It was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of the great Ray Bradbury. He was, without a doubt, one of the most imaginative, eloquent, and interesting writers of the 20th century, and his influence has reached far and wide, and will continue to do so.
I read “The Martian Chronicles” when I was 12. It was the first real “Science Fiction” novel I read, and it had a profound influence on me. About 20 years later, I reread it, and it was like reading the book for the first time. At 12, I really didn’t appreciate Bradbury’s true gift for language, nor did I grasp the parallels with the discovery of America and the subsequent expansion. A remarkable book.
There is a lot of science fiction that has been so eclipsed by technology that it is almost difficult to read, but some of the work rises above that. Writers like Asimov, Heinlein, Ellison and, of course, Ray Bradbury transcend the advances in technology that might make other works laughable through the depth of storytelling, characters, use of language, and, in many ways, philosophy. They were not just good science fiction writers–they were great writers who rose above their genre, and Ray Bradbury looms over them all.
If it’s been a while, why not pick up a Bradbury novel and give it a go? You might be surprised at how “current” this “dated” fiction may seem. If “Farenheit 451” doesn’t make you stop and think about things in our world today, I’d be surprised.
It never ceases to amaze me how a pop singer can pass away (don’t get me wrong–a tragic thing) and that is all one hears about in the news for days or even weeks, but the passing of one of the great writers of our time gets little notice. I think it is something Ray might have written about. Maybe he did.