Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

As most of everyone has heard by now, author Ray Bradbury passed away last night in L.A. This is a significant loss to world culture. Of course, some of his most famous works include The Martian Chronicles, and Fahrenheit 451. I think Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most prophetic novels ever written. It's also the most scientific. Bradbury himself said Fahrenheit 451 was his only true science-fiction work; the others were fantasies despite their settings (such as Mars!). There's no question Bradbury liked to tell stories, but also like to make readers think.

As Clifton Fadiman says in one edition of The Martian Chronicles Prefatory Note: "Mr. Bradbury has caught hold of a simple, obvious but overwhelmingly important moral idea... That idea--highlighted as every passing month produces a new terrifying lunacy: sputniks,super-sputniks, projected assaults on the moon, projected manned satellites--is that we are in the grip of a psychosis, a technology-mania, the final consequence of which can only be universal murder and quite conceivably the destruction of our planet." Bradbury's paradigm was very different from those of his science 'fictioneer' peers. Since humanity has not heeded his warnings, let's hope his dire prophesies do not come to pass.

There's a fascinating interview about Bradbury posted at The Paris Review: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203. Check it out!

Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury.

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