Friday, June 08, 2012

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Ray Bradbury (1975)
(photo by Alan Light. Wikimedia Commons)

The Martian Chronicles is one of the first collection of stories by Ray Bardbury I read as a teenager. I was fascinated by the benevolence of the Martians towards the earth astronauts. This was fresh after reading the deadly Martians of H.G.Wells' War of the Wars. Later I remembered playing a PC game based on the Martian Chronicles. I also remembered reading with horror, Fahrenheit 451, a novel about a future where books are outlawed. Books found are burnt and their owners imprisoned. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which books burn. It leaves a distinct impression upon me as I was slowly developing my love of books.

 "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."

Unlike Isaac Asimov which writes interesting stories and often epics such as the Empire and Robots series, Bradbury deals mainly with short stories, often focusing themes that borders on horror. Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Illustrated Man are smashing examples.Others are The Toynbee Converter, Dandelion Wine and I Sing the Body Electric (which was made into an episode of the Twilight Zone).  Bradbury's science fiction are not as well rooted in science as the works of Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the later authors that I enjoyed such as David Brin, Greg Bear, Ben Bova and Gregory Benford. Being scientists themselves, they gave us a corpus of science fiction that is as strong on science as they are on fiction.

"Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories."

Bradbury was also a playwright and screen writer. He was a prolific writer and many volumes flew from his typewriter. His bibliography here. Bradbury's books, plays, movies and television episodes have been helpful during my difficult and lonely adolescent years. He had expanded my world of the mind, enhancing my sense of wonder and appreciation of the fruits of the imagination. That is a great gift for a little boy. Thank you, my friend.

"I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it."

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Blogger Helen said...

Alex, I am always amazed at how much you have read. I must confess that I have not read Ray Bradbury as I have not been attracted to science fiction, but now I am going to look for at least one of his books. Thanks for writing about him. Helen

7:42 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Helen, you should read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I am sure you will enjoy it especially the part when the proponent read the Bible!

9:27 AM  

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