Ray Bradbury

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We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.

Ray Douglas Bradbury (22 August 19205 June 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer.

See also:
Fahrenheit 451
Something Wicked This Way Comes (film)

Quotes[edit]

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
Mysteries abound where most we seek for answers.
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.
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
My job is to help you fall in love.
Recreate the world in your own image and make it better for your having been here.
At the center of religion is loveEverything in our life should be based on love.
Joy is the grace we say to God.
We must move into the universe. Mankind must save itself. We must escape the danger of war and politics. We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves.
  • There they go, off to Mars, just for the ride, thinking that they will find a planet like a seer's crystal, in which to read a miraculous future. What they'll find, instead, is the somewhat shopworn image of themselves. Mars is a mirror, not a crystal.
    • "A Few Notes on The Martian Chronicles", in Rhodomagnetic Digest (May 1950)
  • The jungle looked back at them with a vastness, a breathing moss-and-leaf silence, with a billion diamond and emerald insect eyes.
    • "And the Rock Cried Out" (1953), reprinted in The Day It Rained Forever (1959)
  • THE OCTOBER COUNTRY … that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coalbins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…
  • Science-fiction balances you on the cliff. Fantasy shoves you off.
    • The Circus of Dr. Lao Introduction (1956)
  • Old men only lie in wait for people to ask them to talk. Then they rattle on like a rusty elevator wheezing up a shaft.
    • Dandelion Wine (1957)
  • Disbelief is catching. It rubs off on people.
    • "A Miracle of Rare Device", in Playboy, January 1962
  • All flesh is one: what matter scores;
    Or color of the suit
    Or if the helmet glints with blue or gold?
    All is one bold achievement,
    All is fine spring-found-again-in-autumn day
    When juices run in antelopes along our blood, And green our flag, forever green…
    • "All flesh is one: what matter scores?" in When Elephants Last In The Dooryard Bloomed : Celebrations For Almost Any Day In The Year (1973)
  • Mysteries abound where most we seek for answers.
    • "All flesh is one: what matter scores?" in When Elephants Last In The Dooryard Bloomed : Celebrations For Almost Any Day In The Year (1973)
  • All silence is.
    All emptiness.
    And now:
    The dawn.
    • "Emily Dickinson, where are you? Herman Melville called your name last night in his sleep!" in When Elephants Last In The Dooryard Bloomed : Celebrations For Almost Any Day In The Year (1973)
  • YOUR INFLUENCE ON US ALL, FROM 1939 ON, CANNOT BE MEASURED. I CAN ONLY SAY I REMEMBER, WARMLY, YOUR MANY KINDNESSES TO ME WHEN I WAS 19–20–21 YEARS OLD. THAT YOUNG MAN BASKED IN YOUR LIGHT AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE HELP YOU OFFERED WHEN I WAS SO POOR & NEEDFUL!
  • We clothe ourselves in flame
    And trade new myths for old.

