Sunday, 10 June 2012

Ray Bradbury (22/08/28 - 5/6/12) R.I.P - Something gentle has departed this world.

A few days ago I was down in Hay-On -Wye for its annual literary festival, listening to the writer Terry Pratchett, when he was asked about the news of Ray Bradbury's death. Oh no I sighed, another one gone, a writer whose many works I knew were waiting reappraisal back home.
His most famous novel written in 1953 was Farenheit 451 which painted apicture of a dystopian future America, where books were outlawed and burned. The books title gives the temperature in which paper will burst into flame.
Ray Douglas Badbury was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, poet and mystery writer who with the afformentioned book plus the Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951),Something Wicked this way Comes, Ris for Rocket, The Golden Apples of the Sun ..... and many  many others altered the landscape of fantasy forever.He has become known and celebrated as one of the greatest 20th Century writers of speculative fiction. Dark and chilling full of atmoshpere, once read his words will stay imprinted on your mind, his imagination, transformative and inspirational. He once said ' I'm not a science fiction writer, I've written only one book of science fiction ( farenheit 451). All the others are fantasy. Fantasies are things that can't happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen.' Well if you read his books well a lot of what he wrote about has actually happened, so who knows.
Famously distrustful of the internet, I think he would have been amused by the many tributes to him appearing across this forboding planet of ours. He was also an unrestrained idealist, who disliked totalitarianism, did not bow down to political correctness or political ideologies, but did believe in hope and unfettered imagination.
So thanks Ray,may you rest in peace .

Obituary from the Guardian here

Rememberance - A poem by Ray Bradbury

And this is where we went, I though,
Now here, now there, upon the grass
Some forty years ago.
I had returned and walked along the streets
And saw the house where I was born
And grown and had myendless days.
The days being short now, simply I had come
To gaze and look and stare upon
The thoughts of that once endless maze of afternoons.
But most ofall I wished to find the places where I ran
As dogs do run before or after boys,
The paths put down by Indians or brothers wiseand shift
Pretending at a tribe.
I came to the ravine,
I half slid down the path
A man with greying hai but seeming supple thoughts
And saw the place was empty.
Fools: I thought. O; boys of this new year,
Why don't you know the Abyss waits you here?
Ravines are special fine and lovely green
And secretive and wandering with apes and thugs
And bandit bees that steal from flowers to give to trees
Caves echoe here and creeks for wading after loot:
A water-strider, crayfish, precious stone
Or long-lost rubber boot-
It is a natural treasure house, so why the silent place?
What's happened to our boys that they no longerrace
And stand then still to contemplate Christ's handiwork:
His clear blood bled in syrups from the lovely wounded trees?
Why only bees and blackbird winds and bending grass?
No matter. Walk. Walk, look, and sweet recall.

I came upon an oak where once when I was twelve
I had climbed up and screamed for Skip to get me down
It was a thousand miles to earth. I shut my eyes and yelled.
My brother, richly compelled to mirth, gave shouts of laughter
And scaled up to rescue me.
"What were you doing there?" he said.
I did not tell. Ratherb drip me dead,
But I was there to place a note within a squirrel nest
On which I'd written some old secret thing now long forgot.
Now in the green ravine of middle years I stood
Beneath that tree. Why, why, I thought my God,
It's not so high. Why did I shriek?
It can't be more than fifteen feet above. I'll climb it handily.
And did.
And squatted like an aging ape alone and thanking God
That no one saw this ancient man at antics.
Clutched grotesquely to the bole.
But then, ah God, what awe.
The squirrel's hole and long-lost nest were there.

I lay upon the limb a long while, thinking.
I drank in all the leaves and clouds and weathers
Going by as mindless
As the days.
What, what, what if? I thought. But no. Some forty years beyond:
The note I'd put: It's surely stolen off by now.
A boy or screech-owl's pilfered, read and tattered it.
It's scattered to the lake like pollen, chestnut leaf
Of smoke of dandelion that breaks along the wind of time...

No. No.

Discussion with Ray Bradbury concerning Farenheit 451

See also earlier post
Sarah Teasdale   - There will be soft rains

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