R.I.P. Ray Bradbury, Pioneer of Science Fiction
Ray Bradbury, beloved Science Fiction writer, best known for anti-book burning novel "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" has died at age 91.
Bradbury described Science Fiction as a genre in a Paris Review interview:
I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual.
And here's Bradbury on libraries:
I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone.
Like so many, I read Fahrenheit 451 as a teenager and was both profoundly affected by its message and absorbed by its riveting pace and sense of danger.
Bradbury will be sorely missed, but his voice as a writer will stay with us.