Ray Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers. He is best known for his novels Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, as well as his short stories. Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he would live for the rest of his life. From an early age, Bradbury loved reading and writing science fiction; some of his favorite authors were H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.
After high school graduation, Bradbury worked a variety of jobs before selling his first story in 1941. His career took off from there, and over the next few decades he became one of the most prolific science fiction writers of all time. In 1953, Fahrenheit 451 was published; it remains one of his best-known works today. In addition to writing novels and short stories, Bradbury also wrote screenplays (including for John Huston’s film adaptation of Moby Dick), stage plays, TV scripts, poetry, essays, and more. He died on June 5 2012 at the age 91 after a long illness.
There are few authors as imaginative as Ray Bradbury. His work has inspired generations of readers and writers alike. Here are some of our favorite Ray Bradbury quotes from the man himself.
Some of the quotes are featured in the following video:
Table of Contents
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Life
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Writing
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Books
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Love
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Libraries
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Science
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Science Fiction
- Ray Bradbury Quotes on Politics
- Interesting Facts about Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Life
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.
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
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.
You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them.
If you enjoy living, it is not difficult to keep the sense of wonder.
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spent the rest of the day putting the pieces together.
My religion encompasses all religions. I believe in God, I believe in the universe. I believe you are god, I believe I am god; I believe the earth is god and the universe is god. We’re all god.
We have too many cell phones. We’ve got too many internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.
It’s lack that gives us inspiration. It’s not fullness.
We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.
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.
Collecting facts is important. Knowledge is important. But if you don’t have an imagination to use the knowledge, civilization is nowhere.
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.
My personal telephone book is a book of the dead now. I’m so old. Almost all of my friends have died, and I don’t have the guts to take their names out of the book.
Americans are far more remarkable than we give ourselves credit for. We’ve been so busy damning ourselves for years. We’ve done it all, and yet we don’t take credit for it.
Everything is generated through your own will power.
If you dream the proper dreams, and share the myths with people, they will want to grow up to be like you.
There’s no one way to be creative. Any old way will work.
Why go to a machine when you could go to a human being?
I don’t see myself as a philosopher. That’s awfully boring.
Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.
Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
You fail only if you stop writing.
I used to take my short stories to girls’ homes and read them to them. Can you imagine the reaction reading a short story to a girl instead of pawing her?
I’m not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.
I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.
Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.
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. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time.
I don’t tell anyone how to write and no one tells me.
Everything is my demon muse. I have a muse which whispers in my ear and says, ‘Do this, do that,’ but it’s my demon who provokes me.
The first stories I wrote when I was 12 were about Mars and landing on Mars.
You can write a short story in two hours. Two hours a day, you have a novel in a year.
If you want to be a good writer, be the best writer in the world. That’s what I’ve done.
The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.
I don’t have a computer. A computer’s a typewriter. I already have a typewriter.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Books
My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
Books are alive, you see. They’re not dead, they’re alive.
‘Fahrenheit 451’ postulates a lot of things I didn’t want to have happen.
Electronic books are junk.
I think the reason my stories have been so successful is that I have a strong sense of metaphor.
The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.
A book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt.
I’ve only written one science-fiction book: ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ That book is a book based on real facts and my hatred of people who destroy books.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Love
Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
The important thing is to be in love with something.
Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.
The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love.
Love is easy, and I love writing. You can’t resist love. You get an idea, someone says something, and you’re in love.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Libraries
I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves – you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.
Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.
All the women in my life have been librarians, English teachers and book sellers.
I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library.
I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money.
Libraries raised me.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Science
Touch a scientist and you touch a child.
Scientists have to have a metaphor. All scientists start with imagination.
I’m never going to go to Mars, but I’ve helped inspire, thank goodness, the people who built the rockets and sent our photographic equipment off to Mars.
We’ve gotta reinvest in space travel. We should’ve never left the moon.
I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.
We’ve gotta become the Martians. I’m a Martian – I tell you to become Martians. And we’ve gotta go to Mars and civilize Mars and build a whole civilization on Mars and then move out, 300 years from now into the universe. And when we do that, we have a chance of living forever.
The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance – the idea that anything is possible.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Science Fiction
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.
When I was seven or eight years old, I began to read the science-fiction magazines that were brought by guests into my grandparents’ boarding house in Waukegan, Illinois. Those were the years when Hugo Gernsback was publishing ‘Amazing Stories,’ with vivid, appallingly imaginative cover paintings that fed my hungry imagination.
Millions of students now, in all the schools of America, are reading science fiction and especially, thank God, ‘The Martian Chronicles.’
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Politics
I hate all politics. I don’t like either political party. One should not belong to them – one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking.
If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don’t know how to read, you don’t know how to decide. That’s the great thing about our country – we’re a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way.
There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people.
Most members of Congress are politicians. They’re bores.
Interesting Facts about Ray Bradbury
Now, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Ray Bradbury that may even surprise you. Enjoy.
- Writing When He Was Only a Teen – Ray Bradbury had his first writing job when he was only 14 years old. He was writing for George Burns and Gracie Allen’s radio show, but later said that he never got paid for this writing job of his.
- Asking a Girl Out Took Some Time – The first time that Ray Bradbury had asked a girl out was when he was 25 years old. The girl’s name was Maggie and she was a bookstore clerk. Initially, she thought he was stealing from the store since he was wearing a trench coat. Eventually, the two went out for coffee, then cocktails, then dinner, and to cut the story shirt, the two got married and had 4 children together. Maggie was the only girl Ray Bradbury had dated, and while the two were married, she had a full time job, while he stayed at home to do his writings.
- He Was a Walt Disney’s Friend – Ray was friends with Walt Disney, urged him to run for the office of mayor of Los Angeles and even contributed to the famous Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot. All in all, Ray was a huge fan of the Disney parks.
- Ashes in a Soup Can – Believe it or not, but Ray Bradbury actually wanted his ashes to be put in a soup can and planted… on Mars. That of course did not happen and he is buried in Los Angeles, at Westwood Memorial and has a headstone that reads “Author of Fahrenheit 451”.
- A Tribute from NASA – In 2012, a few months after Ray Bradbury passed away, NASA landed the rover Curiosity on Mars, and the site where the rover landed was named “Bradbury Landing” as a tribute to Ray Bradbury.