I would like to link to two excellent posts:

Sofia Samatar‘s post “The Martian Chronicles”
and Theodora Goss‘s post “Ray Bradbury”

Both Sofia and Ms. Goss convey the wonder and poetic style and humanity that was Ray Bradbury’s style (his legacy?) and they expressed the importance of his work not only on their writing but also on their lives.

I wondered why I had not done so in my previous post. I was tired; I was not feeling up to analyzing the importance of Mr. Bradbury’s work on my own and my life in general… But you, dear reader, can of course get the news any where, and from more thorough sources than this tiny little blog.

Perusing my bookshelves I could not find my copy of The Illustrated Man bought for my Science Fiction literature class in high school (thank goodness for AP English). I do have a copy of Fahrenheit 451. A special someone wants me to read the Martian Chronicles so that we may discuss it, or at least have that experience in common, which for him (like for so many others, as I’m discovering through reading these many tributes) was a formative one.

Growing up, Bradbury’s stories affected me in ways that most other science fiction hadn’t. His stories were, as Sofia writes in her post, “tender, human, subtly poetic. He wrote about being small in a large universe. That’s a child’s view of things, and at the same time, of course, it’s true of all of us.” Bradbury’s stories were filled humanity. The science in his science fiction was not cold (unless that was what he was writing about), and his characters were human. In some ways his writing evoked a feeling not dissimilar to those I felt listening to Carl Sagan – a beauty, an awe, of the universe and us humans in it. Both Bradbury and Sagan warned of senseless destruction. Both emphasized the possible.

I believe it was this humanity, a humanity evolved out of and with the universe not despite it, not devoid of this greater universe, that attracted me to Mr. Bradbury’s writing. Science Fiction is the genre of humanity, when done well. And Ray Bradbury wrote well excellently.

It is why the quotes of his that I’ve been reading these last few days fill me with a greater sense of loss and a better understanding of his greatness, and a more profound understanding of why I write.
From Theodora Goss’s post, “Here is what Bradbury himself said about writing, and it really can’t be said any better:

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us?

“First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.

“So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.

“Second, writing is survival. Any art, any good work, of course, is that.

“Not to write, for many of us, is to die.”

I cannot undo nor can I change war, greed, pettiness. But I can write and keep myself sane another day. And perhaps in writing and sharing I might help someone else stay sane for one more day. Ray Bradbury brought me much sanity and hope. He inspired me, and what is inspiration than a dam against insanity and hopelessness?

Not writing, or creating art, for many of us is to lose our humanity. Humans, be humane. It is a privilege to have this animation. As Carl Sagan would say: We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. There is great responsibility in that. Be human/ humane. Imagine. Write.