I saw the news and only thought, How did he live so long? - but, How did he ever stop?
Sitting down here, I was going to mention a collection of his short stories, recent ones, I read some months back; I had to go and look up a bibliography to remember the name of it. It was looking down the list and picking out the ones I hadn’t read - let alone the ones I hadn’t loved - that made me stop and suck my teeth. Up to then I was thinking of an old pal whose passing was worth a mention: I’d forgotten how much I owe him.
Ray was a constant of my mid-boyhood, in the same way Jules Verne had soundtracked my childhood and Philip K Dick would hover over my creepy late adolescence. I sought him out in libraries and opshops and lingered over my finds and reread a favourite or two and went looking for more. I read other stuff, but I collected him, like - like a fanboy. And in the same way that Verne is all distilled newness and adventure, and PKD hums with the grandiose paranoia of the spotty, Ray Bradbury was the right voice for the right time. Everywhere, there echoes that ragged edge of childhood passing - the one of Something Wicked This Way Comes - where wonder lives but death is newly real and things are beginning to matter.
Ach. Now there can be a Bradbury collection that’s complete, finished. It doesn’t seem right. I raise a glass, old chum.#ray bradbury #fortified wine