Ray Bradbury died last week. Science Fiction challenges me, and generally too far out there for a pea-brain like me. Without realizing, I was introduced to Bradbuy's work on "The Twilight Zone," a half-hour show, hosted by Rod Serling who was just chilling enough to to hold my attention, but not creepy enough to force me to flee from my spot on the saggy sofa.
Today's sci-fi is filled with imaginary worlds populated by characters with unpronounceable names. These worlds span volumes, most of which exceed the 400 page mark. Several of Bradbury's short stories were anthologized in the American Lit text we used when I was teaching. Reluctantly, I did the right thing. I followed the curriculum. Mind you, I put off prepping those stories to the final second, figuring I could fake my way through them. After all, I was an "Oedipus" and Hawthorne devotee, and if I could sell kids on those complex pieces, how tough could these stories be? But, Bradbury surprised me with depth, talent, and universalty. His work was smart. He referenced fine pieces of literature. He challenged conventions, and prejudices He predited the explosion of technology and unmasked people's fears. He did this and more in a readable style that was sometimes lyrical, sometimes brazen. Always entertaining
I was especially fond of Dandelion Win, and used several excerpts as Forensic selections. It is rumored that Ray Bradbury did not fly. Another little know fact is that from time to time, he rented space at The Clearing in Door County - a haven where he could write without the interruption of cars, phones, media, or fans.
The smiling weather reporter on TV 11 promises a 90 degree weekend. What better reason to read a book about fire. Fahrenheit 451...it's time.