I wonder how many men, hiding their youngness,
rise as I do, Saturday mornings, filled with the hope that Bugs Bunny, Yosemite
Sam and Daffy Duck will be there waiting as our one true always and forever
salvation? ("Why Cartoons Are Forever" by Ray Bradbury, Los
Angeles Times, Dec. 3, 1989.)
People have said Isaac is a workaholic. Nonsense.
He has gone mad with love in ten dozen territories... when Isaac departs earth
and arrives Up There [he'll] write twenty-five new books of the Bible. And that
only the first week! (1989)
You don't have to burn books to destroy a
culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
...I discovered that, over the years, some
cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had,
bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from [Fahrenheit 451]. Students,
reading the novel which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in
the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. ("Coda" 1979)
For it is a mad world and it will get madder if
we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin,
nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite,
simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. ("Coda" 1979)
Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby? C'mon, it's stupid. .(Salon Magazine, 2001)
I don't understand this whole thing about
computers and the superhighway. Who wants to be in touch with all of those
people? (Brown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995.)
Who do you want to talk to? All those morons who
are living across the world somewhere? You don't even want to talk to them at
home. (On the topic of Internet chat rooms)
Video games are a waste of time for men with
nothing else to do. Real brains don't do that. On occasion? Sure. As relaxation?
Great. But not full time -- And a lot of people are doing that. And while
they're doing that, I'll go ahead and write another novel. (Salon.com,
August 29, 2001)
The jails are full of one million non-readers. We can't let it happen again. If you allow another generation to grow up to be 12 years old.... without the ability to read, write, and think, we're sunk. If they can't read, if they can't write, if they can't think, they become criminals. We've already lost two generations. Unless we teach reading intensely and completely in kindergarten and first grade, the whole civilization goes to hell.
With computers, kids can connect and search
libraries and the Encyclopedia Britannica, but if you don't teach them to read
in the first place, they're not going to [log on], are they? (Speech to
National School Board Association, 1995)
Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build
your wings on the way down. (Brown Daily Herald. March 24, 1995.)
Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.
It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply
must do things.
We are anthill men upon an anthill world.
From now on I hope always to educate myself as
best I can. But lacking this, in future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret
mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We
never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The
trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made up or paid for in factories.
The great thing is our counter-revolution that occurred in the polls a few weeks ago. I think it's great. All the Democrats are out and the Republicans are going to have a chance in a couple of years. It doesn't make a difference what party you belong to--it's a chance for a fresh start. It's very exciting. (Speaking about the "Republican Revolution" of 1994)
You feed yourself. Make sure you have all the
information, whether it's aesthetic, scientific, mathematical, I don't care what
it is. Then you walk away from it and let it ferment. You ignore it and pretend
you don't care. Next thing you know, the answer comes.
Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you
accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science
The current science fiction writers are a bunch
of jerks. As for cyberpunk, it's crap -- you can't read it. (Brown Daily
Herald, March 24, 1995.)
Science-fiction is the law-abiding citizen of imaginative literature, obeying the rules, be they physical, social, or psychological, keeping regular hours, eating punctual meals; predictable, certain, sure.
Fantasy, on the other hand, is criminal. Each fantasy assaults and breaks a particular law; the crime being hidden by the author's felicitous thought and style which cover the body before blood is seen.
Science-fiction works hand-in-glove with the universe.
Fantasy cracks it down the middle, turns it wrong-side-out, dissolves it to invisibility, walks men through its walls, and fetches incredible circuses to town with sea-serpent, medusa, and chimera displacing zebra, ape, and armadillo.
Science-fiction balances you on the cliff. Fantasy shoves you off. (From the Introduction to The Circus of Dr. Lao)
There still are people who will come up to you and say: "Science Fiction? Ha! Why read that?!" The most direct, off-putting reply is: Science fiction is the most important fiction ever invented by writers. It saw a whole mob of troubles pouring toward us across the shoals of time and cried, "Head for the hills, the dam is broke!" But no one listened. Now, people have pricked up their ears, and opened their eyes. (From "Science Fiction")
All that stuff that's collected up in my head --
poetry and mythology and comic strips and science fiction magazines -- comes out
in my stories. So you get to a certain age and you're like a pomegranate, you
just burst. And the ideas spill out.
My stories run up and bite me in the leg -- I
respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish,
the idea lets go and runs off.
And what, you ask, does writing teach us?
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.
So while our art cannot, as we wish it could,
save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can
revitalize us amidst it all. (From the preface to Zen in the Art of
If you can't read and write you can't think. Your thoughts are dispersed if you don't know how to read and write. You've got to be able to look at your thoughts on paper and discover what a fool you were. (Salon.com, August 29, 2001)