Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | June 6, 2012

In Memory of Ray Bradbury

When I learned, this morning, that Ray Bradbury had passed away, I felt as if I’d lost a treasured relative.

I first read Bradbury when I was going to summer school between my sophomore and junior high school years.  No, I hadn’t flunked anything.  My folks wanted me to be able to take courses, for future college work,  not offered in my tiny high school.

A cousin, Jim, and I hitchhiked the sixteen miles from Falkville, AL to Decatur, AL every day for the duration of the classes.  I was taking advanced algebra (ugh!) and geometry. There was a lot of time to fill.  Certainly I could have sat in the library and worked algebra and geometry problems.

Sure.

I discovered Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Although I read and enjoyed Heinlein, My personal Big Three of the Science Fiction world were Bradbury, Asimov and Clarke.  Until yesterday, Bradbury was the last man standing.

I learned from Ray that prose, even in science fiction, did not have to be prosaic.  His narratives frequently had a poetic ring. At times, the poetry was unusually powerful. Consider the opening lines from October Country:

“…that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the       hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger and midnights stay.  That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on empty walks sound like rain…”

Yes, Ray, we will miss you. Your passing means the loss, to me, of a touchstone in writing.  Your works will be with us to inspire.

As Auden wrote about the death of Yeats, “… he became his admirers.”

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Responses

  1. What a trio of authors for inspiration: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.
    Agree on the poetic nature of the Ray Bradbury sample. He will be missed.

    • All of them are missed. Each for different reasons.

  2. Nicely stated, Tom. I also loved those three authors. Thank you!

    • Those three taught different aspects of writing.

  3. Had not heard that he had passed away. Another one of the greats gone.


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