Any word you can think of to describe Ray Bradbury, who died last week at 91, would be a cliché. I don’t remember when I first read Bradbury (probably in grade school), but I recall being engrossed by Dandelion Wine when I read it one summer while staying at a cottage my godparents had rented on Lake Michigan.
In college, I took a course on science fiction literature, and The Martian Chronicles was among the books on the syllabus. That collection of short stories is filled with notations I made at the time.
Bradbury’s stories and novels have been adapted to radio, TV and movies, and for centuries to come they’ll probably be adapted to whatever future media technology develops. Sooner or later, we’ll colonize Mars; and someone living on that planet will consider it apropos to put on a play, TV show, movie, web series, holographic projection, whatever, based on The Martian Chronicles. It won’t matter that Bradbury’s Mars is scientifically inaccurate. No one will care. They’ll just enjoy the stories.
Some of my favorite Bradbury stories include “A Sound of Thunder”, “The Fog Horn”, “The Whole Town’s Sleeping”, “The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl”, and from The Martian Chronicles, “The Third Expedition”, “And the Moon Be Still as Bright”, “There Will Come Soft Rains”, and “The Million-Year Picnic.”
As for his novels, Fahrenheit 451 should be required reading.
Copyright 2012 Patrick Keating