Whenever I set out to create a setting (or brainstorm for one) I spend an evening or two to find quotes that describe it. I find that that words, wise and beautiful, spoken by true poets give me a sense of direction and purpose…
Here are some examples for the setting Contact Light documents (and yes, I really need to name it):
“Imperium et libertas.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Empire and Liberty”. The rallying cry of the Imperial Marines.
“An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.” – Charles de Montesquieu
This “empire founded by war” is the Republic.
“Prometheus is reaching out for the stars with an empty grin on his face.” – Arthur Koestler
Hm. This one we’ll get around to much, much later.
“We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” – Thomas Jefferson
This essentially describes the Paladins.
“A man with a club can lick a man with his fists. A man with a gun can lick half a dozen with clubs. And two ships with nuclear weapons can lick a whole planet without them.” – H. Beam Piper
“War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left”. – Anonymous
Warfare isn’t pretty where we’re going.
“The universe beckons.” – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
There’s a lot of stuff out there waiting to be found, seen, experienced. And where I come from we spell Exploration with a capital E – or all caps, if you prefer. I love exploration.
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
“Hang on, travelers.” – Joss Wheedon (Firefly)
Traveling from one star to another is sort of the core of an interstellar science fiction setting. Boldly going to strange new worlds just as much as visiting the resort planet Oceania.
I have more, but I think you get the idea. I personally feel that having such items in your scratchpad folders really help to get me in the right mind-set to work on the setting.