Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

We lost one of the great luminaries of our time, a man whose prolific works and blinding imagination provided with my generation, as well as many others, with visions of Mars, dystopian futures, demented carnivals and Halloween trees.  He took us to space and beyond, showed us the strange and macabre here on earth, and delved into the mysterious and weird with devilish glee.  His name was Ray Bradbury.

If you've never read Ray Bradbury's work, you can officially consider yourself ignorant.  Whether it was Fahrenheit 451 in high school, or Something Wicked This Way Comes as a child, his work introduced me to wonderful worlds and fantastic characters that stick with me to this day.

I don't believe I'm overstating his worth when I say we would not be where we are, as a society, without this man's imagination.  He gave us our vision of Martians.  He warned us of the dangers of book-burning and censorship.  He gave us stories in which tattoos told stories and made us fear the sound of thunder and wish for an ice-cream suit.  If you've ever been afraid to be taken to into Dark's Carnival, or watched the Twillight Zone, or wished for an electric grandmother, you've been touched by Ray's genius.

I first encountered Ray's work with the movie adaptation of his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes (Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce 1983) when I was twelve years old.  I was fascinated and terrified by Mr. Dark and his nefarious circus, but when I came home, my brother suggested I try reading the book.  At the time, I wasn't much of a reader, but I sat down in a comfy chair and read it.  Cover to cover.  His writing style spoke to me, his characters stood in the same room, behind the chair and loomed over my tiny body, and I felt the little giggle of nervous fear bubble inside of me with every word.  After that, I sought out his work at our pitiful local library and read The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles.  Anything with his name attached to it, I read, saw, watched, and absorbed.  The man was a literary giant to me.  Still is, and will be for the rest of my life.

For those who have not read much of his work, there is a lot of it to read.  Do yourself a favor and dive into his catalogue of work.  You won't be disappointed.

Good night sir.  May flights of Martians fly you into the stars to your rest.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit I have not read a lot of Ray Bradbury's work. Your posting made me go back to the bookstore and pick up a few more of his stories. So I'm not 'officially' ignorant since I've read "Something Wicked This Way Comes," but I'm mostly ignorant. A state of existence I shall remedy while on the plane headed for Pittsburgh on Monday. Thank you. :)