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Ray Bradbury has died


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#1 M. Leary

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:18 AM

The web abounds with responses. But treat yourself to a good dose of Bradbury quotes.

Time to pull out Dandelion Wine for the 20th time.

Edited by SDG, 09 October 2012 - 03:54 PM.


#2 Stephen Lamb

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:50 AM

Here's a good short video of him talking about why he writes and why he loves books:


Edited by Stephen Lamb, 06 June 2012 - 10:52 AM.


#3 Tyler

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:13 PM

From The Onion:
Following Ray Bradbury's Death, Thousands Of People Buy Kindle Version Of Book About Demise Of Paper Books

#4 BethR

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:44 PM

Detailed obit here, mentions this intriguing bit of info:

the arrival in town of the Dill Brothers Sideshow and Carnival when he was 12. One of the acts, a defrocked Presbyterian minister who appeared under the name Mr Electrico, tapped him on the nose with an electrified sword which caused his hair to stand on end, and delivered the instruction: “Live Forever!” Young Ray was suitably impressed; indeed, he retained a boyish quality, and his boyish interests, well into extreme old age.


A story from last year about Bradbury's reluctant agreement to allow Fahrenheit 451 to be re-released in e-book format.

Bradbury had been one of the staunchest critics of ebooks, saying they "smell like burned fuel." He told the New York Times in 2009: "It's meaningless; it's not real... It's in the air somewhere."...
So what changed? Bradbury's agent, Michael Congdon, told the Associated Press that the publishing rights to Bradbury's most famous novel were expiring — and it was impossible to strike a new deal with publishers that didn't include ebook rights. Eight different publishers were interested, but nobody would do it without an electronic edition. Condgon explained the situation to Bradbury, and he finally gave in.



#5 Ryan H.

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:32 PM

"I watched the dead man stomp and leap across the platform, felt the plankings shudder, saw him jump into his Model-T, heard it lurch under his bulk, saw him bang the floor-boards with a big foot, idle the motor, roar it, turn, smile, wave to me, and then roar off and away toward that suddenly brilliant town called Obscurity by a dazzling seashore called The Past."
~ "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone" by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury remains one of my favorite authors. His literature is as tremendously human as it is imaginative. He shall be greatly missed.

#6 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 01:08 AM

I could use some help.

The Wall Street Journal has asked me to write a piece on Ray Bradbury's faith.

Any thoughts? I've found some sources for statements he made about his faith -- more of those would be good, but I'm even more interested in ways that his faith can be seen in his work.

Your suggestions would be most welcome.

#7 Ryan H.

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:53 AM

Isn't there a story about looking for Jesus in Bradbury's collection of short stories, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN?

EDIT: Yup. It's "The Man."

EDIT II: Also from THE ILLUSTRATED MAN (as well as a few select editions of THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES), "The Fire Balloons," about missionaries going to Mars. There's a story from THE OCTOBER COUNTRY, "Jack-in-the-Box," which deals with a child raised by his mother to be "God."

Edited by Ryan H., 07 June 2012 - 06:23 AM.


#8 M. Leary

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:23 AM

I could use some help.

The Wall Street Journal has asked me to write a piece on Ray Bradbury's faith.

Any thoughts? I've found some sources for statements he made about his faith -- more of those would be good, but I'm even more interested in ways that his faith can be seen in his work.

Your suggestions would be most welcome.


Ryan mentions some great examples. A few more relevant nodes:

- "Bless Me Father, For I Have Sinned" is about a priest hearing a confession from himself as a younger man.

- "And The Rock Cried Out" is a post-apocalyptic nightmare that pivots on a reference to an old spiritual. A husband and wife find themselves trapped in Mexico after a cataclysm has struck America, what happens ranks among Bradbury's darkest moments.

- "Season of Disbelief" is a set of conversations in which an old lady is trying to convince the children in her neighborhood that she was once young, and they don't believe her. I have always liked the way Bradbury frames this short story as a metaphor for faith - the end is terrifying.

- "The Messiah" is one of a constellation of stories similar to "The Man," and "The Fire Balloons." In this case a Martian appears to a priest on Mars in the form of Christ and the priest is forced to deal with the theological insanity of this manifestation. There are several stories in that collection and others that toy with this idea that the Martians visibly manifest deeply rooted human religious and emotional convictions.

-"The Wish" takes place on Christmas Eve. After a conversation about the resurrection of Christ, one of the characters wishes to see his dead father for an hour.

- "Have I Got a Chocolate Bar For You" is a about a priest hearing the confession of a man addicted to chocolate. What follows is a wonderfully confirming conversation about forgiveness, freedom, and joy. There is a lovely description of the church as a place of forgiveness in there somewhere as well.

- "The Blue Bottle" is one of the best abstractions of Bradbury's religious convictions. In the story, two men are hunting for a legendary blue bottle on Mars that contains something of great significance. No one is actually quite sure what is in the bottle - and the story pivots on the question: Are the contents of the bottle more important than the actual search for the bottle? Nifty little Percyesque koan there.

