from an untitled 2008 short story sold at a charity auction: 'Things'll be seriously black for you in a minute, you cheeky little--' Quotes: Harry Potter: The Prequel (Harry Potter 0....
Gaultheria's user avatar
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35 votes
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Did Douglas Adams say "I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe."?

As DavidW says in the comments, the dialog in Fit the Sixth of the radio series is slightly different, and does include (very nearly) that quote. ARTHUR: That's it. Six by nine. Forty-two. I always ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
35 votes

Need source for the inverse of "Clarke's Third Law"

This was quoted in the Fall 1989 edition of the Keystone Folklore Archives. It also appears somewhat earlier in the 1984 edition of Keystone Folklore, identified as being on page 26 in "Volumes 2-...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 698k
34 votes
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Which Terry Pratchett book starts with "Zoom in"?

Chapter 12 of Wings starts out: Find a blue planet... Focus This is a planet. Most of it is covered with water, but it's still called Earth. Find a country... Focus ...blues and greens and browns ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 133k
32 votes
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Looking for a Discworld quote involving Rincewind running away and not looking behind

From Interesting Times: A less practised runner would have risked a glance behind, but Rincewind instinctively knew all about wind drag and the tendency for inconvenient rocks to position themselves ...
Henning Kockerbeck's user avatar
29 votes

Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

There is also this quote from Robots and Empire: "Are you pleased that you will be seeing Elijah Baley again?" "I am not certain, Madam Gladia, how best to describe my inner state. It ...
isanae's user avatar
  • 11k
29 votes

In what context did Garak (ST:DS9) speak of a lie between two truths?

I don't think it was Garak. The line comes from "Deep Throat" on The X-Files. "A lie, Mr Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths." (S1E7-EBE) ...
Emsley Wyatt's user avatar
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28 votes
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Quote from Discworld about Ankh-Morpork tolerance and greed

The closest I can find - specifically talking about diverse peoples - is a line from Reaper Man: Ankh-Morpork has always had a fine tradition of welcoming people of all races, colours and shapes, if ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 133k
27 votes
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Which sci-fi book is this quote from?

I think this is a scene not from "Ender's Game", but its sequel "Speaker for the Dead". In a thoughtless moment Ender turns off the connection to "Jane", the AI ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
27 votes
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Source of Heinlein quote, “I don’t see how an article of clothing can be indecent. A person, yes.”

It's a slight variation on a line from Job: A Comedy of Justice (Chapter 16): "What? Because those shorts, worn alone, are indecent!" "I don't see how an article of clothing can be ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 133k
27 votes

Is this Peter Pan quote attributable to J.M.Barrie?

This book about men in Disney movies says the line is a paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 1:9 which says (in the Good News Translation): What has happened before will happen again, What has been done before ...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
  • 57k
26 votes

Is there a conversation regarding heroes and common people in "The Lord of the Rings"?

Another possibility is the conversation between Sam and Frodo in the chapter The Stairs of Cirith Ungol: The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
26 votes

Who said, "The only way to model an infinitely complex system is with the system, itself"?

I believe this is from Asimov's Prelude to Foundation (1988) chapter 32; "The LPS - that is, 'the least possible simulation' - gains in complexity faster than the object being simulated does and ...
TheHammer's user avatar
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