The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.’
~ from Fahrenheit 451
I woke up to the news that Ray Bradbury, one of the hugest icons in Science Fiction, had died. This has been a horrible year for book lovers. We have lost Maurice Sendak, Carlos Fuentes, Lee Dillon, Jean Craighead George and others. While these authors and illustrators have lived long and full lives, bringing wonder, enjoyment and beauty to millions of people, they are deeply missed and their passing felt keenly.
A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?
~ From Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury was a huge influence on me and to all AmoXcalli’s writers. One of the first books I read of his was Fahrenheit 451 and it made me think. It was my first experience with dystopia and was one of the reasons I took television away from my own children years later (they still grumble about it 20 years later but they are prodigious readers). After Fahrenheit, I fell in love with Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I can’t imagine a life without those well worn covers on my shelves or a life without his gift for words and language or his flair for styling a story.
We’re nothing more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise.” — Granger from Fahrenheit 451
Others from AmoXcalli will be posting their own thoughts and, as is our custom, we will be collecting links about him here. Rest in peace Ray Bradbury and thank you for a lifetime of beautiful words. I like to think that he followed the Transit of Venus and left this world piloting the planet as it crossed the sun.
The first book I read by Ray Bradbury was Something Wicked This Way Comes. I remembered liking the book, but didn’t retain remembering who wrote it. I saw it mainly as “just one of those books I was assigned”. It wouldn’t be until years later when another book – again assigned as reading, but this time in high school – would make an impact forever.
This would be the first time I ever read a required book in school that made me cry. Ever since sixth grade I knew with conviction I wanted to be a writer. So now I found myself reading a book proposing a world in which the written word is destroyed. The thought that anyone might even want to do that was devastating enough; the fact Bradbury created such a world where it seemed possible with such believability amazed me. It also changed my definitions of what I perceived as “science fiction” – another fact for which I am forever grateful. Also, when I was reminded that he’d written Something Wicked This Way Comes, this also impressed me. I’ve now never forgotten that book.
My exposure to Ray Bradbury’s worked increased greatly once I moved to Los Angeles. It turns out that my longtime friend and now fiance’ Kevin Paul Shaw Broden considers Mr. Bradbury to be one of his most favorite authors. Through Kevin, I finally gained exposure to The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Toynbee Convector… and more I can’t think of right now. I still can’t believe Ray Bradbury’s gone.
Every year, Kevin and I made sure that on our list of things to do at Comic-Con, we always went to the Ray Bradbury panel. This year we’ll be fitting in the tribute panel, I suspect. It better be Standing Room Only. Mr. Bradbury deserved no less.
A few years back when Worldcon was in Anaheim, I also went to Mr. Bradbury’s panel there. Afterwards as we all filed out, he came out the door near where I was and some people approached him and started crowding around. Part of me wanted to go up to him – he was so very close – but for some reason I didn’t want to crowd him there in the Convention Center hall. I think part of me will always regret that.
Farewell, Ray Bradbury.
— Shannon Muir, Writer/Reviewer for AmoXcalli
Watch this wonderful little documentary, Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer by David L. Wolper.