The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.
And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.
Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
We could have saved [the Earth] but we were too damned cheap.
She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies.
The nicest veterans… the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.
I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishments after I am dead.
I am from a family of artists. Here I am, making a living in the arts. It has not been a rebellion. It's as though I had taken over the family Esso station.
I consider anybody a twerp who hasn't read 'Democracy in America' by Alexis de Tocqueville. There can never be a better book than that one on the strengths and vulnerabilities inherent in our form of government.
Actually, to be an effective person politically in this country, I think you have to be thirty or over, and also you have to be rich, well-placed, you have to be close to power. And I don't think that young people, because they look young, can do much, as I think they are counterproductive.
I don't plot my books rigidly, follow a preconceived structure. A novel mustn't be a closed system - it's a quest.
During most of my freelancing, I made what I would have made in charge of the cafeteria at a pretty good junior-high school.
I think a lot of people, including me, clammed up when a civilian asked about battle, about war. It was fashionable. One of the most impressive ways to tell your war story is to refuse to tell it, you know. Civilians would then have to imagine all kinds of deeds of derring-do.
I was a chemistry major, but I'm always winding up as a teacher in English departments, so I've brought scientific thinking to literature. There's been very little gratitude for this.
Evolution can go to hell as far as I am concerned. What a mistake we are. We have mortally wounded this sweet life-supporting planet - the only one in the whole Milky Way - with a century of transportation whoopee.
When I'm being funny, I try not to offend. I don't think much of what I've done has been in really ghastly taste. I don't think I have embarrassed many people or distressed them.
Younger scientists are extremely sensitive to the moral implications of all they do.
Back in my days as a chemistry student, I used to be quite a technocrat. I was firmly convinced that scientists would have cornered God and photographed Him in color by 1951.
One of the things that I tell beginning writers is this: If you describe a landscape, or a cityscape, or a seascape, always be sure to put a human figure somewhere in the scene. Why? Because readers are human beings, mostly interested in human beings. People are humanists. Most of them are humanists, that is.
It was very lucky for me as a writer that I studied the physical sciences rather than English. I wrote for my own amusement. There was no kindly English professor to tell me for my own good how awful my writing really was. And there was no professor with the power to order me what to read, either.
I think I belong to America's last generation of novelists. Novelists will come one by one from now on, not in seeming families, and will perhaps write only one or two novels, and let it go at that.
I had no talent for science. What was infinitely worse: all my fraternity brothers were engineers.
What troubles me most about my lovely country is that its children are seldom taught that American freedom will vanish, if, when they grow up, and in the exercise of their duties as citizens, they insist that our courts and policemen and prisons be guided by divine or natural law.
This is Sunday, and the question arises, what'll I start tomorrow?
It is a big temptation to me, when I create a character for a novel, to say that he is what he is because of faulty wiring, or because of microscopic amounts of chemicals which he ate or failed to eat on that particular day.
I now make my living by being impolite. I am clumsy at it.
I think big business is a terrible thing for the spirit of the country, as our spirit is the best thing about us.
This country is being managed to death, being public related to death.
If you appear in the 'Atlantic' or 'Harper's' or the 'New Yorker,' by God, you must be a writer, because everybody says so.
I'm convinced that no one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all sides of a picture, forgiving all sins.
I hope to build a reputation as a science-fiction writer. That's the pitch. We'll see.
My cash cows, the slick magazines, were put out of business by TV.
I left the Middle West for Schenectady because the General Electric Company offered me a more congenial, better paying job than did anyone else.
I have no degree in biochemistry, neither do I have one in mechanical engineering, as the Army saw fit to terminate both courses before they were finished.
I was not an anthropology student prior to the war. I took it up as part of a personal readjustment following some bewildering experiences as an infantryman and later as a prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany. The science of the Study of Man has been extremely satisfactory from that personal standpoint.
A chaplain's assistant is customarily a figure of fun in the American Army.
I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.
Over the years, people I've met have often asked me what I'm working on, and I've usually replied that the main thing was a book about Dresden.
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.