Gary Shteyngart at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
July 5, 1972 
That's what I always liked about science fiction – you can make the world end. Humour is my multiple warhead delivery system.
In America, everyone writes but no one reads. Everyone's writing all day long – sending emails, tweets, text messages; they all think they're James Cameron's Avatar, performing in some video game for which they make up the script.
Good fiction makes me turn off all the other parts of my brain, so that I become quiet and submissive, entirely at the mercy of the work at hand.
You want to read a book? That requires introspection. It requires time away from people and time away from the constant need to communicate and to connect.
Without humor, I cannot go on and I doubt many of my readers would go on either. Humor is so important. I am here to have fun here with my work.
I love things on the decline because that's really the natural progression of our lives. We're born, we're feisty for the first couple of years, and then the inevitable decline begins.
A lot of the ways of advertising a book – the cover, whether somebody sees it on a subway or sees it in a bookstore – those things are going to rapidly diminish as we move to an electronic model.
I think what will happen is that fiction will become more like poetry. As in, the only people who read it will write it.
I like the map feature on the iPhone that tells me where I am, because I travel a lot.
I just want fiction to remain a vital force for entertainment and not just for contemplation. Both things can exist.
When civilization takes a nose dive, how can you look away? You've got to be there. You've got to be at the bottom of the swimming pool taking notes.
If I still lived in Russia, I'd be dead… or a really effective oligarch.
Communications devices were always used to effect change, to effect revolution. Telephone, telegraph – these all seemed like very big enhancements at the time.
I'd love to have a 19th Century Russian book club where all the members had to act like the pretentious minor noblemen they were reading about.
I was very, very sick when I was growing up in Russia. The ambulance constantly came to our house. I had horrible asthma that is easily treated in America, but they didn't even have inhalers back in Russia.
I always think that good writers should be growing up on the brink of death – it really lets them see mortality very clearly.
I write almost entirely in bed or on a couch with my feet up on the coffee table. I feel most creative when I'm looking out the window, and my bed and couch have nice views of the New York skyline.
I love Paul Giamatti – God, that man is like a walking Chekhov. His connection to humanity is unbelievable, and those feelings of low self-esteem – the way that all comes together on the screen? Delicious.
In a strange way, I expected Russia to become more like America since the Soviet Union collapsed, but the reverse is true. America has become more like Russia: a kleptocratic society.
I read real books. On paper. You know, those printed books? I feel like this is the last thing I do to support my industry. I think they smell great, too.
I took an acting class with Louise Lasser, Woody Allen's first wife and co-star in many movies. I've done some other indie films, if you look on the YouTube. I love acting – it's great.
I have a love/hate relationship with just about everything, but certainly with America.
Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it's important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
The best thing about the iPhone is this that tells me where I am all the time. There's never a need to feel lost anymore.