I read fahrenheit 451 for the first time only last week. Never before have I read a book with such pace and yet so poetic.
I wonder what the autoignition temperature of a kindle is?
Ray Bradbury, a master of fantasy fiction and author of the classic dystopian sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, has died at the age of 91. The great man – who once labelled himself a "hybrid author" due to his love of movies, libraries and theatre – passed away on Tuesday night, his daughter Alexandra Bradbury confirmed to the …
I started reading Science Fiction when I was perhaps 10 years old. Back then, the old pulps were prevalent, Astounding, Analog, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Fantastic, Unknown, etc etc.
To me, Science fiction magazines and 25 cent novels were better than any television program because they could transport you bodily into an unknown world drawn from your own minds eye. Nothing was more vivid than that. Oh, and the front covers often showed cleavage, usually of hot blue eyed blondes in scanty outfits being attacked by bugeyed tentacled creatures. That why they call it "Fantasy"!
Friends had boxes of these I could read whenever I liked. When I came across Ray Bradbury, I just had to read everything I could get my hands on. I nearly died laughing when Farhenheit 451 became required reading in high school, first because I'd already read it several times, next because of the sheer irony. Too bad the teachers didn't even grasp it's true meaning.
I have read Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Illustrated Man, Martian Chronicles I sing the Body Electric, and countless short stories of which Bradbury was a master.
The world lost a great voice, one that could see the future and through his writings let others see it too.
The only trouble is that it appears that so few have actually read these prophetic novels of Bradbury and others because almost no one has learned the lessons within them.
I read "Martian Chronicles" when I was about 7 or 8... can't remember for sure.
But it contained two stories that gave me a perspective that for a child were astonishing: "August 2026: There will come soft rains" and "April 2026: The long years".
They both talked about the fast and brief time that is human live, how we can be survived by our creations and the incredibly ridiculous that our problems can be when they are seen from that point of view.
"There will come soft rains" contains a very brief and powerful poem by Sara Teasdale, that gives its name to the story:
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
R.I.P. Mr Bradbury
Funny, that. The copy of Fahrenheit 451 I had included a foreword written by Mr. Bradbury himself explaining how in the intervening years since he wrote the book, it had been banned from schools and communities due to offensive language. He relished in the irony.
I personally discovered the book when playing the eponymous game for the Commodore 64. A friend of mine mentioned it was a real book, and I immediately went to the school library to check it out. I read it overnight in a hurry (for I had a test the next day, for a completely unrelated subject). I proceeded to re-read it at a more leisurely pace the next week.
I've subsequently read the book maybe 4 times more since then.
generally disliked but the TV adaptation of "The martian chronicles" was riveting. I was only a kid, it was on at stupid o'clock and i was chuffed to bits when it was released on DVD a few years ago. I still watch it to this day...
Goodbye Mr B and thank you.......
@cornz 1: Agreed, I remember being transfixed by the TV adaptation of The Martian Chronicles; after watching the series, and learning that it was adapted from a book, I consumed all of the Ray Bradbury novels and short stories that I could find.
As a bootnote: I found my nine year old son reading my dog-eared copy of "R Is For Rocket" the other day - my inner geek glowed I tell you
It was an eye opener, to see a world drawn so well; so beautifully, poetically.
A review I read of it noted something I'd completely missed, that it had many the elements of the worst of pulp sci-fi like spaceships, martians, timeslips, telepathy, yet managed to be anything but pulp.
I'll read it again soon. I hope it's kept its magic.
I remember staying up to the early morning as a child when I read that for the first time. I first discovered him when I was about 9. His short story collection "R is for Rocket" was in the school library. 'A Sound of Thunder' was one of the stories.
"The Illustrated Man" - another classic.
The Illustrated Man was the first book of his I read at the age of 15 and subsequently plowed my way through the rest of my parent's Bradbury collection.
Just trying to remember - which book was it that had a short story about a city that was alive and ate a bunch of explorers?
Apparently, most English lit teachers teach it as being about censorship.
And many disagreed with Ray when he told them it wasn't what the book was about.
Kudos to an author living to tell off members of that particular profession when they over-analyze, as they seem compelled to.
Many of his "straight" short stories are quite lovely. "The Beautiful Ice-Cream Suit" is one that springs to mind. He also had a wonderful ability to get into the minds of children - there's one story (can't remember which, unfortunately) which had a glorious description of what it's like to be a running child - to run, just because you can, and because it's fun.
I have memories of two childhoods. One of my own very happy childhood, and a second equally happy one set in Greentown Illinois courtesy of of the great Ray Bradbury.
Whilst many of his books and short stories have repeatedly passed through my reading list over the past few decades, it is Dandelion Wine that is always with me.
I first read parts of it to my son when he was six. By the time he was twelve he had read it himself many times, and so another generation began to see the world through the wonderful visionary eyes of Ray Bradbury.
My top two authors. RB and DNA. Now both gone.