It has been a week since Ray Bradbury passed. But the author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, with his more than 500 novels, short stories and plays, will continue to inspire and captivate readers. We are all familiar with his works (check out the more than 100 titles in the Oviatt’s catalog) that have been translated into 36 languages and that several of his stories have been made into movies. But his commercial success cannot overshadow the honors he achieved along the way. In 2000, he was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and in 2004 President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Arts. He even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Summarizing his accomplishments in this manner however cannot capture his true contributions to our culture. Gerald Jonas of the New York Times wrote “Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science-fiction writers of the 20th century, beside those of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and the Polish author Stanislaw Lem.”
Stories about how the “man” Ray Bradbury impacted and inspired writers and readers all over also continue to be shared within social media, offices, libraries and homes – everywhere people connect to talk about what is important to them. Newbery and Carnegie Medal winning author Neil Gaiman wrote about Bradbury on his blog and in a piece for the The Guardian about the impact Bradbury had, not only on himself but within the craft as well. Writer Mark Evanier blogged about early personal memories of Bradbury when he was just a novice writer as a kind of In Memoriam. But perhaps the best way to capture Bradbury’s impact and passing can be through the pondering of his own words.
“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, Something Wicked this Way Comes.
Thank you for your imagination, inspiration and for all of the stories Mr. Bradbury.