It has been a long, long, long time since I put something up here.
I feel like I use that opening too often.
Ray Bradbury, one of the GREATEST authors ever, died yesterday at the ripe old age of 91. He has been one of the major influences in American literature (not just science fiction) in the middle to late twentieth century and beyond. His short story "The Fog Horn" inspired the awesomely awesome film The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (one of my favorites, in case you can't tell), which in turn inspired the whole giant monsters destroying cities craze of the 50s and 60s. Bradbury is better known for penning Fahrenheit 451, a classic dystopian novel about a world where books are burned by firemen because the books are, well, useless. Less about censorship, more about how rapidly advancing technology leads to a general disregard for bound books, the book is disturbingly telling in today's world, where each year more students seem to rather stare into space than read for 20 minutes.
I, for one, would rather have giant, angry sea dinosaurs roaming the California coastline. At least I wouldn't have to teach them.
Bradbury is also well known for his short stories. He apparently wrote a story a week since the 1930s (on a related side note: If anyone were willing to give me $1000 a week, I could churn out some short stories. Just saying. . . ). Most of these stories have appeared in various magazines and some have been collected into books (The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles are two of the most famous ones).
This love of writing and love of reading has inspired me for years, and I am greatly saddened to hear of Bradbury's death. In his honor, I have composed a poem. It might have been more appropriate to write a short story, but unfortunately, there is only one Ray Bradbury.
"To Mr. Bradbury"
We do not yet burn books,
but we do thrown them away.
We haven't outlawed creative speech,
but you still should watch what you say.
We might not see some monster rise
out of the ocean waves,
but we will, instead, be forced to watch
some bikini-strung surfer slaves.
We might not make it safe to Mars,
and thus the Martians already won.
Wonder where the dreamers went?
They fled; their dreaming time is done.
Who then will save us from darkness coming,
rolling ahead of some carnival park?
Who could stop the wicked thing come,
When we face nightmares unillustrated, and dark?
Rest then, Ray, your life now run.
Never will I forget your dreams,
or how you turn a thought of fun
into a story burst at is seams.
I look to you for inspiration,
to you to model m own fiction,
that like with you, one day, one might
see my work as fiction perfection.
RIP Ray Bradbury