This is my entry to the 15th Fortnightly Challenge: Stories.
You are a human inhabitant on a distant planet. You live there, along with a large population of an alien species known as the sorns.
Your planet is at war with Earth, and the sorns have just taken a distinguished hostage. Knowing they need something from Earth to win this war, the sorns have demanded it, promising to release the prisoner in return.
The human diplomat from Earth refuses and says, "These describe you. If you figure out how, I suppose we'll give you what you want," and gives the sorn diplomat a sheet of paper, which has some sentences scribbled on it.
Being the only human on their planet, and the only person who grew up on earth, the sorn diplomat quickly contacts you, supposing that the paper contains a riddle related to human culture. He gives you a copy of the paper:
Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!
Technically, I am unarmed. But no one should ever underestimate the harm that fingernails can do. Especially if the target is unprepared.
If it's not baroque, don't fix it.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
Things never happen the same way twice.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
If you tell the truth you do not need a good memory!
If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also.
Et tu, Brute?
Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.
He who jumps for the moon and gets it not leaps higher than he who stoops for a penny in the mud.
We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.
The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
Be careful of love. It'll twist your brain around and leave you thinking up is down and right is wrong.
Now, don't be angry after you've been afraid. That's the worst kind of cowardice.
A man with a club is a law-maker, a man to be obeyed, but not necessarily conciliated.
Let's face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.
May the hair on your toes never fall out!
'Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.' That depends... on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen
We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.
Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.
Always winter but never Christmas.
Oh, that clock! Old killjoy. I hear you. "Come on, get up," you say, "Time to start another day." Even he orders me around. Well, there's one thing. They can't order me to stop dreaming.
It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.
The way is shut. It was made by those who are Dead, and the Dead keep it, until the time comes. The way is shut.
Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related for better or for worse...and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Thus fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.
Thus, with a kiss, I die.
Alone-- it is wonderful how little a man can do alone! To rob a little, to hurt a little, and there is the end.
Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.
I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration.
Listen to me! You accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man!
Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.
The sorn diplomat said that the prisoner might be compelled to divulge some information about the paper, but for the most part, decrypting the paper falls to you.
Can you figure out what it says about the sorns?
Also, can you figure out what it was that the sorns wanted from Earth?
To respond to portions of the answer by Gareth McCaughan:
I did base the story on characters and places in the book you attributed them to, but most of the "plot" of the story is just flavortext to set up why the puzzle is here. You are quite close to the second answer, and about that, I will provide a hint.
Hint 1 for question 1
It involves using the first of the first two letters of the title.
Hint 1 for question 2
Many people think they know where it is, but they are wrong; only one person knows where it actually is.
As a side note, this is my first puzzle, so I would appreciate any feedback that you would be willing to give about the quality of the puzzle, whether it's too hard/easy, etc.