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Ray Bradbury: Where Imagination May Take Us

Updated on February 18, 2014
Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury | Source

In My Room/Spaceship

In the month of July, 1967, Ray Bradbury was brought to NASA to meet the Apollo astronauts. He was nervous. He supported space travel with all his heart and believed deeply in the progress of mans movement towards Mars.

The Apollo mission was the first step and he felt as if he was standing amongst hero's of the human race that were about to make lasting history. He didn't know how to act and he stood there quietly amongst the astronauts.

Finally the silence was broken and it seemed all the room spoke in unison.

"Ray I would have never become an astronaut if it was not for The Martian Chronicles."

He was taken by surprise. They had read his book. Now his heroes all gathered around him and hugged him for his gift.

I was around ten when I picked up The Martian Chronicles. Funny how I have saved that book all these years on my bookshelf. The same copy sits silently without a front cover and dusty. I haven't been able to throw it away.

Shortly after I experienced reading The Martian Chronicles I read Dandelion Wine and was able to remember the joys of being a young boy with every page.

Then in High School we were told to read Fahrenheit 451. Another fascinating read. This book was the only book that Ray Bradbury admitted as Science Fiction. He considered himself a fantasy writer, in that he did not include a lot of factual scientific data in most of his novels except this one.

I also dreamed of space flight, from my bed in my room, while I read The Martian Chronicles. I did not become an astronaut, but I would like to thank Ray Bradbury all the same.


A great quote from towards the end of his life.
A great quote from towards the end of his life. | Source

"The Secret of life is being in love..."

Ray Bradbury was interviewed during the 2010 Comic Con and confessed to being a Zen Buddhist. He also stated that "the secret of life is being in love..." and "so much of my career was based on love."

Ray's biographer Sam Weller spent many years with the Bradbury family and after Ray's death published numerous interviews between him and Ray. I heard one of Weller's interviews on NPR shortly after Ray's death in 2012 at the age of 94.

Ray stated in the interview that he loved writing more than anything in the world and enjoyed the process. He stated that he did not understand writers who complained about the process.

But his love was not only centered on writing. Within his lifetime he wrote screenplays for his show The Ray Bradbury Theater in the late 1970's and the screenplay for John Huston's Moby Dick.

He also had a chance to codirect the movie version of Something Wicked This Way Comes, which he discusses during the 2010 Comic Con interview.

He tried his hand at architecture. He helped to design the Epcott Center in Florida and some memorable buildings and parks in Los Angeles.

Pretty good for someone who graduated high school but did not go to college. He had a great love of libraries and explains in many of his interviews how he graduated from the local library. He helped donate money to libraries around the country and fought for libraries throughout his life. He stated in the Comic Con interview that if you need to learn something go to the library, it is all there, and it is free.

I feel the real lesson that can be learned from this amazing man is that if you work at something because you truly love it, you can create something incredible.

The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles is a book that discusses the human race populating Mars. It is Epic in that the story begins with the spaceship to evaluate the living conditions on the red planet and then ends with humans having populated Mars for over hundreds of years.

Ray Bradbury was obsessed with Mars and believed that the human race should look at the move to Mars as our number one destiny. He believed that the moon was the first step and that we needed to work on heading back to the moon to start colonization.

During the Comic Con interviews he stated that he wanted to be buried in a Campbells soup can on Mars.

Book Cover
Book Cover | Source

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine is an autobiographical look at Ray Bradbury's boyhood. When asked how he maintained such a good attitude throughout his life he replied that he never grew up. He considered himself a sort of Peter Pan.

He said that staying in a constant state of boyhood is what gave him the energy to create what he created. Dandelion Wine is an incredible exploration of boyhood that fills the reader with great moments of nostalgia for childhood.

I strongly recommend this book to all not just the science fiction fanatics out there.

The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man is a collection of short stories that he ties together with tattoos.

Each story revolves around a time traveller who gets tattoos to remember his travels. Each story stands alone throughout the book and each story leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

When asked after the Comic Con interview what motivated him to write Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray commented that it was his lifelong fascination with the Circus and Carnivals.

Not only it this book a vivid picture of Carnival life it also has great twists and turns and is a little bit of a spine tingler.

Book Cover
Book Cover | Source

A Sound of Thunder

This memorable story of the consequences of Time Travel contains a plot that has been repeated throughout the genre.

I am not going to explain here, read the book, or see the movie that came out in 2005.

