Thursday, June 7, 2012

Goodbye Ray Bradbury

The world lost Ray Bradbury yesterday but he left a rich body of work. He had been writing for decades and his work is one that explores the nature of man while taking a look at futures that may not be pretty but are all too real based on the world we live in today. He wrote about books being burned which is something that routinely goes on today. He wrote about the colonization of Mars which is not so unrealistic as it once was. There are many works one could talk about when discussing his writing; Something Wicked this way Comes, "The Illustrated Man", The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451The Halloween Tree, etc. I could spend many blogs just beginning to cover part of what he had done.

His work had a lot to admire.  "It was a pleasure to burn" is still one of my favorite quotes. This novel, Fahrenheit 451, turned things on a head since firemen were not there to help but to destroy. Bradbury did this a lot. Take something ordinary and change it to extraordinary.

I think his greatest asset was his characters. His storytelling really shone through the people populating his stories especially in works such as From the Dust Returned. Where else could one see people we define as monsters as a tight knit family who love and support each other? Don't we all want environments where we are accepted and appreciated? Bradbury did that. The family was not what we could call conventional but they were still a family.

How can you not admire a character, Charles Halloway,  who defies having his deepest wish granted while all those around him are succumbing? The protagonist saw through the promises and stood firm. One has to wonder how many of us would have the same resolve in Something Wicked this way Comes.

If you have never read "The Veldt"  you need to. It was the first thing of Mr. Bradburys that I read and still haunts me at times.

I never met him but I wish I had. The only contact I had with him came through the mail. I was finishing my senior work at college as I wrote a paper about Poe being the father of modern horror. I sent letters to several authors asking how Poe had influenced their writing. Only one author responded to my inquiry Ray Bradbury. His typed letter described what an influence Poe was and how Mr. Bradbury continued that with his continuation of "House of Usher".

Now I think I need to send out letters to current authors to ask how they were influenced by Ray Bradbury. The answer should be "enormously".

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