The last thing I want to do is write about Ray Bradbury.
I don't have anything against the guy, in fact the complete opposite is true. I love Ray's stuff. It's my personal connection with his stories that makes writing about him hard. I can't help falling into cliche. Summing up how grateful I am for his stories is beyond my writing and yet no tribute at all would be worse.
The first sci-fi book I ever read was Bradbury's "R is for Rocket". I discovered it in my Jr. high school library and the reading opened a whole world of imaginative literature. If I had never read another one of his books I would still be eternally grateful, but many of his stories are personal favorites.
Bradbury doesn't just write a story, it runs from his veins. He ties off his writing arm with a long rubber hose, uses his pen to extract a story and plunges the results onto paper. His stories of the impossible seem personal as if they've already been lived. Bradbury isn't just writing, he seems to be retelling stories as he heard them from the characters involved. I picture Ray in white tennis shorts at the last stool in the Mos Eisley Cantina, a sort of intergalactic Norm from Cheers. He's nursing a warm bottle of Atomic Ale and drinking in the stories.
I got to meet him once at a signing. I had a brand new journal I had purchased for writing down ideas. What better way to break in a book of ideas than to have a childhood hero sign it first? Seeing all white pages, Ray Bradbury took his sharpie and drew a big goofy face in profile. Next to the face he wrote his secret to success.
Write, Write Write, Dammit.
I've never received easier advice so difficult to follow.
Ray's official site is here.
Did you know Bradbury won a Pulitzer this year? Yup. "A special citation to Ray Bradbury for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy."
An interview with Bradbury from Jason Marchi I think about 1998 or 99. At the time, Mel Gibson had planned to remake Farenheit 451. This article talks about that and other stuff.
Last year, Bradbury's childhood home of Waukegan Ill. started a story telling festival. The one night only event is scheduled for Oct 26. This year's theme is Literary Monsters for more info...
If you're looking for a good bibliography start here. If you're looking for a more in depth look at his work, this site from the UK is exhaustive