Source

Remaining Book List

Here is a list of books by Ray Bradbury other than the ones mentioned above:

Fahrenheit 451

Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

The Homecoming

The October Country

Now and Forever

Bradbury Speaks

Bradbury Stories

The Cat's Pajamas

Death is a Lonely Business

A Graveyard for Lunatics

Green Shadow, White Whale

I Sing the Body Electric

A Medicine for Melancholy

Farewell Summer

Driving Blind

From the Dust Returned

Let's All Kill Constance

S is for Space

R is for Rocket

Ray on the set of "The Ray Bradbury Theater"
Ray on the set of "The Ray Bradbury Theater" | Source

In Conclusion

Throughout Ray Bradbury's life he kept writing fan mail to the writers that he looked up to. He loved Prince Valiant and collected the comic throughout his life. He wrote to the author of the comic multiple times explaining how much he loved his work.

He also loved Tarzan and had written many letters to Edgar Rice Burroughs. He invited Burroughs to join him and a collection of Science Fiction writers including Robert Heinlein in LA but Burroughs declined.

I find it refreshing that he worshipped his heroes throughout his life. I feel it is healthy to keep childlike fascinations throughout ones life no matter what age.

Ray also wrote poetry, I have not been able to find any published anywhere, but he admitted to loving it. He also stated during the Comic Con interview that he was influenced by Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

Ray Bradbury was an incredible man who wrote some incredible fiction. He lived a long life, as a boy throughout. He kept working and never gave up on his passions.

Please enjoy some of his novels, maybe watch an old Bradbury film. He motivated me at a young age and he may be able to motivate you.

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    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank chef-de-jour I am motivated by your kindness. Jamie

      Thank you brownella I love Dandelion Wine myself. Jamie

    • brownella profile image

      brownella 3 years ago from New England

      Great hub! I've always loved Ray Bradbury's writing, especially Dandelion Wine, you can practically smell the fresh cut grass while you're reading. There are quite a few titles you listed above that I haven't heard of though so thanks for the introduction...I guess I'll have to take a trip to the library.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Yes, a humble man with a great gift. I read Ray Bradbury way back and loved the Martian book. I should get back to more of his work!

      Your hub is a fitting tribute to a writer who is still inspiring others and will continue to do so into the future.

      Votes and a share.

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you manatita44. Jamie

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      I took an interest in him only recently. I believe he had just 'passed' and there was a podcast about his life. I found it quite fascinating and I have mentioned it to a few people since.

      A truly great, entertaining and humbling man. God bless you and God bless Ray Bradbury.

    • jhamann profile image
      Author

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Romeos Quill, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Jamie

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Hi Jamie;

      A great Hub about a great man.

      Certainly recall some of his science-fiction works lying around the house when first learning to read and Farenheit 451 ( isn't that the temperature at which paper burns? ) was one of the most realistic dystopic writes I've soaked up about a completely totalitarian state where books are banned and each individual becomes a living book by remembering and relaying knowledge to the next generation by oral tradition, amongst other things.

      Thank you and have a good week.

      Best Wishes,

      R.Q.

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      It is so nice to hear from you Kathryn, I hope all is well and thank you for the comment. Jamie

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      Kathryn 1000000 3 years ago

      brilliant,Jamie...

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Anne Harrison. Jamie

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 3 years ago from Australia

      Fahrenheit 451 is such a great novel - a character driven novel with a science fiction setting. The only other work of his that I have read is Zen and the Art of Writing - essential reading for anyone wishing to write. Voted up, and I look forward to reading his other works.

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you bethperry, I cannot wait until my son can tackle a good Bradbury. Jamie

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      Fantastic article on one of the best writers of the last century! My youngest child has just discovered Bradbury, and I am tickled pink.

      Voted up.

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you HSchneider, Jodah, and Faith Reaper for stopping by and leaving wonderful comments. Jamie

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, yes, Bradbury was great! You have written a wonderful tribute here. I will have to read some of his novel again and watch an old film or two.

      Up and more and sharing

      Have a great weekend,

      Faith Reaper

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great tribute hub Jamie. Strangely I have never read any of Ray Bradbury's novels. I have seen the movies Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes. But I will have to look for his books particularly Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit451 and The Martian Chronicles.

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      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great informative Hub, Jhamann. Ray Bradbury was a wonderful forward thinking writer.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Funny you should say that, I've just written a note to remind me to download it onto Kindle!!

    • jhamann profile image
      Author

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Ann, you should check Dandelion Wine, it is really good. Jamie

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I have of course heard of Ray Bradbury but never read any of his work. You've inspired me to put him on my 'to read' list.

      This has brought to life his character and his interests. What I like about him best is the fact that he remained a boy at heart; that's refreshing.

      Great job, Jamie. Not only have you informed us but you've inspired us to find out more. Ann

    • jhamann profile image
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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Bill and Audrey I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Jamie

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Love this Jamie--I am a big Bradbury fan!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There are some videos of him on youtube talking about the craft of writing...very interesting man and a great writer. Nice subject, Jamie.