Thursday, June 7, 2012

A brief tribute to the stories of Ray Bradbury

I came to Ray Bradbury at what is likely a later age than most. I never had to read Fahrenheit 451 in school; if I read one of his short stories as a student I have no recollection. Several years ago, in a desire to start filling in some gaps I had in classic genre fiction, I gave Fahrenheit 451 a try. It was a powerful read and made a profound impact on me. It prompted me to seek out more Bradbury—and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Since then I’ve marveled in the wonders of Dandelion Wine, The Golden Apples of the Sun, The October Country, The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Martian Chronicles. If somehow you haven’t read any Bradbury yet my advice is to pick any of the above titles and dive in. I’d recommend one over the others, but there’s no need: They’re all pretty much brilliant. You won’t be disappointed.

I’ve always been a little leery of science fiction and have read far more deeply of fantasy. Rightly or wrongly, my perception is that SF worships at the altar of technology, and is fixated upon cold, clinical subject matter for which I have little interest. But if the genre contained more books like The Martian Chronicles, I might view it a lot differently (a parenthetical aside: Though it may be the subject of a catchy song, to call Bradbury “the greatest sci-fi writer in history” isn’t accurate. Dark fantasy, horror, soft sci-fi, traditional literary fiction—Bradbury has written in them all, and sometimes all at once. He is in many ways genre-defying). Bradbury’s stories are in tune with our humanity and his fiction is life affirming. They remind us that We’re human, and we’re alive, damn it. Bradbury often said that he loved life and was driven to write not only by his love of libraries and of reading, but of the very act of living itself. And that’s potent fuel for a lifetime of stories.

To read the rest of this post, visit The Black Gate website.


Michal said...

My first Bradbury was "The Fog Horn" in grade 6. A great short story, that one.

Brian Murphy said...

That was a great one.