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Friday, June 8, 2012

Ray Bradbury Passes into Legend

Like Laurie’s entry, my own contribution to the blog will be short this week, but I had to make mention of the passing of one of science fiction’s most inspiring creative forces. Ray Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, dozens of other novels and hundreds of short stories, died this week at the age of 91. He was buried in Los Angeles, reportedly with the epitaph Author of Fahrenheit 451 on his gravestone.

It is the rare science fiction reader who does not love Bradbury, and the science fiction or fantasy writer that does not owe him a huge debt simply doesn’t exist. (He himself said he only wrote one SF novel—Fahrenheit 451. The rest were all fantasies, because they couldn’t actually happen.) His work became so well-recognized (and, indeed, so well-loved) that it became required reading in high schools and college literature courses around the world. Not bad for someone who always felt libraries did a better job of educating learners than universities.

The greatest irony, however, is that Bradbury’s most famous book has outlived its predictions. Wall-screen television? Got it. Twenty-four hour “information”? Not only in your home but on your computer and your phone and the “sources” are every bit as suspect as Bradbury’s. And saddest of all, we have no need to burn books (though people still do). If a government decided to do so, it need only seize the assets of Amazon and Google and push a button to destroy vast amounts of the published stock of the world. Of course, we do still have real books in warehouses and libraries. For now.

Don’t mind me. The consideration of dystopia always makes me gloomy. But if, as Laurie pointed out earlier in the week, as writers our words must live after us, then Ray Bradbury has nothing to worry about. He created some of the most memorable stories in SF literature, and they will live on long after he is gone.

Donna’s Journal

Action

Have you ever noticed that the most thrilling part of the roller coaster ride comes as you head down from the top? You may think you’re having fun, but you’re really only on a fast trip to another dip. It’s been a month since two agents asked to see the full manuscripts of my novels, and I’ve heard nothing back. **sigh** Trying not to whine, I’ll send them each a nice nudge via email on Monday asking for an update before I head back into the query fray. I do hate it when they leave you hanging. (And, yes, I checked my spam filter. Like 500 times.)

Ping Pong

Sounds like you’ve had some great reaction to the launch of Keir, Pippa. (I can see why, since I enjoyed reading it http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifmyself!) A lot of work, though, too! Next week I’ll be sharing some hot tips on digital promotion from Sarah Wendell, author of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog (smartbitchestrashybooks.com), who will be making a presentation at my local Virginia Romance Writers chapter tomorrow. Can’t wait to meet her and share what she has to see with y’all!

Cheers, Donna

3 comments:

  1. I love Ray Bradbury, and I loved this tribute to him. Though short, you made many good points. His works were frighteningly prophetic.

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  2. For 'O' level English (an exam taken by 14/15 year old children in UK schools) we actually had a Science Fiction Anthology as our required reading for the course (I was in heaven!). That had a Ray Bradbury story in. I wish I could remember the title now.
    And thanks, Donna! Sorry to hear they're keeping you hanging - that's so hard. Can't wait to hear what Sarah Wendell has to say. :)

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  3. Love your title: Ray Bradbury passes into legend. Wonderful tribute, Donna.

    Who knew when I wrote those words on my last blog about our words living on that the week would have such a poignant end for SF (and SFR) fans everywhere.

    Sorry for the "hurry up and wait." Seems to be something all writers have to deal with, but it's never easy living in constant anticipation and wondering when--and what--you'll hear. Hope it's great news when it comes.

    Looking forward to your next post on digital promotion. (Like how I can do it more effectively without LIVING on social networking sites. Gotta write!)

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