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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Something Sad This Way Comes

I hate reading news like this. Ray Bradbury, the seminal science-fiction and fantasy writer, has died. Bradbury was always mentioned with sci-fi literary giants like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, but Bradbury often shied away from the sci-fi label, claiming he only wrote one science-fiction book, Fahrenheit 451. The rest of his works were pure fantasy.

Fahrenheit 451 was the first Bradbury book I read, and I would imagine I am not alone in this, as it is often required reading in schools. After devouring it, I picked up The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The more you read his work, the clearer it becomes why  he eschewed a strict sci-fi label: his books concern the why much more than the how. Why humans want to travel beyond the stars rather than the mechanics behind it. This point-of-view enriches his novels and stories with unabashed humanism, something rather lacking from science-fiction in my opinion (there are exceptions, of course). Anyways, I may as well let the man speak for himself about death:

Death doesn't exist. It never did, it never will. But we've drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we've got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.

Ray Bradbury   1920-2012

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