I was going to do another episode of Fantastic Journey Magazine, but I think for today I just want to write about the death of Ray Bradbury. I never met the man. I wanted to, and if all had gone to plan would have tried to presented him a comic next year at San Diego. It looks like it’s not going to happen. So I’m going to say right now that I know there are those who have met him and that there are those who do miss him a lot more then I ever will. To them I say I’m truly sorry for your loss.
I can only speak of what impact he had on me.
He’s the reason I love science fiction. Which is funny because he never really wrote it. That was the dirty little secret the science fiction community always seems to forget, but truthfully Ray was never interested in how something worked. Rarely (if ever) did you ever see him waste time describing the machine down to the tiniest detail. But if it wasn’t for me picking up the Martian Chronicles when I was teenager I never would have fallen in love with the artform as much.
Ray Bradbury was a man filled with joy and wonder. Each story I’ve read by him took me to new and fantastic places. Whether I was reading about Mars or Dandelion Wine I was in another world – there was a kind of magic in the air when you read his pieces. I was once was told that joy was the hardest thing to write. He made it look so easy. I imagine joy came to him not in small burst but great and constant gulp fuls. He wrote like a man who loved life and wanted you to share it.
Mars may have captured my imagination and make me explores the worlds of people like Asimov and Edgar Rice Burroughs, but it was Bradbury whom I dwelled on the most. Fahrenheit 451 was the first and only book to truly scare me. This is a true love letter to reading and the nightmare of going without it, surrounded by television. I just heard at my dayjob they are trying to do multiple takes of a scene and have each one take place on different mediums. I laughed. I first saw of that idea here in this book.
He was fascinated with death. Stories like From the Dust Returned and Something Wicked This Way Comes were interesting takes on it. Yet his messages about life were truly the most inspiring.
My all time favorite story of Bradbury’s? A Sound Of Thunder is still my all time favorite time travel story. Yet I think Quid Pro Quo was the one that really touched me. Quid Pro Quo is another time travel story. In it the main character meets his future self who warns him that if he keeps not using the gifts he has, he will become bitter and be forced to travel back to meet himself. It was a warning and one I took to heart.
We have gifts, hopes, talents and dreams and we have to dare to use them. Life is short. Tomorrow I too may go into death’s embrace. My next breath may be my last. I have only the gifts I know I have, and while I’m here now I need to use them. This more than anything is the message that I got from reading him. Life is a short and wondrous ride, enjoy it while you are here and never ever let it pass you by.
So with all that said, as stated, there will be others that will miss him more. Others who had the chance to talk to him and thank him for making their lives that much of a joy. I wish I could have been one of those people.
So I’ll say it here.
Thank you Ray Bradbury for coming into my life and sharing in your books the idea that life is filled with joy. That to live each moment is a wonder in of itself. I wish I could have said all this in person. So I’ll say it here.