Ray Bradbury Offers 12 Essential Writing Tips and Explains Why Literature Saves Civilization

We woke up today to learn about the sad pass­ing of Ray Brad­bury. Brad­bury now joins Isaac Asi­mov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Hein­lein, and Philip K. Dick in the pan­theon of sci­ence fic­tion. It’s a place well deserved, see­ing that he effec­tive­ly brought mod­ern sci­ence fic­tion into the lit­er­ary main­stream. His first short sto­ry, “Holler­bochen’s Dilem­ma,” appeared in 1938. And his last one, “Take Me Home,” was just pub­lished this week in The New York­er’s first spe­cial issue devot­ed to sci­ence fic­tion. Dur­ing the 74 years in between, Brad­bury pub­lished eleven nov­els, includ­ing the great Fahren­heit 451, and count­less short sto­ries. His books, now trans­lat­ed into 36 lan­guages, have sold over eight mil­lion copies.

To help cel­e­brate his lit­er­ary lega­cy, we want to revis­it two moments when Brad­bury offered his per­son­al thoughts on the art and pur­pose of writ­ing. Above, we start you off with a 1970s clip where Brad­bury explains why lit­er­a­ture serves more than an aes­thet­ic pur­pose — it’s actu­al­ly the safe­ty valve of civ­i­liza­tion. (See our orig­i­nal post here.) And below we bring you back to Brad­bury’s 2001 keynote address at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Sym­po­sium By the Sea. There, he gives 12 essen­tial pieces of writ­ing advice to young writ­ers. You can find a nice list of his tips in our orig­i­nal post here. And, if you’re hun­ger­ing for more, let us direct you to anoth­er clip rec­om­mend­ed by one of our read­ers: a lengthy talk record­ed in 2005 at the Los Ange­les Times Fes­ti­val of Books.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Sci­ence Fic­tion Clas­sics on the Web: Hux­ley, Orwell, Asi­mov, Gaiman & Beyond

Leonard Nimoy Reads Ray Brad­bury Sto­ries From The Mar­t­ian Chron­i­cles & The Illus­trat­ed Man (1975–76)

Watch Ray Brad­bury: Sto­ry of a Writer, a 1963 Film That Cap­tures the Para­dox­es of the Leg­endary Sci-Fi Author


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.