“But the real world is contingent. The real world is weird. The real world is full of stuff that you couldn't get away with if you stuck it in a slapstick comedy. […] Every time I think I've gotten a handle on how weird the real world is, it throws another curveball at me. So there's no way to keep up with the inherent strangeness of the universe without pulling on a rubber nose and the big old floppy shoes and making my fictional universes almost half as weird as the stuff I read in the newspapers every day.” – Charles Stross