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He, I know... thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilisation only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end... But to me the future is still black and blank - is a vast ignorance...... And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers - shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle - to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.
[-H.G. Wells, 'The Time Machine'.]

...she was placed under the Bell. Her face became very white, and since her eyes are dark and large, it was very pretty....She looked at me, gripping hard the arms of her chair - looked until her eyes closed altogether......still she did not say a word. Others...were more honest: many...speak after the very first time [under the Bell, an instrument of torture.] Tomorrow they will all ascend the stairs to the Benefactor's Machine [i.e, to execution.]
...on the Fortieth cross-town avenue, we have succeeded in erecting a temporary barrier of high-voltage waves. ...I am certain that we shall conquer. Because Reason must previal.
[-Yevgeny Zamyatin, 'We', c. 1921. Quote from English translation (C) 1972 by Mirra Ginsburg.]

[The 'starship twins' meet after many years and light-years:]
   "...I knew intellectually that you would not have changed with the years. But to see it, to realise it, is quite another thing, eh? 'The Picture of Dorian Gray.'"
His voice was old.
..."Tell me just one thing. Was it fun?"
I thought about it......"Yes, it was fun, lots of fun."
He sighed. "That's good...I quit regretting years ago. But if it hadn't been fun, it would have been such a terrible waste."
......I trust I'll be able to adjust to it. . . . I've adjusted to stranger things.

[-Robert A. Heinlein, 'Time For The Stars'.]

When Thomas denied his godhead he was, as all now acknowledge, denying it only as regards his earthly manifestation. All this was carefully explained five hundred years after his death......
...a strange note upon its last page...said:
"...It shall be my mission, if possible, to lead the world back to that ancient unfaith which its liberator tried to spread."
These are ominous words, and their outcome is as yet uncertain.
[-Zahatopolk, from 'Nightmares of Eminent Persons', by Lord Bertrand Arthur William Russell.]

"You must learn how it is ... We see the truth you cannot see . . . That there is nothing in man but love and faith, courage and kindness, generosity and sacrifice. All else is only the barrier of your blindness."
. . . There has been joy. There will be joy again.
[-Alfred Bester, 'The Demolished Man']

Great Endings
from Science Fiction