The Illustrated Man

90 Years Learning
With The Bradbury

He’s arguably the last surviving giant of a trio of authors whose work, for quite sometime, defied any labels. Ray Bradbury who’s 90 today, created a brand new genre of literature that defined, enriched and anticipated the 21st century as we know it. He and Isaac Asimov, who died at 72 in 1992, and Arthur C. Clarke, who left us two years ago before making it to 91.
Whether what they did, and he still does, is fantastic literature, literature of anticipation or the almost two hundred years old term science fiction, which seems to have caught everyone’s fancy, is besides the point.
Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles,” of 1950, and the 1953’s “Fahrenheit 451,” to mention two of his most famous works, were not so much about a possible future, but a stern warning about what was happening at the time, which had already happened before and, scarily, could always happen again at any time.
After all, as this sage of Waukegan, Illinois, already put it, “you don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
His work in fact has so many, deep layers of meaning and significance that it may appear to be at odds with his “sunny disposition,” in the word of an acquaintance, or his customary combativeness, for those unfamiliar with Bradbury, the man. Then again, it’s all part of his allure as an engaging interlocutor, very much aware of current affairs, and far from ready to leave us all to our own precarious devices.
So, here’s to this lover of libraries and ice cream, hoping he’s having a nice cone today and a few more stories to tell us tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury!

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