Ray Bradbury passed away last week, leaving a legacy large and full of gems like this 2001 advice to writers. Care of Elise Hu, here is a snippet of a 2002 interview Bradbury did on NPR, portions of it unaired, relevant to our culture of distraction thread:
But if we finally correct this in our school system, what kind of student should we deliver to the world? A student who has wide ranging tastes — all kinds of literature, and basically, we should head in the direction of having young people read science fiction.
Why? Because we live in a science fiction time. The last century we invented flying, we perfected the railroad system, we made telephones available to everyone in our culture, and then we invented radio in 1922, and it began to dominate our culture. Then television came along in 1945. So we’re surrounded by all these devices.
We are a device oriented culture. So how can you not want to read about what these things are doing to you and to others and to the world?
And we invented atomic power in the middle 40s, and that became a Christian invention. Why do I say that? Because it prevented wars after the first big dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. After that we were able to back Russia down and make the wall in Berlin fall, all because of atomic power. All this being true, you can’t neglect it, you must write about it. And the mainstream writers of our time didn’t write about it. So they became very boring.
Young people graduating from high school should be curious about the impact of the fax machine, of the telephone, of atomic power. So you write stories for them. And during the last 20 years, science fiction has come into its proper place and is being taught in middle schools and high schools and colleges, because people are curious about a world where we promised to go to the moon, and we finally do.