It was the first thing that Jennifer said to me when I woke up this morning: “Ray Bradbury died today.” It was a bummer start to the day, especially since I only got about two hours of sleep last night. It was one of those things that sticks with you all day long, and even now I sort of feel like there’s been a shadow over the entire day. Bradbury was an institution: he wasn’t supposed to succumb to something as banal and menial as death. Not Bradbury. He was supposed to keep writing forever.
Honestly, I can’t think of a thing to say that hasn’t already been said, with far more eloquence, by a host of writers, including Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, and the like. Even President Obama, our first geek President, commented on his passing.
Bradbury was a masterful writer; he handled characters and themes in skillful ways that most writers can only dream of. By all accounts he was a gracious and kind-hearted man. His insights into human nature, not to mention into the process of writing, were wise and inspirational. I’ve read most of his books and stories, and I’ve tried hard (without success) to replicate that almost ethereal sense of wonder and, yes, horror, that permeated so much of his work in my own fiction.
So, again: Dammit.
Rachel Bloom unleashed this (VERY NSFW) video some time ago. The fact that Bradbury himself found it “delightful” is testament to his graciousness and good humor. Bradbury had many qualities — not just literary — that other writers could do well to emulate.
RIP, good sir. I worked hard to emulate your style and voice in my fiction, but I failed. But thanks to you, I was able to find my own.