    The Greek gods christen us
    With ghosts of comet swords;
    God smiles and names us thus: "
    "Arise! Run! Fly, my Lords!"
    • "We March Back to Olympus" in Where Robot Mice and Robot Men Run Round in Robot Towns (1977), p. 11
  • 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.
    • Beyond 1984: The People Machines (1979)
  • 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", Los Angeles Times (3 December 1989)
  • 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.
    • Introduction to The Stories of Ray Bradbury
  • 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 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.
    • Zen in the Art of Writing (1990)
  • Life is like underwear, should be changed twice a day.
    • A Graveyard for Lunatics(1990)
  • The problem in our country isn't with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. Look at the magazines, the newspapers around us – it's all junk, all trash, tidbits of news. The average TV ad has 120 images a minute. Everything just falls off your mind. [...] You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
    • As quoted in "Bradbury Still Believes in Heat of ‘Fahrenheit 451’", interview by Misha Berson, in The Seattle Times, 12 March 1993. (Later requoted in Reader's Digest and The Times Book of Quotations.)
    • The 1993 Seattle Times is the earliest verified source located. All other citations come later and either provide a direct reference to the Seattle Times' (chiefly: Reader's Digest, credited to "Ray Bradbury, quoted by Misha Berson in Seattle Times", in "Quotable Quotes", The Reader's Digest, Vol. 144, No. 861, January 1994, p. 25), or an indirect reference to the re-quoting in Reader's Digest (such as: The Times Book of Quotations (Philip Howard, ed.), 2000, Times Books and HarperCollins, p. 93).
    • Compare to the similar 2000 quote in Peoria Journal below.
  • We're not teaching kids to read and write and think. [...] There's no reason to burn books if you don't read them.
  • Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
    • Brown Daily Herald (24 March 1995)
  • My job is to help you fall in love.
    • Speech at Brown University (1995)
  • Recreate the world in your own image and make it better for your having been here.
    • Speech at Brown University (1995)
  • 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)
  • The gift of life is so precious that we should feel an obligation to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive.
    • Speech at Eureka College (1997)
  • We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.
    • "G. B. S. — Mark V", in I Sing the Body Electric: And Other Stories (1998)
  • The women in my life have all been librarians, English teachers, or booksellers. If they couldn't speak pidgin Tolstoy, articulate Henry James, or give me directions to Usher and Ox, it was no go. I have always longed for education, and pillow talk's the best.
    • Foreword to A Passion for Books (1999) by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan
  • 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 (29 August 2001)
  • 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 (29 August 2001)
  • Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby? C'mon, it's stupid.
    • Salon Magazine (29 August 2001)
  • I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true — hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it.
    • As quoted in Ray Bradbury: The Uncensored Biography (2006) by Gene Beley, p. 284
  • I believe the universe created us — we are an audience for miracles. In that sense, I guess, I'm religious.
    • AARP Magazine (July-August 2008)
  • A life's work should be based on love.
  • There is no future for e-books, because they are not books. E-books smell like burned fuel.
    • BookExpo America, Los Angeles (May 2008). Reported in USA Today (June 1, 2008) and The Guardian (3 June 2008).
  • Joy is the grace we say to God.
    • As quoted in "Sci-fi legend "Ray Bradbury on God, 'monsters and angels'" by John Blake, CNN : Living (2 August 2010), p. 2
  • We must move into the universe. Mankind must save itself. We must escape the danger of war and politics. We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves.
    • As quoted in "Sci-fi legend "Ray Bradbury on God, 'monsters and angels'" by John Blake, CNN : Living (2 August 2010), p. 3
  • I am not a science fiction writer. I am a fantasy writer. But the label got put on me and stuck.

The Martian Chronicles (1950)[edit]

There was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.
  • The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land.
    • Rocket Summer (1950)
  • Marriage made people old and familiar, while still young.
    • Ylla (1950)
  • We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big beautiful things. The only reason we didn’t set up hot-dog stands in the midst of the Egyptian temple of Karnak is because it was out of the way and served no large commercial purpose.
    • —And the Moon Be Still as Bright (1948)
  • I have something to fight for and live for; that makes me a better killer. I’ve got what amounts to a religion, now.
    • —And the Moon Be Still as Bright (1948)
  • I’m being ironic. Don't interrupt a man in the midst of being ironic, it’s not polite.
    • Usher II (1950)
  • The gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.
    • There Will Come Soft Rains (1950)
  • Timothy looked at the deep ocean sky, trying to see Earth and the war and the ruined cities and the men killing each other since the day he was born. But he saw nothing. The war was as removed and far off as two flies battling to the death in the arch of a great high and silent cathedral. And just as senseless...
    “What are you looking at so hard, Dad?”
    “I was looking for Earthian logic, common sense, good government, peace, and responsibility.”
    “All that up there?”
    “No. I didn’t find it. It’s not there any more. Maybe it’ll never be there again. Maybe we fooled ourselves that it was ever there.”
    • The Million-Year Picnic (1946)

