I’d say that I was sad that Ray Bradbury was dead, but that wouldn’t be true.
Obviously one of America’s great writers, if Bradbury had only written The Martian Chronicles he’d be golden in my eyes.
We always feel a sense of loss when one of our giants crumbles, but I don’t think Bradbury would’ve wanted too much hand wringing. When I was working at a bookstore in the ’90’s, Bradbury came to do a book signing. According to reports, he drank a few bottles of wine, flirted with every girl in sight and delivered a knock out talk to a standing room only crowd before taking the time to chat and sign for the gathered throng. His obit today has him at 91 years old, so my brush with the man would’ve found him in his late 70’s.
Bradbury’s style was defined by his lyrical language and it might not be incorrect to think of him as a kind of throwback to the Romantic poets with their high flung lines and their penchants for sensual indulgence. At his best, Bradbury grounded the fantastic in the everyday, and – like any shaman/showman worth his words – he warned us away from the dangers in this world while showing us the dazzling visions of so many others.
Here is a half-hour TV documentary about the author from 1963: