Monday, June 11, 2012

Ray Bradbury: 1920 - 2012

Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury was frighteningly correct about the future.

He surmised, in his most notable work from my teenage days, Fahrenheit 451, that TV would cause our lives to devolve into factoids minus context. I live with his warning at the front of the line of all useless stuff rambling around in my head. But rest assured Ray, I only let that stuff out when there is something to chew on. Thanks for the warning. RIP.

James C. Collier

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3 comments:

Jim-Jim said...

Ray Bradbury was a genius. Science fiction is a genre that is looked down upon in some quarters, but when it's good it has a visionary quality. Such was the case with R.B.

Loren said...

Ray Bradbury was one of the most morally concerned, confrontational and daring writers in American literature regardless of genre. I will never, ever forget how stunned I was to read the "Way In The Middle Of The Air" episode in that gloriously poetic novel, "The Martian Chronicles." The story squarely confronts the endemic, violent racism of the Jim Crow era in the deep south as it describes the migration of impoverished blacks to the planet Mars.

He held up another mirror on racism in America in another challenging story, "The Other Foot," that appeared in "The Illustrated Man." In that story a group of black settlers on Mars are nearly aroused to mob action as they contemplate the lynching of a white astronaut who fled to Mars in the wake of a global nuclear holocaust that utterly destroyed the Earth. The premise -- black revenge against whites -- any whites -- for past racial injustices was shocking and absolutely unthinkable when I read it back in the 1960’s, It certainly brought home the urgency of the Civil Rights movement that was raging across the land during that turbulent time.

Mr. Bradbury’s boldness in his selection and treatment of such provocative, disturbing subject matter, his unsparing insistence that his readers come to terms with the man-made evil of their time, was exhilarating and challenging, even as he wove strands of fantastic and futuristic imagery into his often bluntly realistic narratives. I believe absolutely and unhesitatingly that his imaginative writing made me curious about the “real” world, while at the same time saturating my literary senses with some of the most gorgeous, sensuous and illuminating prose I’ve ever encountered in the English language.

For me, Ray Bradbury will never be 'dead" -- just working on another plane of existence somewhere.

Loren said...

Ray Bradbury was one of the most morally concerned, confrontational and daring writers in American literature regardless of genre. I will never, ever forget how stunned I was to read the "Way In The Middle Of The Air" episode in that gloriously poetic novel, "The Martian Chronicles." The story squarely confronts the endemic, violent racism of the Jim Crow era in the deep south as it describes the migration of impoverished blacks to the planet Mars.

He held up another mirror on racism in America in another challenging story, "The Other Foot," that appeared in "The Illustrated Man." In that story a group of black settlers on Mars are nearly aroused to mob action as they contemplate the lynching of a white astronaut who fled to Mars in the wake of a global nuclear holocaust that utterly destroyed the Earth. The premise -- black revenge against whites -- any whites -- for past racial injustices was shocking and absolutely unthinkable when I read it back in the 1960’s, It certainly brought home the urgency of the Civil Rights movement that was raging across the land during that turbulent time.

Mr. Bradbury’s boldness in his selection and treatment of such provocative, disturbing subject matter, his unsparing insistence that his readers come to terms with the man-made evil of their time, was exhilarating and challenging, even as he wove strands of fantastic and futuristic imagery into his often bluntly realistic narratives. I believe absolutely and unhesitatingly that his imaginative writing made me curious about the “real” world, while at the same time saturating my literary senses with some of the most gorgeous, sensuous and illuminating prose I’ve ever encountered in the English language.

For me, Ray Bradbury will never be 'dead" -- just working on another plane of existence somewhere.