Last Tuesday, June 5th was a sad day in Speculative Fiction.
The master of Spec Fiction, Raymond Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012), passed away at the age of 91.
Having lived a full life, Bradbury gifted the world with some of the most prolific and wonderful stories: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, A Graveyard for Lunatics, Dandelion Wine, and its sequel and his final novel Farewell Summer. His imaginative worlds, characters and brilliant writing has inspired many writers, actors, artists and Speculative Fiction fans.
Mr. Bradbury had a gift for taking racism, capitalism and fears of superpower countries and creating stories that not only entertained, but were satirical in their messages about humans. Writing up until his death, Bradbury had a sincere love of the written word, movies and theater. Having written for “The Twilight Zone”, his own show, “Bradbury Theater”, and several movies, Bradbury was a true lover of the craft of storytelling.
To give you an idea of how important he has been to the Speculative Fiction genre; Bradbury has a crater on the moon named for his book Dandelion Wine, and an asteroid named after him. Bradbury preferred horror and is only really known for one true science fiction novel, which is Fahrenheit 451. But ask any science fiction author or fan, and he is one of the top listed authors of our genre.
Bradbury once said that he was in constant surprise by what he wrote. He’d read his own works and couldn’t quite believe that he’d written such award-winning novels and stories that continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of many across the generations. His many awards include the 2004 National Medal of Arts–presented to him by President G.W. Bush; World Fantasy Award for life achievement, a park named after him in his birthplace of Waukegan, Il. in 1990; the prestigious Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 1984 (not to be confused with the movie), and a special citation from the Pulitzer Board in 2007.
I have to say, that I have been impressed by him for a very long time. His love of literature has been his life. I can only hope that I, like Mr. Bradbury, will be blessed to write, and write well, until I die.
Rest In Peace Mr. Bradbury
- Ray Bradbury 1920-2012 (tor.com)
- Famous Author Ray Bradbury Passes Away at Age 91 (mitbc.org)
- Ray Bradbury and the fever of inspiration | Dan Gillmor (guardian.co.uk)
- Mainline Media News
As you all know, I love science fiction. I would go so far as to say, that I champion this genre. Most of the books that I read are in this genre because I just can’t get enough of it. And one of the ways that I find great sci-fi novels and authors to read is by reading the reviews by one of my friends, Thomas Evans. His blog “The Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy” has been a great source of entertainment and has greatly increased my reading list. I look forward to his reviews with great anticipation. And I look forward to him releasing his book series with even greater eagerness.
Sit back, relax and grab a cup of Joe and enjoy the ride.
I must say what a pleasure and honor it is to write for Yolanda’s blog. I’ve been enjoying it ever since her work first came to my attention, and look forward to each installment.
But fortunately, the answer was given to me by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. Le Guin.
Thus, I came up with a second answer: Science Fiction has always been dark. Mary Shelly hardly painted a happy view of human nature with Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus. Neither did H.G. Wells’ work depict shiny happy futures. The Time Machine showed how wars would destroy society. War of the Worlds was a biting commentary on the nature of Imperialism that showed humanity brought low by an alien race treating our species in the manner that the West treated indigenous populations around the world, etc. Even the generally more optimistic Jules Verne wrote about the dark side of humanity:20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea was commentary about social oppression with a terrorist at its heart (yes… yes indeed, Captain Nemo was a terrorist carrying out piratical attacks against the great powers of the world… is that a happy story? Me thinks not).