Successful autodidact and author Ray Bradbury died Tuesday night. He was 91 years old.
I’ll always cherish The Martian Chronicles. The mostly-missing Martians were a combo of 1) american indians–the fact that disease had wiped them out is the key clue–, and 2) philosophic ancients. So Bradbury’s Mars was kind of an Wild West in which stereotypical American Modern Cowboy-ism/Industrialism had wiped out (carelessly) a superior civilization of philosophic/spiritual depth. I.e., the book is about America. This analysis, i hasten to add, is based on my 7th-grade memories of the book. It was a book that shaped me.
It also featured lots of worry about nuclear war–it’s the natural literary counterpart to nuclear war songs on Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ album.
But unlike what those serious notes might imply, Bradbury was always in touch with the questing boy-spirit of early sci-fi. He was a friend and supporter of Ray Harryhausen–the claymation special effects guy behind Jason and the Argonaughts, Sinbad’s Seventh Voyage, Clash of the Titans, and so many others.
So all those with good American boy-hearts celebrate Bradbury’s life at his passing.
And whattya know, from 1968 on, he leaned conservative! http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/301992/ray-bradbury-great-conservative-john-fund
Carl, I don’t think I’ve read anything by Bradbury in the last few years that wasn’t political in nature. In a sense, most of his writing had political themes that were conservative, no matter how fantastic the setting. Maybe it is easier to write about politics when the setting the future or other imagined worlds. You don’t offend people that way. I knew a man who would tell Polish jokes or any ethnic joke as Hittite jokes so as not to offend anyone. “How many Hittites does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
That’s Stefan Kanfer, “The Nonagenarian Whiz Kid: Ray Bradbury, R.I.P.” from City Journal. It’s a nice tribute. I thought you might like. Apologies that I cannot make it a link. I am not on my own computer.
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