Wednesday, June 06, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury has died.

He was 91.

I seem to recall Harlan Ellison once describing Ray Bradbury as the gateway drug science fiction junkies could safely give to friends to tempt them deeper into the genre.  Available (once upon a time) on any drug store spin rack, you could press "The Martian Chronicles" into a skeptic's hands and be assured that Ray's poetry would ensorcell them by the 3rd page.

He wrote about murderous winds and mesmerizing Martians.  Giant mushrooms and haunted crowds. He wrote one of the greatest, dystopian novels in the history of literature. He wrote about the perfect murder of that childhood bully who tormented you. He wrote of moaning sea monsters, the rebel act of remembering in the rubble of a bombed-out Chicago, and Saints who go around in their underwear (From "Christ, Old Student in a New School")

Oh come, please come, to the Poor Mouth Fair
Where the Saints kneel round in their underwear
And say out prayers that most need saying
For needful sinners who've forgotten praying;
And in every alcove and niche you spy
The living dead who envy the long since gone
Who never wished to die.
And from above a voice fused half in iron
Half in irony gives man a dreadful choice.
The role is his, it says, Man makes and loads his own strange dice,
They sum at his behest,
He dooms himself. He is his own sad jest.
Let go? Let be?
Why do you ask this gift from Me?
When, trussed and bound and nailed,
You sacrifice your life, your liberty
You hang yourself upon the tenterhook.
Pull free!

It was a book by Bradbury, "Dandelion Wine", that my 5th grade teacher pressed into my hands to help me ease the pain of being a smart, sensitive, relentlessly bullied outsider.

Above all other writers with whose stories I have fallen in love, Ray knew how my heart worked and always delivered lovely things there.

Ray Bradbury has died.

He was 91.

Here is a little taste of the man:

And here is a little taste of what came out of his pen:


Tata said...

Sorry, Drifty. It's a tough day.

brenda said...

Something wicked is coming. Perhaps it is already here.

damaged goods said...

i thought of you as soon as i heard. i wanted to see what you would post. i am not disappointed. sorry for all our loss, but thanks for your thoughts and voice.

Cirze said...

I am so sad.

He was a favorite of mine, an original and he will be missed.

Thanks for the update.


Anonymous said...

Our English teacher had the good sense to move "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" as close together as possible when she saw them on the reading list. It was fascinating to see how he had a parallel world, the continuity of which was woven through so many stories.

skaterina said...

Dandelion Wine / yep / i'll never forget it

StonyPillow said...

He will live forever.

StonyPillow said...

He will live forever.

Chicago Guy said...

With you driftglass

Anonymous said...

"Life has always been lying to ourselves."
-Ray Bradbury

Hal Rager said...

My dream of having dinner with Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhousen is forever gone.

Ormond Otvos said...

The Martian Chronicles weaved a landscape clear and sad. I'll never forget Bradbury. He made SF literature...

TheStone said...

Something Wicked, Dandelion Wine, et al-
The childhood that lives in my memories, as well as the one that I wish did.

Steve said...

My tribute here. He had a profound positive effect on many an unformed mind.

Anonymous said...

With The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury changed my life. I've found no other author who so accurately translated the human heart to the printed page.

Goodnight, Ray.

And thank you.

Professional Left Podcast #602

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” -- Zen saying Don't forge...