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RIP Ray Bradbury 
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PITA Bred
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Post RIP Ray Bradbury
Word just came over the wires that Ray Bradbury has died at 91. His early history is of course tied into Heinlein's, to the point where he had a crush - and possibly something more - on Leslyn in the Manana Society days.

There are few writers about whose work I have more deeply divided emotions. At his best, RB could tap into wells of emotion the way Stephen King can find that dark closet in the back of everyone's mind. "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "Kaleidoscope" and (name escapes me - the one about the girl on Venus who is locked in a closet and misses the rare hours of sunny weather) will haunt me forever. Martian Chronicles is uneven but spectacular - and I love it for one line: "Looks like it's going to be an off season, Sam."

But he could carry it too far, as well - there are places where his childlike sensawonda simply turns childish and irritating. I can understand the bit about the magic of new sneakers in Dandelion Wine, but it always has struck me as a sort of pot-hazed wowwww, lookit the light through that vase kind of mindset.

Never mind. Even Heinlein and Twain wrote some utter crap. Doesn't take away from the magic of the times they got it right. Thanks, Mr B. Safe journey wherever you're headed now.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:08 am
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
James, I felt very much the same when I heard the news. I was never a big fan of Bradbury because I prefer my science fiction harder, but there's no arguing that some of his work is special and earned him his position as one of the most admired writers in the genre.

I got to hear him speak in person a few times and that was always a pleasure, even in his later years when he was very frail.

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Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:18 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
I forgot to throw in my Bradbury story... when I was researching RAHARC, I needed to run down the details on the first publication of "Successful Operation," published as "Heil!" in Bradbury's fanzine in 1940. As this was way before the web and still in the era when collectors hoarded their treasures (because, you know, having a rare fanzine locked in a filing cabinet was going to make them famous and rich some day), I simple wrote a letter to RB's front company, asking for help.

I got a complete photocopy of the zine a few weeks later, with a note and a hand-addressed envelope that had to come from Bradbury, because no secretary or assistant would have written that sloppily.

But that's not the good part. I knew the zine was coming... because Bradbury called me. Well, he called my answering machine and left a long, funny, rambling comment about how he was doing his best to get me the copy, but they had mimeographed the damn thing in green ink because, I dunno, that's how we did things in those days, and it won't copy, so I have a friend who's going to copy it for me... etc. and so forth for about three minutes.

The bad part is that for some unaccountable reason I did not save the tape. I don't know why. I played it for ten people and then whether I accidentally let it record over or just forgot, I can't remember. I've mourned that lost snippet for nearly twenty years now. It might have been that a new answering machine tape was a bigger bite of my budget in those lean days than I could afford. So many "for want of a nail (or a sawbuck)" in those days.

But there's the story, anyway...


Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:59 am
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
Same here... A few of his works were captivating, many of them left me cold, but I recognized that there was genius at work even if it was producing stories that weren't my thing. And I know we have just lost a giant in a field increasingly overrun by midgets.


Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:19 pm
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
I loved the Martian Chronicles when I first read it. I was twelve. I didn't figure out for years that it was supposed to be science fiction; I thought of it as fantasy. I'm not sure I ever read a work of science fiction from Bradbury, but he wrote some fine stories. :-)

I almost met him once, at Loscon in 2000 or 2001, but he got sick and missed his big birthday party. Forrie Ackerman was his stand-in, though, so the party was quite good even with the guest of honor missing. Bums me that I never met him, though. He sounds like a person that would have been good to know.

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Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:10 pm
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
EC Comics adapted a couple of Bradbury stories into their SF titles in the early/mid 1950s. They neglected to get permission. Bradbury wrote William Gaines (EC and Mad Magazine publisher) and said while he admired their work, they must have somehow inadvertantly misaddressed the envelope with payment. Gaines and Bradbury worked it out and EC went on to adapt a dozen or so of his stories, and they are classics now -- well worth seeking out in reprint (or original) form.

Something to read:
A Sound of Thunder

All Summer in a Day

There Will Come Soft Rains

The Veldt


Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:02 pm
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Post Re: RIP Ray Bradbury
And some EC adaptations of Bradbury stories:

The Million Year Picnic

The October Game

Judgement Day

The Flying Machine


Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:03 pm
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