Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury....

Ray Bradbury has died…. This means something to me.

When I was a grade schooler and well on the road to a lifetime of science geekdom, Bradbury gave me a view into worlds I wouldn’t otherwise have even known or perhaps wouldn’t have seen so clearly. His work was simple clear, and precise and yet richly layered and textural, and he had an understanding of the human psyche that spilled over into his prose. And his works, his unique way of seeing…. Along with fellow rule-breakers Asimov and Matheson and Heinlein, Bradbury seemed to refuse categorization, transcending the bounds between fiction, horror, dystopia, fantasy, and sci-fi, his works underpinned with social commentary. It opened the universe to this young reader, and I’ve never put him down. I’ve walked with Bradbury through a future when people no longer walked and were arrested for doing so. I’ve watched him burn books; traveled to a tall, golden-eyed Mars; wished my bedroom wall would dissolve into the veldt; sipped dandelion wine; felt soft rains; polished the fruit at the bottom of the bowl; longed for a rocket ship to land in the back yard; and recognized that something wicked might come this way, the man with spiders in his fists and darkness in his heart.

Bradbury stretched out my world and made it deliciously terrifying. He gave me that first sense, that first awareness that all was most definitely not as it seemed and that what lurked and wriggled under the surface was the most fascinating of all…. It was a loss of innocence, and I was never the same. Thank you, Ray. I’m going to read some of your stories today. I’m not ready to join you on the carousel yet, though. Some day….

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