If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by 'free will. ' I've visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.
We are confronted with the possibility of a war of such destruction that the whole existence of our nation and of the whole world is at stake. And yet, people know it - people read it in the newspapers, people read that at the first attack, a hundred million Americans might be killed. And yet, they talk about it as if they were talking about something being wrong with the carburetor of their car, perhaps.
Of the four billion life forms which have existed on this planet, three billion, nine hundred and sixty million are now extinct. We don't know why. Some by wanton extinction, some through natural catastrophe, some destroyed by meteorites and asteroids. In the light of these mass extinctions it really does seem unreasonable to suppose that Homo sapiens should be exempt. Our species will have been one of the shortest-lived of all, a mere blink, you may say, in the eye of time.
Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which man will never be able to cope. . . . The example of the bird does not prove that man can fly. Imagine the proud possessor of the aeroplane darting through the air at a speed of several hundred feet per second. It is the speed alone that sustains him. How is he ever going to stop?