Ray Bradbury was one of the few people I always wanted to meet but never got a chance to do so. Since he passed away yesterday at the age of 91, it appears that meeting might never happen.
I wasn’t exposed to Ray Bradbury until high school. My junior year the Honors English teacher assigned Fahrenheit 451 to the class. I read the first page and was hooked. At the end of the year the teacher asked the class to vote on their favorite book we had read that year. I was the only one to vote for Bradbury’s classic. The themes in Fahrenheit 451 were something that always stuck with me and that book was one of the major influences for my novel The Third.
That summer I read a lot of Ray Bradbury books and enjoyed every one of them. Despite the deep messages that were a part of many of his works, there was always an innocent quality to his worlds and characters and a call to adventure that made me feel like a kid on a grand adventure whenever I read his novels. (Sadly, I don’t think any of that simple innocence will ever come across in my fiction.)
One of the great things about being a writer is that so long as someone, somewhere is reading your books, you never really die. So even though Bradbury is no longer with us in person, part of him will continue to influence readers for generations to come.
Rest in peace, Ray. Though we never got to meet in this life, maybe we’ll get a chance to talk in the next.