Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Farewell to Ray Bradbury

I like Science Fiction. Among all my medieval authors, I keep many books from authors like Kurt Vonnegut, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury among others. Yesterday Ray Bradbury died at the ripe old age of 91. I will not weep because I think 91 is a good age in which to die, especially if he had good quality of life. The obituaries call him the author of Fahrenheit 451 but he also wrote The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes as well as several excellent books of short stories. Two of my favorite stories are "A Medicine for Melancholy" and "The Wind".
Around 1970, when I was a child, my father was taking us for a cross country trip and we stopped to camp overnight near Dryden Ontario. It is so far from everything and is in the heart of blackfly country. I know it was near Dryden because earlier that day I had stepped on a broken beer bottle that some one had tossed into a lake and I shredded my foot on it. The nearest hospital was an hour away in Dryden. That night, I was laying awake well past the time I should be sleeping and my parents were listening to the CBC which was probably all you could get out there for radio. Back in those days, they still put on radio plays and they were listening to this spooky story about a man who was being pursued by the wind, which was intelligent and trying to kill him. Imagine being a kid, listening to this story alone in the dark, in the northern Canadian wilderness. I had chills up and down my spine. Then my parents went to bed and shut the radio off before the play was over and I could not even protest because I was supposed to be sleeping. Then, years later, I discovered Bradbury's writing and was reading all his works, book by book, when I found the short story "The Wind" in The October Country. It was my radio play and at last I was able to find out how it ended.
Thank you Ray Bradbury for an awesome memory and rest in peace. You earned it.


Anachronist said...

A lovely post although a bit sad. I've never read anything by this writer but now I might!

The Red Witch said...

I thought it was a happy memory. Except for the foot shredding incident. If you are going to read a book, Fahrenheit 451 is his most recognized and might be easier for you to find but I really loved the wistful atmosphere of Dandelion Wine. There were all good.

Anonymous said...

Excellent tribute. I will have to read more Bradbury. I think the only book I've read was Dandelion Wine. I loved the title and the book. I have Farenheit 451 but I haven't read it. I guess it is time to take that off the shelf and give it a go.

Kristin said...

When I was in 7th grade, our whole English class drew and painted a mural of The Long Rain. It hung in the entrance for the entire school year.

He was the very best of a whole genre of fantastic writers.

The Red Witch said...

I have read The Long Rain but, when you mentioned it, I thought of the wrong story. Good thing I got out The Illustrated Man and had a look to remind myself.
What did the mural look like? The Venusian landscape is described as lacking color.

@I have Farenheit 451 but I haven't read it.
I have always thought if someone was actively burning all the books and Lord of the Rings was burned, I could recreate them because I know the books so well.