If you were even a little interested in Ray Bradbury, or in science fiction or fantasy, the news was hard to miss. On 6 June (remember, my clock runs 10 hours fast), I was busy and isolated during the day, but soon after I got home, I switched on the computer to check a few sites and blogs where I stop by every day. Within 30 seconds I knew of Ray's passing.
It seemed to me that the world and his wife had heard the news. I checked the local newspaper the next morning - my life partner subscribes to Die Burger, which is an Afrikaans language paper - and there was a substantial report on page 3. Now, I was raised Afrikaans, and I'm here to tell you that nobody in the Afrikaans community knows who Ray Bradbury is. Well, that's how it seemed.
But the next day I looked in the same paper and there was a follow-up report about two or three local celebs who said that Bradbury had inspired them. Among these was a singer/songwriter known as Koos Kombuis (not his real name; it's one of those punk concoctions which translates roughly as "Jake Kitchen") who said that he was proud to have been in the same anthology as Ray Bradbury.
I did a double take and thought, "No (expletive deleted) way!".
But he was right. He was in an anthology which included Ray Bradbury.
It's here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?339571
So the point, I guess, is that people all over did know who Ray Bradbury was. And they did hear, one way or another.
Yes, there he is! In the same anthology as Ray Bradbury. And Jack London, and H.G. Wells!
I'd strut too. Quietly, proudly, knowing I wouldn't have to tell anyone.
Although I will never forget Arthur C. Clarke's "The Star", I've forgotten enough of H.G. Wells' "The Star" to want to read it again.
And --- I love this stuff. Much as I love happy endings, the real learnings and warnings are in stories like these. Else, what's science fiction for? These stories are Asimov's second SF classification: "If This Goes On..." stories. People need to just a wee tad learn about their own destructive actions, eh?
Oh, this is heady stuff!
So of course it reminded me of two other anthologies, favorites of mine I read a decade ago, and spirit kin to this one:
There Will Be War" ed. Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr
"There Won't Be War" ed. Harry Harrison and Bruce McAllister
I always say on Facebook, "Read it, dammit!" You won't regret it.
Only the people who can't handle stuff stronger than "Cinderella" would regret it.
"Save your freedom. If anyone tells you you may not read Harry Potter because of 'witchcraft', run! Shun him. He's a Fireman."
Funny you mention that, dragonfly, because I'm working my way through a bug crusher anthology called The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction, and of those stories I hadn't read before, I like "The Star" by H. G. Wells best. Lovely story - it needs no improvement for the modern reader. He even gets the number of planets right, calling Uranus and Neptune the "outermost planets"! (This was of course long before the hero to zero career of the wannabe planet, Pluto!)
And our man is in the book as well, with what may well be his finest science fiction story.
A few people not from here offered condolences, which I appreciated.
I thought President Obama's tribute was a wonderful gesture, especially given Ray's apparent political views in his last decade or two, which would surely not have warmed the President's heart.
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