The Illustrated Man (1951)[edit]

  • We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.
    • No Particular Night or Morning (1951)

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)[edit]

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 or paid for in factories.
Main article: Fahrenheit 451
  • A book is a loaded gun in the house next door.
    • Part 1
  • You can't guarantee things like that! After all, when we had all the books we needed, we still insisted on finding the highest cliff to jump off. But we do need a breather. We do need knowledge. And perhaps in a thousand years we might pick smaller cliffs to jump off. The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are.
  • With schools turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word "intellectual," of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.
  • If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.
  • If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you, and you'll never learn.
  • Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? I've heard rumors; the world is starving, but we're well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much?
  • Montag, you're looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the "guilty," but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself.
  • 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 or paid for in factories.
  • But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.

Coda (1979)[edit]

Afterword to the 1979 edition of Fahrenheit 451.
There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.
  • There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel 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.
  • Only six months ago, 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 the novel. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with the censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn Del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.
  • 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. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture.

The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)[edit]

  • The monster cried out at the tower. The foghorn blew. The monster roared again. The foghorn blew. The monster opened its great toothed mouth, and the sound that came from it was the sound of the foghorn itself.
    • The Foghorn, first published in The Saturday Evening Post (1951) with the title "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms"
  • All floated upon an evening carrousel, with fitful drifts of music wafting up here and there, and voices calling and murmuring from houses that were whitely haunted by television.
    • The Wilderness (1952)
  • On the whole, the change had done Huxley a share of good. Death made him a handsomer man to deal with. You could talk to him now and he’d have to listen.
    • The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (1948)
  • In touch! There’s a slimy phrase. Touch, hell. Gripped! Pawed, rather. Mauled and massaged and pounded by FM voices.
    • The Murderer (1953)
  • “And what happened next?”
    “Silence happened next. God, it was beautiful.”
    • The Murderer (1953)
  • The telephone rang like a spoiled brat.
    • The Murderer (1953)
  • Then I went in and shot the televisor, that insidious beast, that Medusa, which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little, but myself always going back, going back hoping and waiting until—bang!
    • The Murderer (1953)
  • “I believe,” said the first lady, “that our souls are in our hands. For we do everything to the world with our hands. Sometimes I think we don’t use our hands half enough; it’s certain we don’t use our heads.”
    • Embroidery (1951)
  • I’ve done a prideful thing, a thing more sinful than she ever done to me. I took the bottom out of her life.
    • The Great Wide World Over There (1953)
  • Hers was simply not a pew-shaped spine.
    “I just never had a reason ever to sit in a church,” she had told people. She wasn’t vehement about it. She just walked around and lived and moved her hands that were pebble-smooth and pebble-small. Work had polished the nails of those hands with a polish you could never buy in a bottle. The touching of children had made them soft, and the raising of children had made them temperately stern, and the loving of a husband had made them gentle.
    • Powerhouse (1948)

R Is for Rocket (1962)[edit]

  • The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them.
    • Introduction
  • Night had come on like the closing of a great but gentle eye.
    • Here There Be Tygers (1951)
  • “War!”
    The thought stood in Sim’s brain. It shocked and beat at him. These men were running to fight, to kill, over there in those small black cliffs where other people lived.
    But why? Wasn’t life short enough without fighting and killing?
    • Frost and Fire (1946)
  • Those who live in the best cliffs think they are better than us. That is always man’s attitude when he has power.
    • Frost and Fire (1946)
  • “It will only take a minute,” said Uncle Einar’s sweet wife.
    “I refuse,” he said. “And that takes but a second.”
    • Uncle Einar (1947)
  • Beware, Charlie, old men only lie in wait for people to ask them to talk. Then they rattle on like a rusty elevator wheezing up a shaft.
    • The Time Machine (1955)
  • “You remember winning, don’t you? A battle won, somewhere?”
    “No,” said the old man, deep under. “I don’t remember anyone winning anywhere any time. War’s never a winning thing, Charlie. You just lose all the time, and the one who loses last asks for terms. All I remember is a lot of losing and sadness and nothing good but the end of it. The end of it, Charles, that was a winning all to itself, having nothing to do with guns.
    • The Time Machine (1955)

