Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Passing of Ray Bradbury

Painting by Les Edwards

Ray Bradbury has died.  Age 91.  A long life that left an undeniable mark upon literature and media.  Growing up obsessed with science-fiction and horror, Ray Bradbury was one of my first genre loves.  Getting a hold of The October Country and The Martian Chronicles at the age of 12 or 13 was essential in my development of the Dork that writes for this blog today.  Stories like "The Emissary" and "The Veldt" still haunt me and as a budding wannabe writer it was easy to see his influence upon other author obsessions like Stephen King.

And then there's Something Wicked This Way Comes.  A perfect novel.  Quick wham bam reading.  It's at once sweet and nostalgic/warm and fuzzy...and then it turns dark, and scary as a nightmare.  Also a really fantastic film starring the shadowy Jonathan Pryce and the good-hearted Jason Robards.  A real must, if you haven't seen it already.

In the brief time I taught Middle School English & Creative Writing, Ray Bradbury was one of four authors I chose to force feed to my students (the other three were Harlan Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, and Ambrose Bierce).   One of my proudest moments of that oh-so-brief career was when one of my students asked to keep my copy of the Ray Bradbury Omnibus that I taught from, complete with highlights, notes, doodles, and underlines.  I was so surprised by his desire to continue down the Martian landscape that I just handed the book over, and I like to think that that student, a college graduate by this point (damn, that makes me feel real frickin' old) is still tearing through the pages of that big beast of a book.


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