- And then there is A Chapbook For Burnt-Out Priests, Rabbis, and Ministers which is packed with essays like "Christ on Improbable Planets." He interacts with Christ, Einstein, The Gospel of John, King of Kings, etc... But good luck finding a copy.

Some general comments on Bradbury and theology:

- In his entire bibliography, he conceives of stages of life as spiritual transitions. Rites of passage, the way our bodies change as we grow older, the way we appear to each other across the span of decades - Bradbury writes a lot about these experiences and translates them into metaphors for wonder, bravery, fear, and the whole complex of emotions that are part of encountering the presence or absence of the sacred.

- The Martian Chronicles are all about otherness. It sounds pat to say that, but Bradbury was the first to conduct an extended thought experiment in which space was conceived of as a place where we encounter ourselves. This is a reversal of the theme common in other sci-fi authors that space and space exploration is where humanity will be freed from ignorance.

- I was stunned by One More for The Road in 2002. It is filled with ghosts and memories and a constructive form of dismay. I could feel the intense gravity of Bradbury's age - but also a certain sense of victory in that he tells us frequently in that volume: I am old, and I was right all along!

Edited by M. Leary, 08 June 2012 - 11:31 AM.


#9 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:47 PM

Thanks, Ryan and Mike! Much appreciated!

#10 Jason Panella

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:56 AM

Wow, great stuff Mike.

Reading Bradbury is middle school absolutely changed my life. I'd be a casual reader up to that point (and mostly roleplaying game-related mass market paperbacks), but I fell in love with reading after plowing through Fahrenheit 451. I've read a number of his other works since then, and really liked them all.

I listened to Frank Black's album The Cult of Ray maybe 10 times after hearing about Ray's death.

#11 M. John Mattson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:54 AM

Sorry to have missed out on this conversation. Being a busy Dad to three, the author's note in my copy of Fahrenheit 451 has been pivotal in my writing. In it, Bradbury tells of how he wrote the first draft on a rented typewriter for 10 cents per half hour -- he couldn't write at home because his children kept wanting him to play with them. Reading that and knowing he managed to become an icon in American literature has helped me focus, encouraged me, and yet reminded me I need to play with my kids.

#12 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

Well, the Wall Street Journal told me they received a more "newsworthy" item and killed my Ray Bradbury piece. That's how it goes in the big leagues.

Anyhoo, it will appear on Monday (with a hat tip to Mike) on our Good Letters blog.

#13 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

Here's my post, with a H/T to M. Leary.

http://www.patheos.c...-lives-forever/


#14 Christian

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 02:33 PM

Nice piece, Greg. Beyond the deeper meaning in it, I find myself pondering whether your use of "begs the question" is correct (to argue in a circle) or incorrect (demands a question):

His classic works—Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes—are held up as examples of lyrical prose less concerned with the wonders of future technology than with preserving a humane vision of the world.
But this begs a question: In order to have a humane vision do you have to have an understanding of what constitutes humanness?

I've been staring at those sentences for several minutes and still can't figure out the answer to my question.

#15 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 03:27 PM

Nice piece, Greg. Beyond the deeper meaning in it, I find myself pondering whether your use of "begs the question" is correct (to argue in a circle) or incorrect (demands a question):

From The Guardian style guide on English usage:
  • begs the question

    This phrase is almost invariably misused: it means assuming a proposition that, in reality, involves the conclusion. An example would be to say that parallel lines will never meet, because they are parallel.

    The concept can be traced as far back as Aristotle, but HW Fowler, whose entry on begging the question is listed under the Latin petitio principii (assumption of the basis), defines it as "the fallacy of founding a conclusion on a basis that as much needs to be proved as the conclusion itself", giving as an example "foxhunting is not cruel, since the fox enjoys the fun".

    Now used widely to mean "raises the question", its traditional sense is being lost, which seems a sad fate for a phrase that might be useful or even – in a logical or philosophical context – essential.

Edited by Persiflage, 18 June 2012 - 03:27 PM.


#16 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:38 AM

BUSTED.

#17 Darrel Manson

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

A look into Bradbury's FBI file.

#18 Justin Hanvey

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:48 PM

Thought about putting this in the Neil Gaiman thread, but I think it fits better here as probably one of the most moving tributes to Ray Bradbury and literature I've ever seen.

Neil Gaiman's short story The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury

It's also on Soundcloud, him reading it aloud, and I would definitely suggest listening to it too. Gaiman is one of the most listenable voices in literature, but also his love of Bradbury and emotion is quite evident.

Edited by Taliesin, 09 October 2012 - 01:49 PM.


#19 NBooth

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 05:09 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3B1lYtTJQI&feature

via BoingBoing

#20 Darrel Manson

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:37 PM

5th and Flower near the Central Library has been named Ray Bradbury Square. Story

Tried to post a pic but "You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community."

Edited by Darrel Manson, 07 December 2012 - 11:39 PM.