Once upon a time I was a child reading whatever I could get my hands on. I did the classic flashlight-under-the-covers thing (now it would be a laptop) and read read read. Nancy Drew, Norse myths, fairy tales, you name it. My mother’s fiction books and eventually my brother’s books, which were Heinlein, Clarke, Herbert. But I was also reading Edgar Allan Poe.
At least I tell myself this but I wonder now how many stories I actually read of Poe’s. I think it might have only been a few but they resonated so strongly that the imagery of the words stuck in my head. At ten I was reading many of these books. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, as well as The Dosadi Experiment and The Green Brain by Frank Herbert. Ray Bradbury (pictured left) was a short story man in many ways and I read the collection called The Illustrated Man when I was about 12. It had creepy stories and I remember them keenly. Even if I didn’t remember the story I remembered the feeling and I have to say that the atmosphere was so strong that probably Bradbury influenced my writing in way that Herbert and Heinlein did not. I read them. They did SF, and showed future worlds and places. But it was Bradbury who dug into the psyche of people. His stories were never quite horror, though often horrific.
Many of his stories were made into movies or TV shows and in the era of The Twilight Zone (which consequently had many of the young up and coming actors in the shows), his style fit right in. In fact several of his stories were made into The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The (New) Twilight Zone episodes. As well, there was a Ray Bradbury Presents TV show with numerous episodes. To say the man is prolific is an understatement.
Two of his most lyrical titles are I Sing the Body Electric (I love that, and think it one of the best titles of all time) and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I have not read these but they were both made into movies, which I did see. As well, Fahrenheit 451 was probably one of his most famous books and movies. He is considered one of the great minds in American literature and has written several stories under every letter of the alphabet. And at the ripe age of 90, the man is still writing. The following links list all of his stories, and the other media in which his work has appeared, such as plays, movies, episodes.
Last year, in 2009, another collection of his stories came out, We’ll Always Have Paris and most of these stories were written that year.
Ray Bradbury has a strong spark of being a creator who is unceasing. I guess it’s no wonder that there is now a song that has come out, done tongue in cheek and slightly naughty. I’m sure that Ray Bradbury has seen it and has had a good laugh. And writing this, I’m getting a hankering to read some Bradbury, which really spurred me into writing, and that I haven’t read in a long time. So I think I’m going to go out and buy We’ll Always Have Paris. And now, feast your ears on this song F**k Me, Ray Bradbury
which looks at the sexy side of being a writer. An homage of a different sort for one of our greatest writers.