quotes of The Arts


Avoid A Void
This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to art and to
eroticism, and then come languor and decay.
—H. G.Wells, The Time Machine: An Invention (1895)

Once there was a race, quite unlike the human race—quite. I have no way
of describing to you what they looked like or how they lived, but they had
one characteristic you can understand: they were creative. The creating and
enjoying of works of art was their occupation and their reason for being.
—Robert A. Heinlein, ‘‘The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag’’

I chose the world’s great literature, and painting, and sculpture, and music—
those mediums which best portray man lifting to the stars.
—Mark Clifton, ‘‘What Have I Done?’’ (1952)

The moment when one first meets a great work of art has an impact that can
never again be recaptured.
—Arthur C. Clarke, ‘‘Jupiter Five’’ (1953)

I think great art should play a part in the ordinary man’s life, don’t you?
It can make his existence so much richer and more meaningful.
—Philip K. Dick, Eye in the Sky (1957)

Around the time of the Terran Caesar Augustus, a Martian artist had been
composing a work of art. It could have been called a poem, a musical opus,
or a philosophical treatise; it was a series of emotions arranged in tragic,
logical necessity. Since it could be experienced by a human only in the sense
in which a man blind from birth might have a sunset explained to him, it
does not matter which category it be assigned.
—Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

One does have to learn to look at art. But it’s up to the artist to use language
that can be understood. Most of these jokers don’t want to use language you
and I can learn; they would rather sneer because we ‘‘fail’’ to see what they
are driving at. If anything. Obscurity is the refuge of incompetence.
—Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Life is short, he thought. Art, or something not life, is long, stretching out
endless, like [a] concrete worm. Flat, white, unsmoothed by any passage over
or across it.
—Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)

There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe. It has symmetry,
elegance, and grace—those qualities you find always in that which the true
artist captures. You can find it in the turning of the seasons, in the way sand
trails along a ridge, in the branch clusters of the creosote bush or the pattern
of its leaves.We try to copy these patterns in our lives and our society,
seeking the rhythms, the dances, the forms that comfort. Yet, it is possible
to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection. It is clear that the ultimate
pattern contains its own fixity. In such perfection, all things move toward
—Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)

Science explains the world, but only Art can reconcile us to it.
—Stanislaw Lem, ‘‘King Globares and the Sages’’ (1965), translated by
Michael Kandel (1977)

All art is a form of controlled schizophrenia.
—William F. Temple, ‘‘The Legend of Ernie Deacon’’ (1965)

An artist’s life is supposed to lead toward his masterpiece, not away from it.
—John Sladek, ‘‘The Happy Breed’’ (1967)

Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed
here for the first time. Each is a collectors’ item in its own way—not
because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas,
and suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.
—Rod Serling, Night Gallery (TV movie, 1969)

The laborers—the Producers—of the world had gotten fed up with doing
all the work while a large portion of the population—the gorram *****
Artists—did nothing but eat up all the fruits of honest nine to five work.
Artists contributed nothing, and wasted large amounts of our precious
—George Alec Effinger, ‘‘All the Last Wars at Once’’ (1971)

How could she have believed such an artificial life as the theatre was suitable?
—Anne McCaffrey, ‘‘Prelude to a Crystal Song’’ (1974)

She danced because she needed to. She needed to say things which could
be said in no other way, and she needed to take her meaning and her living
from the saying of them.
—Spider Robinson and Jeanne Robinson, ‘‘Stardance’’ (1977)

All the history of the stage is a struggle, the gasping of a beautiful child born
at the point of death. The moralists, censorship and oppression, technology,
and now poverty have all tried to destroy her. Only we, the actors and
audiences, have kept her alive.
—GeneWolfe, ‘‘Seven American Nights’’ (1978)

‘‘Actors,’’ said Granny, witheringly. ‘‘As if the world weren’t full of enough
history without inventing more.’’
—Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters (1988)

We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers.We study the mysteries of
laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations of
equations. These are the tools we employ and we know many things.
—J. Michael Straczynski, ‘‘The Geometry of Shadows,’’ episode of
Babylon 5 (1994)

The artist had captured a moment that went on suggesting other moments
in the mind of the beholder. This, Timmon told me, was what every painter,
every singer, every craftsman sought to create.
—Jim Grimsley, ‘‘Free in Asveroth’’ (1998)