Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Farewell Ray Bradbury
I just learned that Ray Bradbury passed away last night. Bradbury was one of my absolute favorite writers. I have read and reread Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, and my absolute favorite, The October Country, until the books have fallen apart and had to be replaced. See, when many people think of Bradbury they think of childhood filtered through a haze of nostalgia, and that's fine. There is much of that in Bradbury's work, particularly in the classic Dandelion Wine. Or they may think of his science fiction books like R Is For Rocket, The Martian Chronicles, and perhaps his most famous novel, Fahrenheit 451. I love all that stuff too, but for me, my childhood memories of Bradbury are all bathed in the glow of Jack-O-Lanterns. I can't recall where I got my copy of The October Country, but once I started reading it, I knew I had stumbled into something not only rich and strange, but dark and eerie and perhaps dangerous too. There are so many stand out tales of the macabre in that one. Just reading the titles can still produce a pleasurable shudder. The Dwarf. (Going nightly to the hall of mirrors.) Skeleton. (We all have one inside of us but mostly we don't think about it.) The Small Assassin. (No description of this one can do it justice.) The Jar. (Just what IS floating in that jar?) And of course there is the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Will Halloway. Jim Nightshade. The lightning rod salesman. Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. The Dust Witch. I can never awake at 3:00 a.m. without thinking of it as "the soul's midnight". Can't tell you how many times I've read that book. These are the things I think of when I hear the name Ray Bradbury. That and his amazingly personal, unique prose. No one can imitate Ray Bradbury. I know. I tried. Anyway, I was very sad to hear of Bradbury's passing. He was one of the greats. May be time to pull out my most recent copies of his work, and visit yet again the shadowy realms of The October Country.