Among the science fiction and fantasy community, this will be THE post for the next few days. But this one I can not ignore, and so forgive me for posting along with everyone else. It's one of those occasions where it is appropriate to follow the crowd.
When I was fifteen, The Martian Chronicles mini-series debuted on television. I watched as an interlocked series of fascinating stories embroidered upon the theme of life on Mars. I was stunned at how much each little vignette spoke to human experience.
I hurried to my school library and checked out the book. I found out that the mini-series was a pale shadow of the book, and that the book struck chords and depths in me I didn't know I had. I remember crying when I read Ylla and The Green Morning.
As a fifteen-year old, I did not have the vocabulary or the breadth of literary study to explain to you what I can easily explain now. How Bradbury, the lyricist, made my hands tremble when I read the poetry of his books. How Something Wicked This Way Comes has dark influences that climbed into my subconscious, took root there, and became something of the Klarions. How I regretted that Charles Halloway was not my father, and how he became the father of my imagination. I watched the movies on the skin of the illustrated man. And Greentown spoke to me of the American experience as surely as Winesburg, Ohio ever did.
The gifts of Bradbury were so many. What is perhaps the greatest tribute is that in the American conscious, he was not only considered a master of genre, which would have been an accomplishment in and of itself, but he was seen on a par with literary mystics like Marquez. He was recognized for what he was--a poet and a seer, a weaver of truths that reached under your skin, a magnifying glass that examined human nature ruthlessly but tenderly. He was a teacher, he was a writer, he was a creator of music.
My soul knew that. I only have to pick up one of his books now to feel that warm tingling of creativity he invokes in me, his words making me want to sway to their rhythm throughout the long slow waltz of my life interacting with his through his words, the music we both heard, on the page.
Good bye. You will never come again. And that makes every treasure you've given us even more bittersweet.