Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

He Never Really Belonged On The Science Fiction Shelf ...



I've heard it said that the world cannot afford to lose a great man.  We lost one yesterday, and what his quote above says to me is that we can ill afford it in today's artistic culture (or lack thereof).  Ray Bradbury shaped my reading tastes in a profound way, was responsible in a big way for my passion for reading, and his books have their own shelf in my big bookcase.  When I read about Bradbury's death, I remembered working as a page at the public library when I was in high school.  I would put away returned books and work at what we called reading the shelves, making sure they were in order.  I knew every book in that library by the time I graduated.  Fiction, biography, westerns, cookbooks, non-fiction of every sort ... I could tell people where everything could be found.  I remember that the head librarian once said that Bradbury's work needed their own classification.  They were always put into the science fiction section, but his incredible body of work just doesn't fit with technological space fiction, robots and cosmic wars.

Bradbury was a poet who wrote in prose.  He could catch at your fears, your thrills and your heart all in one short story.  He wrote many books, countless short stories, essays, and actually was able to improve Melville with his contributions to the script for the movie Moby Dick.  That says a lot to me, as I tend to be a purist when it comes to filming literature.  He remembered childhood better than any other writer, the feelings, the dreams ... his friends and family said he really was just a big kid all his life.  How wonderful for us.  In my small way, I would like to pay tribute to this great writer just by naming my very favorites of his books and short stories.  Just the titles are like poetry.

Short stories:  The Golden Apples of the Sun ... Kaleidoscope ... There Will Come Soft Rains ... The Veldt ... The Fog Horn ... The Sound Of Thunder ... The Homecoming ... Uncle Einar ... The Long Rain ... Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed ... The Whole Town is Sleeping ...

Books:  Something Wicked This Way Comes ... R Is For Rocket ... S Is For Space ... The Martian Chronicles (collection) ... Dandelion Wine ... Fahrenheit 451 ... The Illustrated Man ...

It is so difficult to pick, but those are the ones that pop into my head first, which will remain forever in my mind and heart.


28 comments:

  1. auch an amazing writer, thank you for this

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  2. Lovely tribute to a great writer, Becky. When I wrote him about donating an item for a celebrity auction, he sent a poster from the movie SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (autographed in silver ink), a paperback of the novel, and a lovely letter. So, he was a generous man, too.

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    1. Isn't that a wonderful thing for him to do for you? It just sounds like something he would do. Thanks, Rick!

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  3. Thank you Becky for this tribute to the great Ray Bradbury. As wonderful a writer as he was, he was also a great oral storyteller and speaker. I heard him speak when I was a college student and his words were full of life and encouragement for pursuing your own dreams. I invited him to speak at the Coronado Public Library in 1990 and he wowed the audience with his extemporaneous talk. He was unique and his voice will be sorely missed. It's great to have you back Becky.

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    1. Christian, I would love to have heard him speak. What a great memory for you. And thanks -- I'm glad to be back too!

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  4. Thanks you, Becky, for this very heart-felt tribute. Thank goodness his treasures are still here for us to enjoy forever.

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    1. I just plain loved the guy -- I'll keep his books till they fall apart...I'm glad you liked my little tribute.

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  5. Thanks for a wonderful tribute. I like this: "I remember that the head librarian once said that Bradbury's work needed their own classification."

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    1. I never forgot what the librarian said -- she was so right. Thanks, Jacqueline!

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  6. Wonderful tribute for Ray Bradbury. I have only read... Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man ...

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    1. Tnank you, Dawn. I love his books, but actually his short stories are just magical. You must read some. You would love them.

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  7. Nice tribute, Becky. I never actually read any of his books, but I did come across some of his short stories. This is strange, because I often cite him in my post-1945 class as one of the authors that they tried to ban in the 1950s, but I never really read much of his work.

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  8. Thanks, Kim. You would probably like him very much -- I would recommend the short stories I cited above, and for a book, maybe The Martian Chronicles or Something Wicked This Way Comes would be best to start with, if you feel the urge...

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  9. Becky, you beautifully articulated so many feelings associated with Ray Bradbury - his life and his passing.

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  10. Thank you so much, CW -- I wish I had half his talent to move people's hearts.

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  11. Two of my Bradbury faves are "Farenheit 415" and "Dandelion Wine". This is a nice tribute to a man who really was a great writer.

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  12. I agree about the books -- and I thank you for your compliment!

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    1. Becky, I'm with everyone here: we're all thrilled and thankful to have you back! Your post about the late, great Ray Bradbury was truly written with love. In fact, while I devoured many of Bradbury's books in high school and college, I must sheepishly admit that life got in the way and I didn't have as much time for reading as I used to. Your moving essay has me back in the saddle, reading-wise! For the record, much as I enjoyed Bradbury's science-fiction, my favorite was DANDELION WINE. That Head Librarian was absolutely right in saying that Bradbury's work needed its own classification. BRAVA on a superb salute to one of our greatest writers, Becks!

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    2. Dorian, you always make me feel good about the stuff I try to write. It is love that made me do a post. He was so special

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  13. He was a great writer (I've read a lot his books), a great man who didn't ride on the coattails of his sucess, and a very good entertainer. Back in the eighties he had a tv show (sort of like the one Hitchcock had) only he showcased his own material.

    When I read the forward he wrote for the book "They Came From Outer Space" I almost split my sides laughing. "The Fog Horn" will be missed.

    When I heard about his passing I felt like I lost a friend who has introduced me to so much, and taken me to more places than I could count.

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  14. Tom, good to hear from you --- I remember his series and liked it too. You are so right, it is like losing a friend.

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  16. A really nice tribute Becky! Fahrenheit 451 is a favorite. R.I.P.

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  17. All literary fans will miss this amazing man. In fact, one of my all-time favorite short stories is The Veldt since it helped me have a craze on Ray's books. What an amazing piece from an amazing author.
    R.I.P Ray Bradbury

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    1. Matt, he had that effect on so many of us. The Veldt is one of the best!

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  18. so true...much more fantasy than sci-fi....RB got lumped into the SCIFI category back in the 1950s...I think that I have read everything he wrote...very unique writer...a great loss!!

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