I know I have posted a lot this week but there has been a lot to say. I wanted to post this yesterday but just had to get the feelings I expressed in my last post off my chest before I wrote anything else.
Ray Bradbury died this week. I had the honor to meet him briefly once. I was at a writer’s conference in California and I went mainly because he was the keynote speaker. I just realized that both of the main speakers at that conference are now dead. That seems a bit surreal to me.
When I met Mr. Bradbury, he came off as a genuine nice guy. He was already up in age but his mind was still going full speed. At the conference, I got him to sign a copy of The Martian Chronicles which is one of the prized possessions in my library. It is also one of the first books I ever read.
In a sign of how times have changed, I was required to read that when I was in Middle School. Today, teachers wouldn’t assign that until High School at the earliest. That probably is a statement about our educational system. I read that book the same year I read Les Miserables, another book that wouldn’t be assigned anymore.
I was fascinated by Martian Chronicles. I know Bradbury’s work influenced me then which means it shows up in my work now. I also firmly believe that Fahrenheit 451 ranks right up there with Orwell’s 1984 as one of the greatest political works of all time by a novelist. Bradbury wrote other famous pieces like the story Something Wicked This Way Comes and the screenplay for Moby Dick. He had his own tv series for years that featured his stories.
Farewell, Mr. Bradbury. You were a giant among writers and the field is certainly going to miss you.