I had plans about various blog entries I would write this week, and I still hope to write them, but they must wait while we mourn the passing Ray Bradbury, one of the stars of science fiction, and one of my personal heroes.
I wonder how many others can say they read the Sara Teasdale poem before discovering the Bradbury story “There Will Come Soft Rains.” I was a poet back then, and Bradbury’s writing crossed that boundary so easily, constantly defying the prosaic. Sometimes, these verbal fireworks could be a little much and must return to earth, but for soaring, there is nothing like Bradbury.
My family library includes an anthology with a title something like Wonder Stories for Youth (which an educated literary historian could probably date just by that title). It included an excerpt from Dandelion Wine, which may be what got me hooked. I read the other greats, the ABC’s (Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke), but it was Bradbury I returned to over and over.
At LACON IV, the Worldcon in Anaheim a few years ago, Bradbury came as a special guest. You had to choose whether to stand in the autograph line or to attend his talk–I went for the talk. He opened by saying that he remembered his entire life, including being born, and the way that he spoke of it, I came to believe that this was true. He was a marvelous speaker, an extraordinary writer, an inspiration to generations of writers.
Bradbury has said that his own start came when a magician tapped him during a performance and said, “Live Forever!” And he will–not only in his work, but in the hearts of those he fired up and aimed toward the stars.