As trendy as dystopia has become lately in YA fiction, the man who likely introduced many of us to the genre was Ray Bradbury, best known for the futuristic book-burning world he created in Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury is often credited as being the author most responsible for mainstreaming science fiction, and his past stories included some oddly accurate predictions, including ATMs and live broadcasts of fugitive car chases.
Sadly, Ray Bradbury passed away Tuesday night at 91, but his legacy seems destined to live on. With a career that included hundreds of short stories and close to 50 books, as well as poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury's influence on generations of readers is undeniable.
After more than 70 years of sharing his creations with the world, Bradbury is known not only for his art and literature, but for his inspiring words of wisdom. I've collected 10 of his most interesting, thought-provoking quotes here, and I hope you enjoy them:
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
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.
Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in 10 seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, "If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk." All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.
I have two rules in life -- to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done.
Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
God, how we get our fingers in each other's clay. That's friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of each other.
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
I read today that Ray Bradbury began writing as a child after an encounter with a carnival magician in 1932. The man, who called himself Mr. Electrico, touched 12-year-old Bradbury with a sword, and commanded, "Live forever!"
Bradbury said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."
RIP, Mr. Bradbury.
Are you a Ray Bradbury fan? What are some of your favorite books or stories of his?
Image via Flickr/Alan Light