Christ, Old Student in a New School (1972)[edit]

First published in Again, Dangerous Visions (1972) edited by Harlan Ellison
Oh come, please come, to the Poor Mouth Fair
Where the Saints kneel round in their underwear
And say out prayers that most need saying
For needful sinners who've forgotten praying
When, trussed and bound and nailed,
You sacrifice your life, your liberty
You hang yourself upon the tenterhook.
Pull free!
You are the dead
You the assassin of yourself
Christ, who once was employed as single Son of God
Now finds Himself among three billion on a billion
Brother sons, their arms thrown wide to grasp and hold
and walk them everywhere…
Leave off losings, and take on winnings, Erase all mortal ends, give birth to only new beginnings,
In a billion years of morning and a billion years of sleep.
  • Oh come, please come, to the Poor Mouth Fair
    Where the Saints kneel round in their underwear
    And say out prayers that most need saying
    For needful sinners who've forgotten praying]]
    ;
    And in every alcove and niche you spy
    The living dead who envy the long since gone
    Who never wished to die.
  • And from above a voice fused half in iron
    Half in irony gives man a dreadful choice.
    The role is his, it says, Man makes and loads his own strange dice,
    They sum at his behest,
    He dooms himself. He is his own sad jest.
    Let go? Let be?
    Why do you ask this gift from Me?
    When, trussed and bound and nailed,
    You sacrifice your life, your liberty
    You hang yourself upon the tenterhook.
    Pull free!
  • You make to die
    You are the dead
    You the assassin of yourself
  • You are the jailer and the jailed,
    You the impaler and the one that your own
    Million-fleshed self in dreams by night
    do hold in thrall and now at noon must kill.
  • Why have you been so blind?
    Why have you never seen?
    The slave and master in one skin
    Is all your history, no more, no less

    Confess! This is what you've been.
  • The crowd upon the cross gives anguished roar;
    A moment terrible to hear.
  • Man warring on himself an old tale is;
    But Man discovering the source of all his sorrow in himself,
    Finding his left hand and his right
    Are similar sons, are children fighting
    In the porchyards of the void?!
  • That so much time was wasted in this pain.
    Ten thousand years ago he might have let off down
    To not return again!
    A dreadful laugh at last escapes his lips;
    The laughter sets him free.
    A Fool lives in the Universe! he cries.
    The Fool is me!

    And with one final shake of laughter
    Breaks his bonds.
    The nails fall skittering to marble floors.
    And Christ, knelt at the rail, sees miracle
    As Man steps down in amiable wisdom
    To give himself what no one else can give:
    His liberty.
  • Trapped in the blood, athirst for air,
    Christ, who once was employed as single Son of God
    Now finds Himself among three billion on a billion
    Brother sons, their arms thrown wide to grasp and hold
    and walk them everywhere
    Now weaving this, now weaving that in swoons…
  • Ten thousand times a million sons of sons move
    Through one great and towering town
    Wearing their wits, which means their laughter,
    As their crown. Set free upon the earth
    By simple gifts of knowing how mere mirth can cut the bonds
    And pull the blood spikes out
    ;
    Their conversation shouts of "Fool!"
  • A single face turned upward toward all Time
    One flesh, one ecstasy, one peace.
  • I am the dreamer and the doer
    I the hearer and the knower
    I the giver and the taker
    I the sword and the wound of sword.

    If this be true, then let sword fall free from hand.
    I embrace myself.
    I laugh until I weep
    And weep until I smile
  • Leave off losings, and take on winnings, Erase all mortal ends, give birth to only new beginnings,
    In a billion years of morning and a billion years of sleep.

