Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Legendary Writer Passes

By now, I imagine all of you have heard that Ray Bradbury passed on June 5. He would have been 92 this coming August. Honestly, there is not a single person on the planet who reads science fiction, writes it, or watches it on television, film, or in video games, whose life was not touched by Bradbury, and for the better. The New York Times credits him with bringing science fiction into the literary mainstream, and I think they are absolutely right. Although the Bradbury book which made the strongest impression on me at first was The Martian Chronicles, I think the one which left a more lasting memory was Something Wicked This Way Comes. It taught me that prose -- even fantasy and science fiction -- can be lyrical, that how you say something often communicates your meaning far better than what you say.

It's strange that just a few days ago I was writing about Edgar Rice Burroughs, certainly my favorite author as a youngster. Now I discover (I hadn't know this before) that ERB was Bradbury's favorite author as a youngster as well. What does ERB's prose have in common with Bradbury's? Nothing that I can see, aside from each writer having a powerful sense of adventure. I suppose that shows a talent like Bradbury's can draw inspiration from a source without ever simply imitating it. I also discovered Bradbury was a life-long friend of the film maker and special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, another big, big influence in my young life. No wonder I liked so much of Bradbury's writing.

Rest in peace, Ray.

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