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Sad/angry Huskyteer

It's A Shame About Ray

I got the news that Ray Bradbury had died from rabbitswift's LJ last night.

As a young squirt, I loved both his sci-fi (The Illustrated Man, surely one of the most original ways ever of unifying an anthology) and his child-friendly horror, like The October Country and The Hallowe'en Tree. In more recent times, I've found Zen in the Art of Writing a comfort and an inspiration.

Along with J. G. Ballard (RIP), he was an author I read more for his lucid, dreamlike prose than for the content (although that was pretty great too). His great skill was finding the magic in the ordinary; one of my favourite Bradbury stories, The Other Highway, is about a family who on a whim take the old, forgotten road instead of the interstate one evening. Another, The Sound of Summer Running, is about a kid who wants a new pair of trainers for the summer:
Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted, They put marshmallows and coiled springs in the soles and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness. Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden. The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees and a lot of rivers going down to the lakes. Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer.

Douglas tried to get all this in words.

"Yes," said Father, "but what's wrong with last year's sneakers? Why can't you dig them out of the closet?"

He lived a long and I hope happy life, revered and loved.


He lived a long and I hope happy life, revered and loved.

That's as much as any of us can hope for. Nevertheless it's sad that he passed, and my thoughts are with his friends and family.

And while I never read much by Bradbury, if he's comparable to Ballard, maybe I should. I vividly remember reading one of the latter's stories (The Terminal Beach) in a science-fiction anthology as a teenager; it absolutely floored me and struck me like a sledgehammer, the sheer incredible power of it, the burning intensity, the way that everything about the story came together, places, people, events, to create a haunting and powerful vision. Even today, I can hardly even begin to appreciate how incredibly densely-written the story was, how full of ciphers and subtexts, how everything had double and triple meanings. Everything – the world, the island, and the protagonist's mind – reflected everything else, and everything that happened had to, by necessity. It was one of the most prodigal pieces of writing I've ever read.

If Bradbury's anything like that, then yes, I'll definitely have to read more that he wrote.

In the meantime... condolences to those who knew him.

(Also... just curious, is the title of your post a Lemonheads reference?)
Being fond (also!) of the visual arts, I can only wish to see more cinematic sci-fi productions with anything approaching that level of insight into humanity, rather than the usual explosionfests and Evil Bad Guys(tm). It's dreadfully frustrating to see even quite well-known and regarded authors such as Vernor Vinge or Stephen Baxter completely, utterly overlooked, in favor of yet another invasion by aliens who are utterly unredeemable. (Perhaps no surprise I enjoyed Enemy Mine, ne? I should watch that again.. it's been a long time)
Oh, Enemy Mine... that's one of my favorite science-fiction films.

And yeah, I know what you mean. The series of books that had The Terminal Beach also had many other sci-fi stories, and many of them weren't the standard "spaceships and aliens" fare you might expect.

I also distinctly recall Turn Off The Sky, for instance, a dystopian (?) vision of the future on Earth; and there was one by Jack Vance (The Moon Moth) that was almost a pure fantasy story (albeit one set in a science-fiction universe).

'course, these weren't the only interesting ones, but they're the ones I recall most. :)
I remain impressed by the (not so simple, I suppose) fact they managed to get that made, with such a refreshing lack of gung-ho - but, it does seem determined filmmakers can, one way or another, see their visions through, as with The Man from Earth, Donnie Darko, or Moon. (Although, I felt the original release of DD was markedly superior to the director's cut, precisely because it didn't feel it had to (try to) explain everything)

Hey ho. Maybe the next big wave in cinematography is CG with - as the guys temporarily sharing our space back as Trilobyte put it - Synthespians, placing some degree of actual acting in the realms of the home CG artist. Perhaps at that point, we'll see a blossoming of such imagination, way beyond the realm of print.
Sorry! Wasn't meant as a reply to you. There's just something about this specific LJ style that keeps fooling me.. but I am but a bunny of very little brain.
It is a wildly impractical style, though I remain fond of it!
Spot on with the Lemonheads. Not very respectful, perhaps, but it popped into my head and I couldn't resist.

Bradbury is a more old-fashioned author than Ballard and less graphic. Some of his stories are sad but most leave you with a little warm glow.
Full marks for the Lemonheads reference!
Confession: I only became aware of the Lemonheads because they covered Simon & Garfunkel!
Sad news. It's "Dandelion Wine" I have more than one copy of...
That's one I don't have, though I have read and loved it.
I'll have to skim it, but I'm pretty sure there's a sneakers bit in "Dandelion Wine" very like the bit from "The Sound of Summer Running" you quoted.

You mentioned "R is for Rocket" on Twitter. It's not one I remember reading, but one story in it, "The Rocket Man", has inspired at least a couple of filk songs, one of which another friend mentions in her tribute.
I must do some rereading of Bradbury; he's certainly worth it.
I was in floods of tears over 'R Is For Rocket' last night and I think there may be more re-reading today.