About Ray Bradbury - Interview, Playboy (1996)[edit]

Ray Bradbury; Playboy Interview 1996

  • In science fiction, we dream. In order to colonize in space, to rebuild our cities, which are so far out of whack, to tackle any number of problems, we must imagine the future, including the new technologies that are required.
  • Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present.
  • People are talking about the Internet as a creative tool for writers. I say, "B.S. Stay away from that. Stop talking to people around the world and get your work done."
  • Computers are toys, and men like to mess around with smart dumb things. They feel creative.
  • Don't tell me how to write my novel. Don't tell me you've got a better ending for it. I have no time for that.
  • We should back on the moon right now. And we should be going off to Mars immediately.
  • The problem is, of course, our politicians, men who have no romance in their hearts or dreams in their heads.
  • If NASA's budgeters could be convinced that there are riches on Mars, we would explode overnight to stand on the rim of the Martian abyss.
  • Space travel is life-enhancing, and anything that's life-enhancing is worth doing. It makes you want to live forever.
  • We need something larger than ourselves - that's a real religious activity. That's what space travel can be - relating ourselves to the universe.
  • I was the little boy who would get up on-stage and do magic wearing a fake mustache, which would fall off during the performance. I'm still trying to perform those tricks. Now I do it with writing.
  • When I started writing seriously, I made the major discovery of my life - that I am right and everybody else is wrong if they disagree with me. What a great thing to learn: Don't listen to anyone else, and always go your own way.
  • But at least I don't suffer from self-deluding identity problem like, say, Carl Sagan does.
  • I don't think I'm Ray Bradbury. That's a big distinction. It doesn't matter who you are. You mustn't go around saying who you are, or else you get captured by the mask of false identity. It's the work that identifies you.
  • I don't care what the science fiction trade technicians say, either. They are furious that I get away with murder. I use a scientific idea as a platform to leap into the air and never come back. This keeps them angry at me. They still begrudge my putting an atmosphere on Mars in The Martian Chronicles more than 40 years ago.
  • You should read in your own field only when you're young. When I was 8, 10, 12, 16, 25, I read science fiction. But then I went on to Alexander Pope and John Donne and Moliere to mix it up.
  • When a bright Sony inventor read about my seashell radios in that novel, he invented the Walkman. That was one good thing to emerge from that book - the banishment of most picnic-ruining ghetto blasters. But I had no idea I was doing it.
  • The news is all rapes and murders we didn't commit, funerals we don't attend, AIDS we don't want to catch. All crammed into a quarter of a minute! But at least we still have a hand with which to switch channels or turn off altogether.
  • I tell my lecture audiences to never, ever watch local TV news.
  • Whether you're a majority or minority, bug off! To hell with anybody who wants to tell me what to write. Their society breaks down into subsections of minorities who then, in effect, burn books by banning them.
  • All this political correctness that's rampant on campuses is b.s. You can't fool around with the dangerous notion of telling a university what to teach and what not to.
  • Whereas back then I wrote about the tyranny of the majority, today I'd combine that with the tyranny of the minorities. These days, you have to be careful of both.
  • Magazines today are almost all stupid and moronic to start with.
  • It makes me furious that I can't find any articles to read anymore. I used to enjoy Forbes and Fortune, but now the pages are completely cluttered with ads.
  • There is no reason to write pornography when your own sex life is good. Why waste time writing about it?
  • I was madly in love with Hollywood. Of course back then you could go around town at night and never risk getting mugged or beaten up.
  • I feel like I own all the kids in the world because, since I've never grown up myself, all my books are automatically for children.
  • For one thing, kids love me because I write stories that tell them about their capacity for evil. I'm one of the few writers who lets you cleanse yourself that way.
  • I don't know what to do with dumb people, but we must try to educate them along with the sharp kids.
  • You teach a kid to read and write by the second grade, and the rest will take care of itself.
  • To solve the drug problem, we have to start at the root - first grade.
  • [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry was a loss that deeply grieved me.
  • I believe in Darwin and God together.
  • Science and religion have to go hand in hand with the mystery, because there's a certain point beyond which you say, "There are no answers."
  • No. I don't believe in the anthropomorphic God.

Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction - Interview (The Paris Review)[edit]

Ray Bradbury, Interviewed by Sam Geller The Art of Fiction No. 203, The Paris Review; Spring, 2010

  • Science Fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.
  • If I’d found out that Norman Mailer liked me, I’d have killed myself. I think he was too hung up. I’m glad Kurt Vonnegut didn’t like me either.
  • I don’t tell anyone how to write and no one tells me.
  • I loved to illustrate, too, and I was a cartoonist. I always wanted my own comic strip. So I was not only writing about Tarzan, I was drawing my own Sunday panels.
  • I knew I was going into one of the arts: I was drawing, acting, and writing.
  • I took a Greyhound bus to New York and stayed at the YMCA, fifty cents a night. I took my stories around to a dozen publishers. Nobody wanted them. They said, We don’t publish stories. Nobody reads them. Don’t you have a novel?
  • From reading so much poetry every day of my life. My favorite writers have been those who’ve said things well.
  • I used to study Eudora Welty. She has the remarkable ability to give you atmosphere, character, and motion in a single line. In one line! You must study these things to be a good writer.
  • I just can’t imagine being in a world and not being fascinated with what ideas are doing to us.
  • You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t.
  • Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember.
  • Yes, the problem of the novel is to stay truthful. The short story, if you really are intense and you have an exciting idea, writes itself in a few hours.
  • My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve.
  • I can work anywhere.
  • As soon as I get an idea, I write a short story, or I start a novel, or I do a poem. So I have no need for a notebook.
  • When I wrote the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, the first draft was a hundred and fifty thousand words. So I went through and cut out fifty thousand. It’s important to get out of your own way. Clean the kindling away, the rubbish. Make it clear.
  • I have what I call the theater of morning inside my head, all these voices talking to me. When they come up with a good metaphor, then I jump out of bed and trap them before they’re gone.
  • Every so often, late at night, I come downstairs, open one of my books, read a paragraph and say, My God. I sit there and cry because I feel that I’m not responsible for any of this. It’s from God. And I’m so grateful, so, so grateful.
  • I’m interested in having fun with ideas, throwing them up in the air like confetti and then running under them.
  • In that film Love Story, there’s a line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Love means saying you’re sorry every day for some little thing or other.
  • [about meeting the real Mr. Electrico] When he came to me, he touched me on the brow, and on the nose, and on the chin, and he said to me, in a whisper, “Live forever.” And I decided to.


Misattributed[edit]

  • There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
    • Actually a statement by Joseph Brodsky, as quoted in The Balancing Act : Mastering the Competing Demands of Leadership (1996) by Kerry Patterson, p. 437
    • However, compare to the similar Bradbury quotes from 1993 (Seattle Times) and 2000 (Peoria Journal) above.

Quotes about Bradbury[edit]

Bradbury is in love with love. ~ John Blake
Sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • Bradbury has been called a Unitarian, but he rejects that term. He dislikes labels of any kind.
    "I'm a Zen Buddhist if I would describe myself," he says. "I don't think about what I do. I do it. That's Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down." … Allusions to Christianity are common in his stories, but Bradbury doesn't define himself as a Christian. He considers Jesus a wise prophet, like Buddha and Confucius… "Jesus is a remarkable person … He was on his way to becoming Christ, and he made it."
    • John Blake, in "Sci-fi legend "Ray Bradbury on God, 'monsters and angels'" CNN : Living (2 August 2010)
  • I knew Ray Bradbury off and on since 1980 when, as a student at the American Film Institute Center, I was asked if I could pick him up and bring him to school for his seminar. You see, Ray never learned how to drive.
    But he knew very well how to give encouragement and enthusiasm to anyone.

External links[edit]

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