Saturday, June 9, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Like most of the world I was saddened to hear of the death of author Ray Bradbury earlier this week. He was 91 though, so that's a pretty good run. It's sad, but realistically you can't ask for much more than that!

I discovered the works of Mr. Bradbury through my local library when I was a kid, as did most people. He had a big influence on my back then, and I'm sure a few tiny molecules of his style have seeped into my brain and are being filtered into my writing to this day. Not that I'm anywhere close to his level, mind you. Just saying he was a big influence on an entire generation is all.

As a sci-fi fan I much preferred stories such as The Martian Chronicles and A Sound of Thunder over his more folksy works such as Dandelion Wine. I was a dumb kid back then though, so I ought to go back and read the rest of his work; no doubt I'd get more out of it now anyway.

I never met Mr. Bradbury, but I did attend a lecture he gave here in town back in 1997. He was quite a spellbinding speaker and rambled from topic to topic for a much too short two hours. 

My favorite anecdote that he told that night: His agent called him one day and asked him if he'd be interested in writing the screenplay for John Huston's movie of Moby Dick. Mr. Bradbury said sure and the agent said he'd arrange everything. A few minutes later his wife heard him rummaging around in his study and came in to see what he was doing. He said he was looking for a copy of Moby Dick that he was sure he owned, because he'd never actually read the book and figured he'd better get started!

Bradbury said it was a tough row to hoe and took him eight months to write the screenplay. As someone who's unsuccessfully tried to slog through that book at least twice, I can relate!

In his later years Mr. Bradbury was quite vehement in his disdain for the internet, saying that he believed it to be the cause of just about all our social ills, and he absolutely refused to let any of his works be reproduced online or made available on eReaders. I wonder now if his works will finally be made available for download, or if he left instructions to the contrary with his estate?

Whatever the outcome, the world has lost yet another talent. Sadly, I don't see anyone else stepping up to take his place.

3 comments:

  1. Ray's light burns on in his work. He was an incredibly positive force and a personality to be admired.

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  2. Apparently he OK'd e-text versions of his books last year, when his contract with his publisher was renewed. You can already buy them for the kindle and the nook.

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  3. @Dr. OTR: Glad to see he relented. I can understand his reasons for not wanting his work digitally reproduced, but making it available for eReaders is going to help bring his stories to people who otherwise probably wouldn't read them.

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