"I have some time left before Allah takes me, and I have to fill that time. And I have my pride, depite all. And people are watching me, of course. I was a prominent man, and people enjoyed watching my fall, of course they did, and they watch still! So what kind of story am I going to give them next? Because that's what we are to other people, boy, we are their gossip. That's all civilization is, a giant mill grinding out gossip. And so I could be the story of the man who rode high and fell hard, and had his spirit broken and crawled off into a hole like a dog, to die as soon as he could manage it. Or I could be the story of the man who rode high, fell hard, and got up defiant, and walked away in a new direction. Someone who never looked back, someone who never gave the mob any satisfaction. And that's the story I'm going to make them all eat. They can fuck themselves if they want any other kind of a story out of me."
--Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt