RIP, Ray Bradbury: Dreams never die

Photo by Alan Light

Ray Bradbury, one of our greatest writers and fantasists, died yesterday at age 91.

Most famous for Fahrenheit 451, an all too prescient future where books are burned because every idea offends someone, somewhere, Mr. Bradbury leaves behind a body of work that taught generations how to dream, and defined wonder in a world where miracles and accomplishments have become commodotized and only appreciated for the money they make.

I’d read his short stories before, and the first was either “All Summer in a Day,” about kids who live on a planet where the sun is only visible for a few hours every seven years, or “There Will Come Soft Rains,” about an automated house left running after humanity has wiped itself out in a nuclear war. Neither is about what I just said, really. They are fantastic embodiments of the world he imagined, for the story to exist at all. Summer is about being a kid, and Rains is about what we leave behind. Bradbury was a genius, and I leave it to better writers to explain it.

Something Wicked This Way Comes changed forever how I think of carnivals. The Martian Chronicles, which I bullheadedly avoided for years because I was “burnt out on space travel stories,” amazed me, and haunts me still. To read Ray Bradbury is to be a child again, exploring a world of wonder with an adult’s understanding. He has left such large footprints that I won’t say that the world is a lesser place for his passing. It is a better one, for having been trod upon by his gargantuan imagination.



7 thoughts on “RIP, Ray Bradbury: Dreams never die

  1. “Dark They Were and Golden-eyed,” was the story that turned me into a hard-core Bradbury fan. I remember reading it out loud to my baby sister. Every time she would wiggle, I’d kick her and insist, “Listen.” I think that story triggered a revelation in my child mind that stories could be bigger and more beautiful than mere words on the page.

    RIP, Mr. Bradbury.

  2. I remember that one. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Martian Chronicles, but I loved it.

  3. Like Heath Lowrance said elsewhere, the death of famous people usually doesn’t get to me. And, honestly, at the risk of sounding like an ass, I’m always a little amused when it’s a writer. The sudden outpouring of “oh, he was so important to me” by other writers feels disingenuous.

    But not with Bradbury.

    His loss, I think, is honestly heart wrenching and universal. Unless you’ve managed to go through life without ever reading anything at all, you went through a Bradbury phase. It doesn’t matter what you like to read or what you like to write. You went through a Bradbury phase and he got you. At least once. He got you in a way no other writer ever could.

    • I don’t know if ALL readers went through a phase, but they should have. And most readers who became writers sure did!

  4. You’ve inspired me to read his work. I’d heard of him but never read any of his books. sad that it takes a death for people to take notice of something/somebody.

    Great post, buddy.

    • He did write a crime novel, Death is a Lonely Business. Something Wicked This Way Comes is a fantastic coming of age horror novel. His short stories are lessons, and beautiful to read.

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