I am so sad that Ray Bradbury has died at 91. Wasn't he supposed to live past all of us, to see robots making him eggs in the morning and to vacation on Mars? He will always be one of my favorite writers, someone who cracked open my imagination and my fascination with the space. When I was younger, I was slightly obsessed with aliens and with Mars. I even dressed up like a "Martian" once to do a report at school on Mars. Ray Bradbury helped me embrace my inner dork. Space continues to fascinate me and always will: all that eternity, time, darkness, mystery, and the unknowable. It scrambles my mind just right.
Bradbury once said in an interview, "Lone at night, when I was twelve years old, I looked at the planet Mars and I said, ‘Take me home!’ And the planet Mars took me home, and I never came back. So I’ve written every day in the last 75 years. I’ve never stopped writing." God, I love that!
My favorite Ray Bradbury book is Fahrenheit 451. The man was a prophet, a seer, a visionary. In 1953, he looked into the future and saw a culture ruled by fear, one in which people are burning books, have become slaves to their screens, and are addicted to substances that dull their senses. He envisioned a band of "Book People," living in the woods, in the margins, who dedicate their lives to memorizing books, which are outlawed. They "become" a book, and their life is about preserving the cultural memory that the leaders are so intent to destroy. (Sound familiar?)
So long, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you for the stories, for feeding my mind with visions of other worlds. In my fantasy world, here's how it all went down: You simply hitched a ride with Venus last night, as she sailed across the face of the Sun. You planned accordingly, packed your bags, and waited for the right moment. What a genius. I hope it's a great ride up there.