SFContario Party Game: Fannish Fortune Cookies

At the SFContario “All Worldcons All the Time Bheer Tasting,” Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden and I invented the game of “Fannish fortune cookies.” You know how fortune cookies have a cryptic little phrase of advice, applicable to anyone in any circumstance? Well, how about applicable quotes from science fiction, like “You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom” (Samuel R. Delany, The Fall of the Towers) or “Christ, what an imagination I’ve got!” (John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar.)

They have to be short—you can’t fit that much onto a fortune cookie. And the funniest ones aren’t just catchphrases but things which it’s possible to interpret as gnomic ambivalent advice if you didn’t know the context and you just happened to find one in a fortune cookie.

At the event Teresa put up a sheet for people to add their own, and I thought this might be a fun game to continue here.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • “Can you feel anything when I do this?” (Robert Sheckley)
  • “Hexapodia is the key insight.” (Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep)
  • “Oft evil shall evil mar.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)
  • “Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)
  • “…to wound the autumnal city.” (Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren)
  • “Space is wide and good friends are too few.” (C.J. Cherryh)
  • “Brightly woven!” (Guy Gavriel Kay, Fionavar Tapestry)
  • “The enemy’s gate is down.” (Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game)
  • “I’m sure they’ll listen to reason.” (Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash)
  • “If all men were brothers, would you let one marry your sister?” (Theodore Sturgeon)
  • “The one thing you can’t give for your heart’s desire is your heart.” (Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory)
  • “We’ll make it to the ships.” (Ken MacLeod, The Stone Canal)

Add your own in the comments. (Or make your own with this handy Fortune Cookie Generator.)


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and eight novels, most recently Lifelode. She has a ninth novel coming out in January, Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

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