In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with science fiction author Ray Bradbury from the May 1996 issue.
“When I started writing seriously, I made the major discovery of my life—that I am right and everybody else is wrong if they disagree with me. What a great thing to learn: Don’t listen to anyone else, and always go your own way.”
“The way to teach in this world is to pretend you’re not teaching. Science fiction offers the chance to pretend to look the other way while teaching. 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. You can criticize communists, racists, fascists or any other clear and present danger, and they can’t imagine you are writing about them.”
“Men read science fiction to build the future. Women don’t need to read it. They are the future.”
“Science and religion have to go hand in hand with the mystery, because there’s a certain point beyond which you say, “There are no answers.” Why does the sun burn? We don’t know. It just does—that’s the answer. Why were the planets created? We don’t know. It happened. How come there’s life on the earth? We don’t know. It just happened. You accept that as a scientist and as a religious preacher. The scientist can teach us to survive by learning more about how the body works, what disease is, how to cure ourselves and how to work on longevity. The preacher then says, “Don’t forget to pay attention to the fact that you’re alive.” Just the mere fact, the glory of getting up every morning and looking at the sunrise or a good rainfall or whatever, and saying, “That’s wonderful.” That’s just wonderful. The Darwin theory can’t be proved; it’s a theory. We think it is true.”
“You can’t turn really bright people into robots. You can turn dumb people into robots.”
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