June 5, 2012, marked the passing of one of the great masters of science-fiction and fantasy, Ray Bradbury. There was a time when I was an avid sci-fi reader, having discovered the genre through one of Mr. Bradbury's fabulous books. I feel fortunate to have been exposed to sci-fi during the "golden" era of the early '50s. I read most of the great SF authors of that period--Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Sheckley, van Vogt, etc.--not to mention the pulp monthlies of the day. In a 1980 letter to the author, I wrote:
"In the summer of '51 I was a nature counselor at a summer camp in Michigan. One day I happened to be in a local drugstore, looking for a paperback to read, when my eyes fell on [The Martian Chronicles]. The poetry, beauty, and art of that work instantly captivated me and won me over to SF. Over the years I read other stories and other writers but always returned to my favorite author, Ray Bradbury. No one in SF/fantasy ever approached your marvelous and unique style. My original copy of Chronicles has long since departed due to countless re-readings and borrowings. Even though I no longer read SF, I always keep a copy of Chronicles on the shelf as a reminder of the 'good old days.' And who knows? Perhaps, in some subtle way, Chronicles may have helped coax along my astronomy career (planetarium).
"After all these years, it is time for me to pay some sort of homage to the master. Enclosed is a copy (from the penciled original) of my comic version of '--And the Moon Be Still As Bright' from Chronicles. (I was a self-taught amateur artist who had to decide between science and art as a career; science won.) I drew this purely for my own enjoyment in '53, the summer after I graduated from high school. At the time I did it, I tried to be as faithful as possible to the intent of your story; the boxes and balloons all represent direct quotes from Chronicles. Whether I succeeded or not, only you can judge. Please accept this copy with my deepest gratitude for providing me, as well as thousands of others, with great pleasure over the years."
Much to my surprise, Ray Bradbury acknowledged my little gift in a wonderful reply postmarked Feb. 20, 1980. An imaginative graphic letterhead covered three-quarters of the single page. Below the graphic was Bradbury's response:
"Dear [my name]: What a nice gesture, what a nice gift from your own past, across the years, to me. I shall keep and treasure the adaptation you wrote and drew of my AND THE MOON BE STILL AS BRIGHT the summer after you graduated from high school. It is good to know that I was some sort of small influence in your life so long ago. Bless you in the years ahead in your life and in your fascinating work. Thanks again.
(signed Ray Bradbury)
A friend of carl Sagan's"
Ray Bradbury's letter is framed on my living room wall.
To paraphrase a Bradbury title, any friend of Carl Sagan's is a friend of mine. Thanks for posting, rayfan.
|Powered by Social Strata|