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Quellcrist Falconer

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Quellcrist Falconer

Quellcrist Falconer (nickname: Quell) is the nom de guerre used by Nadia Makita, a fictional political activist/revolutionary often referred to in the Takeshi Kovacs series of novels by Richard K. Morgan. She is the founder of the fictional religion Quellism, whose followers are termed Quellists.

Life and Works

Quellcrist was born on Harlan's World, a planet settled via digitally stored personalities and clone banks sent through space in colony ships. After the initial Harlan family elite was thus established, the colony was augmented by individuals whose personalities were sent, purely digitally, by needlecast.

Quellcrist wrote several books, most notably Poems and Other Prevarications and Things I Should Have Learned by Now. Her views ignited a revolutionary action against the ruling class of the planet, which is referred to historically as the "Un-Settlement". She believed that all war is the result of unused male drive and the over-accumulation of testosterone in men, yet her own actions and views led to a great deal of violent action.

Quellcrist was visionary regarding the importance of "data-stacks" and the "resleeving" of consciousness with respect to revolutionary efforts. She proclaimed that the rebellion would prevail so long as its followers were patient - 20 years or 200 years, the difference being insignificant in the face of immortality.

She disappeared, and was subsequently presumed dead, following an attempt to escape from an overwhelming "Protectorate" force. She was last seen fleeing in a small helicopter with her pilot, and was assumed shot down by the 'orbitals' (orbital gun platforms, a web of active Martian relics surrounding Harlan's World.) These orbitals routinely disintegrate anything flying higher than 400 meters. The helicopter's disappearance and the lack of any wreckage indicated this was the fate that befell it.

In the first two books of the series Falconer is only referred to tangentially, as a historical figure, however in Woken Furies it is revealed that she was indeed shot down by the orbitals, but they did not kill her. The orbitals are discovered to be "digitizers" rather than contemporary weapons of destruction, and Quellcrist was stored in the orbitals' memory for over three hundred years. She was eventually downloaded into Sylvie Oshima, a woman whose profession in decommissioning AI hunters led to a large amount of computerized hardware linked to her consciousness. This caused a great deal of instability in the political structures of the planet, whose ruling class had re-established itself by that point.


Quellism has elements of socialism, anarchism, and militant feminism. In an Random House interview, Morgan states that Quellism is an "engaged hi-tech social democracy". He explains that Quellism is an expression of his own, "exasperation with both the inherent self-serving corruption of right-wing politics and the back-biting, up-its-own-arse self-absorption of the left." He goes on to state that he based Quellism on anarchism and the ideas of Proudhon and Bakunin.[1] However, he notes that these philosophies are altered in Quellism in such as way that it, "doesn’t have the ludicrous, lethal innocence that goes with anarchist belief, and her practical post-revolutionary ideas are grounded in a clear understanding of human foibles, checks and balances, and necessary social systems." [2]


Quotes from Quellcrist are sprinkled throughout Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, though not all are attributed to specific works.

Sourced to Specific Works

The personal, as everyone's so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life, and that it's nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.
Things I Should Have Learnt by Now, Volume II

 Is it a wolf I hear,
 Howling his lonely communion
 With the unpiloted stars,
 Or merely the self importance and servitude
 In the bark of a dog?
 How many millennia did it take,
 Twisting and torturing
 The pride from the one
 To make a tool,
 The other?
 And how do we measure the distance from spirit to spirit?
 And who do we find to blame?

Poems and Other Prevarications
The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.
Poems and Other Prevarications
If you want to lose a fight, talk about it first.
War is like any other bad relationship. Of course you want out, but at what price? And perhaps more importantly, once you get out, will you be any better off?
Campaign Diaries
In any agenda, political or otherwise, there is a cost to be borne. Always ask what it is, and who will be paying. If you don't, then the agenda-makers will pick up the perfume of your silence like swamp panthers on the scent of blood, and the next thing you know, the person expected to bear the cost will be you. And you may not have what it takes to pay.
Things I Should Have Learnt by Now, Volume II
The difference between virtuality and life is very simple. In a construct you know everything is being run by an all-powerful machine. Reality doesn't offer this assurance, so it's very easy to develop the mistaken impression that you're in control.
Ethics on the Precipice
I have no excuses, least of all for God. Like all tyrants, he is not worthy of the spit you would waste on negotiations. The deal we have is infinitely simpler – I don't call him to account, and he extends me the same courtesy.
Campaign Diaries
Anyone who builds satellites we can't shoot down needs to be taken seriously and, if they ever come back for their hardware, be approached with caution. That's not religion, it's common sense.
Metaphysics for Revolutionaries.
Face the facts. Then act on them. It's the only mantra I know, the only doctrine I have to offer you, and it's harder than you'd think, because I swear humans seem hardwired to do anything but. Face the facts. Don't pray, don't wish, don't buy into centuries-old dogma and dead rhetoric. Don't give in to your conditioning or your visions or your fucked-up sense of... whatever. FACE THE FACTS. THEN act.
Speech before the Assault on Millsport.

They come to me with
 >Progress Reports<
 But all I see is change and bodies burnt;
 They come to me with
 >Targets Achieved<
 But all I see is blood and chances lost;
 They come to me with
 Choral fucking approval of every thing I do
 But all I see is cost.

Campaign Diaries

Quoted but unsourced

...but that, to quote Quellcrist Falconer, deploys no bloody divisions.
Takeshi Kovacs, on the deployment of Protectorate troops to quell planetary uprisings.
Kill them along the way, but count your bullets, for there are more worthy targets.
Dimitri Kadmin, on lackeys.
There are some arenas so corrupt that the only clean acts possible are nihilistic.
Takeshi Kovacs, on Earth politics.
The enemy you cannot kill. You can only drive it back damaged into the depths and teach your children to watch the waves for its return.
Takeshi Kovacs, quoting Quellcrist Falconer in Woken Furies (p. 116)
If they want you, sooner or later they'll scoop you up off the globe, like specks of interesting dust off a Martian artefact. Cross the gulf between the stars, and they'll come after you. Go into centuries of storage, and they'll be there waiting for you, clone-new, when you re-sleeve. They are what we once dreamed of as gods, mythical agents of destiny, as inescapable as Death, that poor old peasant labourer, bent over his scythe, no longer is. Poor Death, no match for the mighty altered carbon technologies of data storage and retrieval arrayed against him. Once we lived in terror of his arrival. Now we flirt outrageously with his sombre dignity, and beings like these won't even let him in the tradesman's entrance.
Takeshi Kovacs, on the Harlan's World ruling elite.

How shall I explain the dying that was done?
 Shall I say that each one did the math, and wrote
 The value of his days
 Against the bloody margin, in an understated hand?
 They will want to know
 How was the audit done?
 And I shall say that it was done,
 For once,
 By those who knew the worth
 Of what was spent that day.

Dimitri Kadmin, on an upcoming fight.
When they ask how I died, tell them: still angry.
quoted by Takeshi Kovacs.
The essential evil of massed humanity.
Matthias Hand, on groupings.
Rip open the diseased heart of a corporation and what spills out?
Takeshi Kovacs, on people.

 Stop up your hormones
 Or spend them in moans
 Of other calibre
 (We'll reassure you – the load is large enough)
 Pride in your prowess
 Will fail you, fuck you
 And everything you touch
 (You'll reassure us – the price was small enough)

Takeshi Kovacs, on wars.
The skeletal grip of a corpse's hand round eggs trying to hatch.
Takeshi Kovacs, on the Protectorate.
You're going to be involved, you might as well have the big guns.
Takeshi Kovacs.


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