Well, If you must know F451 was my first. I read it for an AP english class and now along with three of my friends I'm reading The October Country. I wish I had discovered Bradbury sooner. But I guess better late then never!
I can still remember picking up a copy of Golden Apples of the Sun as a freshman in high school. I was intrigued by the cover art and the title but had no knowledge of who Ray Bradbury was. I could not put the book down. I had never read anything quite like it.
Now as a teacher, I can truly say Mr. Bradbury was the key inspiration to my developing a classic SF/Fantasy curriculum for students 9-12. From Shelley, Wells, Poe, Clarke, Lewis, Tolkein, Clarke, Serling, Asimov, to my foundation of materials centered around Mr. Bradbury's stories, books, and movies, my hope is to get a young person interested in "reading as a life adventure." Then they can be better informed and appreciate the power of the written word.
As Mr. Bradbury succinctly proclaimed, "Science Fiction is the most important fiction being written. It is not a part of the main stream. It is the main stream!"
What better way to capture young students' attentions (in a time of techno-hype and instant feedback) than to challenge their imaginations? (Sounds a bit like Clarisse and Montag!?)
I was 13 and in english class when I was first introduced to the world of Ray Bradbury. We read a story, the name has slipped my mind, I've never read it since then, about a class that experienced life without rain for the first time. I think they were on Venus.
The story made me think, "what if there was such a place? With people living underground, never seeing the sun shine." I've been hooked ever since.
Dr Iman, I think that was "All Summer in a Day" from A Medicine for Melancholy (1959).
When I first read "The Golden Apples of the Sun," I remember thinking it was a beautiful story but it would never work in real life to take such samples--any craft attempting to gather them would burn up before getting near the sun. I was tickled silly to hear this actually was accomplished a week or two ago! Just one of scores of examples of the practicality as well as the poetry of his work!
On that topic, I have always questioned the demise of the father in Rocket Man (c.1950). How and why would he end up being draw into the sun. What major miscalculation must have been made to allow for his solar death? Now with such real and significant data gathering methods, the conclusion of the story makes complete sense. Amazing!
I don't remember the title of the first Bradbury story I read, but it was about Uncle Einar. I must have been around 6 or 7. (I was precocious for my age) The two that got me absolutely hooked were Dandelion Wine and A Graveyard for Lunatics. when I was 10. My mom saw the cover and was convinced I was reading some gory horror stories, so then they were contraband, which made me love them all the more.
Man, for me the one that definitely started me off, and it surprised me that I didn't see this answer more, is The Martian Chronicles. "Ylla" broke my heart at an age when I didn't know my heart could be broken in that way. "The Third Expedition" scared the crap out of me. "...And the Moon Be Still as Bright" literally changed the way I look at the world. I loved the whole way the stories were connected but not one. Even now, when I miss my childhood, I read that book.
Writing an AP English paper on Bradbury right now...the rough draft is due tomorrow...it has to be 10-12 pages :P Urg...the paper's part of literary specialist, and of course I picked Mr. Bradbury My first story...that had to have been in second grade, when I was about 8? 9? Eh...we read "The Veldt" in school...scared the CRAP out of me! Couldn't remember who the story was by, so I didn't connect Fahrenheit 451 with it when that book was required reading. Then I picked up Illustrated Man last summer...and at the first story I freaked out...those damn lions had been plaguing me for years O_O Any story that can stick with me that long HAS to be something good
"All Summer in a Day"
I was in the 2nd grade, I think. And the teacher read the story to the class. It was horrible and wonderful in a way that was beyond my comprehension at the time. It lived inside me for years -- the way the sun was described as a copper penny, the cruel way the little girl was treated by her classmates, the terror of being locked in a closet. I didn't know who Ray Bradbury was. I didn't even know the name of the story for many years. But one day, I was in a bookstore and it came to me. It HAD to be a Ray Bradbury story. I just KNEW it. I picked up a collection of his short stories, scanned through the table of contents, and there it was.
Of course, I bought the book...
I would have first read the Martian Chronicles at the age of 15, and still one of my favorites, I think it could be classed as a good introduction to Mr Bradbury.
I have since hunted down every book I can lay my hand on, isn't the internet just a wonderful place.
My other favourites would be "Something Wicked this way comes" (and I like the movie too), and Fahrenheit 451 (both of which I didn't read until I was 23 or 24.
When I was17, back in 1967, I happened upon a copy of F451. The story really didn't appeal to me, but the writing style had a unique feel to it. I then picked up "October Country" and got pretty well hooked on Bradbury from then on. But it wasn't until I read "Golden Apples of the Sun" and found my all-time fav sory "The Pedestrian" that I really fell in love with his work.
People have called him a great sci-fi author, but his writings cover so many other areas than just plain sci-fi...I regard him as the Wizard of Wonder...an author for all genres and for all times.
It's great to find a place where other people enjoy his writings as much as I do!
I can't remember exactly if i read Kaleidoscope before I read F451.
I read 451 to compliment my selection of 1984, Darkness at Noon, Brave New World type books.
I study short stories and short story writers in quite some depth, so the Martian Chronicles and the Illustrated Man were welcome subjects.
I have been reading Bradbury for years, because I first read Fahrenheit 451, but then I found a copy of I Sing the Body Electric. It was so surreal and amazing, so I started to read The Illustrated Man. My favorite stories are all in Golden Apples of the Sun. I hope Bradbury writes more books like that.
My first read was F451, but my favorite is "The Halloween Tree." That story captures the spirit of the holdiay and remains my favorite to this day.
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