Quotations by Bradbury, Ray


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

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“Bradbury Still Believes in Heat of ‘Fahrenheit 451,'” interview by Misha Berson, The Seattle Times (12 Mar 1993)
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Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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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 Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“G. B. S. — Mark V”, I Sing the Body Electric: And Other Stories (1998)
Added on 17-Mar-14 | Last updated 17-Mar-14
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As we can learn from every man or woman or child around us when, touched and moved, they tell of something they loved or hated this day, yesterday, or some other day long past. At a given moment, the fuse, after sputtering wetly, flares and the fireworks begin. Oh, it’s limping crude hard work for many, with language in their way. But I have heard farmers tell about their very first wheat crop on their first farm after moving from another state, and if it wasn’t Robert Frost talking, it was his cousin, five times removed. I have heard locomotive engineers talk about America in the tones of Thomas Wolfe who rode our country with his style as they ride it in their steel. I have heard mothers tell of the long night with their firstborn when they were afraid that they and the baby might die. And I have heard my grandmother speak of her first ball when she was seventeen. And they were all, when their souls grew warm, poets.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“How to Keep and Feed a Muse,” Zen in the Art of Writing (1989)
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“No Particular Night or Morning” (1951)
Added on 7-Apr-14 | Last updated 7-Apr-14
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“Ray Bradbury is on fire!”, interview with James Hibberd, Salon.com (29 Aug 2001)
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Added on 24-Mar-14 | Last updated 24-Mar-14
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“The Time Machine” (1955)
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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?

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“Why Cartoons Are Forever”, Los Angeles Times (3 Dec 1989)
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
(Attributed)
Added on 31-Mar-14 | Last updated 31-Mar-14
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Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Added on 22-Jan-08 | Last updated 22-Jan-08
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
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Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hand away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there for a lifetime.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Added on 26-Dec-13 | Last updated 26-Dec-13
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451, “Coda” Afterword (1979 ed.)
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Digression is the soul of wit. Take the philosophic asides away from Dante, Milton or Hamlet’s father’s ghost and what stays is dry bones.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451, “Coda” Afterword (1979 ed.)

A play on Shakespeare's words.
Added on 28-Apr-14 | Last updated 27-May-16
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
The Stories of Ray Bradbury, Introduction, “Drunk and in Charge of a Bicycle” (1980)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Dec-13
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If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Zen and the Art of Writing (1990)
Added on 12-Aug-07 | Last updated 12-Aug-07
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Interview with Sam Geller, “The Art of Fiction, No. 203,” The Paris Review (Spring 2010)
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Added on 2-Jun-14 | Last updated 2-Jun-14
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Interview with Sam Geller, “The Art of Fiction, No. 203,” The Paris Review (Spring 2010)
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Added on 14-Feb-14 | Last updated 14-Feb-14
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Interview, Playboy (1996)
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Added on 12-May-14 | Last updated 12-May-14
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We need something larger than ourselves — that’s a real religious activity. That’s what space travel can be — relating ourselves to the universe.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Interview, Playboy (1996)
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Added on 19-May-14 | Last updated 19-May-14
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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.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Speech, Brown University (23 Mar 1995)

In Brown Daily Herald (24 Mar 1995)

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jun-11
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The gift of life is so precious that we should feel an obligation to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Speech, Eureka College (1997)
Added on 10-Mar-14 | Last updated 10-Mar-14
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