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Animation Education Problem Solving
Asimov The Future Science Fiction
Bradbury Head Vs. Heart Space Travel
Censorship Libraries Television
Cloning Philosophy Virtual Reality
Computers Politics Writing


The animated cartoon is just about the purest, least arguable, most invigorating art form invented since mankind did shadow shows with wriggling fingers, then trapped them in cave-wall graffiti 200 generations ago...

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.)


One could call him a jackdaw, but that wouldn't be correct, jackdaws focus on and snatch bright objects of no particular weight. Isaac is in the mountain moving business, but he does not move them, but eat them... 

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)


When people ask me where I get by imagination, I simply lament, "God, here and there, makes madness a calling."


There is more than one way to burn a book.

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme. ("Coda" 1979)

...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)


Bill Gates and his partners are flimflamming America. (1995)

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 main problem is with our education, of course. First-grade teachers for many years now have not been teaching reading and we have to encourage them to pull up their socks and begin to pay attention so that the whole school system doesn't go to hell. People are getting into high school who can't read. It's stupid, isn't it? It's crazy.

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)

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn. (Faber in Fahrenheit 451)


People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better. (from "Beyond 1984: The People Machines")


If we listened to our intellect we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go in business because we'd be cynical: "It's gonna go wrong." Or "She's going to hurt me." Or,"I've had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . ." Well, that's nonsense. You're going to miss life. You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

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.


No use going to class unless you go to the library.


Recreate the world in your own image and make it better for your having been here. (Speech at Brown University, 1995)

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.


[George W. Bush is] wonderful. We needed him. Clinton is a s***head and we're glad to be rid of him. And I'm not talking about his sexual exploits. I think we have a chance to do something about education.... It doesn't matter who does it -- Democrats or Republicans -- but it's long overdue. (Salon.com, August 29, 2001)

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)


At 7 a.m. all my voices start talking inside my head, and when it reaches a certain pitch I jump out and trap them before they're gone. Or I shower and then the voices talk. You solve problems not by thinking directly of them but allowing them to ferment in their own time.

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.


Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. ...Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don't know what they're talking about.

Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.

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")


We were put here as witnesses to the miracle of life. We see the stars, and we want them. We are beholden to give back to the universe.... If we make landfall on another star system, we become immortal. (Speech to National School Board Association, 1995.)


[Television is] a really dreadful influence on all of us. Don't ever look at local television news again. It's all crap. There's no news, there's no information. It's negative, negative, negative. You look at that, and you think the world is coming to an end.


When I wrote [the Veldt],it would have taken $ 100,000 to build that room, even then with the technology we had you could not have done a very good job. Today, we can actually build that room, and make the darn thing work. (The Gazette (Montreal), Sept. 25, 1994)


My job is to help you fall in love. (Speech at Brown University, 1995)

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 Writing)

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)


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