As many of you may already know, Ray Bradbury passed away today at the age of 91. His works have stimulated our minds, inspired us to look into the future and allowed us to lose ourselves in the depth of his storytelling. Unlike many other wonderful writers who often leave us wanting more only to find we have devoured all they had created, Mr. Bradbury prolific career left hundreds of stories in which we can continue to enjoy and delve into his boundless imagination for many years to come.
What are your favorites? What do you remember of the man and his writings?
Below are 3 articles I have collected today from the expanse of pieces remembering the man. I think they provide some memorable insights into the person he was, his writings and his ability to envision the not too distant future.
A man who won’t forget Ray Bradbury
Yesterday afternoon I was in a studio recording an audiobook version of short story I had written for Ray Bradbury‘s 90th birthday. It’s a monologue called The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, and was a way of talking about the impact that Ray Bradbury had on me as a boy, and as an adult, and, as far as I could, about what he had done to the world. And I wrote it last year as a love letter and as a thank you and as a birthday present for an author who made me dream, taught me about words and what they could accomplish, and who never let me down as a reader or as a person as I grew up.
Last week, at dinner, a friend told me that when he was a boy of 11 or 12 he met Ray Bradbury. When Bradbury found out that he wanted to be a writer, he invited him to his office and spent half a day telling him the important stuff: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Every day. Whether you feel like it or not. That you can’t write one book and stop. That it’s work, but the best kind of work. My friend grew up to be a writer, the kind who writes and supports himself through writing.
Ray Bradbury was the kind of person who would give half a day to a kid who wanted to be a writer when he grew up.
Ray Bradbury essentials to reread, or read for the first time
There’s simply not enough time to read Ray Bradbury’s entire body of work (even if you don’t have a fireman with a flamethrower banging on your door), so why not zero in on some of the books that stunned audiences and laid the foundation of his fame? Here are a few suggestions:
“The Martian Chronicles” (1950): Bradbury was a young, hungry writer with stories appearing in various magazines when he published this novelistically arranged collection of stories. The red planet fascinated Bradbury. The notion of colonizing Mars was less inspired by wild speculation than by the bleak cloud of nuclear war hanging over the world in the years when the stories were written and the book was published.
“Fahrenheit 451” (1953): Bradbury moved from colonizing Mars to contemplating a bleak future society in which book-burning is almost as American as Mom and apple pie. Readers follow one of these burners, the “fireman” Guy Montag, as Bradbury peels back the layers of a society in which movies and TV (and a tendency toward reality TV-like hype) are welcomed by the public and books are greeted with contempt and suspicion by all but a few. The book’s tone is somber and desperate, strange and surreal, and its focus upon the issue of censorship is impossible to avoid. [Later Bradbury commented that the story was more about his fear that television would replace the printed book. This makes more sense after remembering the Chief sitting in Montag’s bedroom telling him how firemen began starting fires rather than stopping them.]
“Something Wicked This Way Comes” (1962): It all begins with a stirring of leaves and an approaching storm. The device of a sinister carnival has been used by many writers — as recently as Erin Morgenstern for her bestseller “The Night Circus” — but Bradbury deserves the patent for this tale of a supernatural showdown set under the big top. Here readers meet the carnival’s terrifying leader, Mr. Dark, who offers reclaimed youth to visitors (not always a good thing) and who wants more from Will and Jim, two Midwestern boys, than just the cost of a carnival admission ticket.
Ray Bradbury: 10 of his most prescient predictions
The imaginative Pulitzer Prize-winning author often wrote about the intersection of technology and modern life. Here, The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama identifies 10 ways in which the novelist foresaw the trends and gadgets of the digital era.