microfin asked: My father claims the line "violence was the last refuge of the incompetent" (from Neverwhere) belongs to Isaac Asimov. Was the reference intentional?
Absolutely. It’s a very famous Asimov quote (the “and empty threats the last sanctuary of the terminally inept” is mine). There a few hat tips to SF authors in Nevewhere, although my most favourite is the “The sky was the perfect untroubled blue of a television screen tuned to an empty channel”, which is a quote and commentary on the opening lines of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
I imagine that soon, the Gibson reference must be interpreted in historical context, because e.g. my LCD-TV does not know static anymore, but shows a full, deep, perfect (0.0.255) blue when there’s no signal.
You must reread my Neverwhere version of the quote more carefully…