"The end is where we start from."

-T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Remembering Ray Bradbury, August 22, 1920-June 5, 2012

Some people think of Ray Bradbury as a science fiction author, others as a writer of weird tales, and still others as a writer of nostalgia. None of these labels adequately categorizes a man whose work spans, or really, defies, genre labels. It's far better to say that Bradbury was interested in what and why people think and do, and that he explored these things through the use of his moral imagination applied to all sorts of plots, settings, characters, and themes. He distrusted human motives, believing, despite his lapsed Christianity, in something akin to Original Sin. This led him to be wary of technology and its uses. Yet, he loved people, and was filled with optimism. Anecdotes abound of the encouragement he gave to young writers, of the long hours spent talking to fans at book signings, of his enduring hope that people would choose to live as human beings. In this way, he stands firmly in the best tradition of Western literature, and, using radical styles and word combinations, moves fiction (and the English language) in new, dizzying directions.

 "Melville and I had the same midwives: the Bible, Shakespeare. Melville had poor eyesight. He couldn't read Shakespeare because the print was too small. Then he found a large-type edition, threw out his whaling equipment and wrote Moby Dick in a few months." -Ray Bradbury