Came the Dreamweaver

OK, I admit it. I’m overdoing the Ray Bradbury bit, but his wonderful stories were part of what drew me into writing in the first place. My wife even thinks some of my stories sound decidely Bradbury-esque.

I think she’s goofy, but I’m secretly pleased at the comparison.

When I realized he had passed, I looked at the body of work he had created (most of which I own) and realized there was one I had not seen. So I bought it, and I just finished reading “Farewell Summer” – the 2006 sequel to his 1957 classic “Dandelion Wine.”

Perhaps it was just me, but I was disappointed.

It seemed like something left out of the original … which it undoubtedly was … and I think the original was stronger without it. Or could it be I was sorry for myself, realizing this writer of dreams was gone?

Bradbury’s writing ranged from fantasy to horror and mystery to humor. He scripted John Huston’s film version of Moby Dick and wrote for The Twilight Zone and other television programs. He was involved in many futuristic projects, including the 1964 New York World’s Fair and Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World in Florida.

His book, The Martian Chronicles, was a series of intertwined short stories that satirized capitalism, racism and superpower tensions … a Cold War morality tale in which imagined lives on other planets serve as commentary to human behavior on Earth.

Fahrenheit 451, an apocalyptic narrative, prophesized the banning of books and it became a futuristic classic often taught alongside George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

He received a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”

Other honors included an Academy Award nomination for an animated film, and an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. Bradbury became the rare science fiction/fantasy writer treated seriously by the literary world.

His fame even extended to the moon, where Apollo astronauts named a crater “Dandelion Crater,” in honor of Dandelion Wine, his beloved coming-of-age novel.

Bradbury could be blunt and gruff, once exhorting listeners: “Do what you love and love what you do. If someone tells you to do something for money, tell them to go to hell.”

But he was also a gregarious and friendly man, approachable in public and generous with his time to readers and fellow writers.

His advice to writers – write!

Thanks, Ray. I think I will.

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