Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Farewell, Fantasist and Hero

I was especially saddened today to read in the L.A. Times that noted author and fantasist Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91. He was, almost to the day, two years older than my dad.

Bradbury was a tremendous influence on me. His Greentown was idyllic, and the strange and wonderful things that happened in his stories never failed to connect with me in powerful ways. I loved his prose and the worlds it created. And I always found great pleasure in reading his short nonfiction pieces, as well.

I was fascinated to read about his adventures designing for the World’s Fair and the Spaceship Earth ride (generally known as the giant golf ball) at Disney’s Epcot Center, and writing the screenplay of Moby Dick for John Huston.

I added his name to the Wish List on my TiVo and periodically caught episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater or recorded The Illustrated Man or the 1966 film of Fahrenheit 451.

Though noted for tales of Martians and other science fiction tropes, Bradbury’s writings including horror, mystery, and humor. His fiction often served as commentary on human behavior (even if he was writing about Martian behavior).

In 2009, Bradbury said (according to the L.A. Times): “What I have always been is a hybrid author. I am completely in love with movies, and I am completely in love with theater, and I am completely in love with libraries.”

A note on his website today includes a quote from his book of essays, Bradbury Speaks: “In my later years, I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back.”

Farewell, Ray.

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