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Ray Bradbury Recovering from a Stroke 44

Ross Karchner writes "Just thought you and the readers would be interested to know that Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest living Science Fiction writers, is recovering from a mild stroke. While he is not dead, it is a reason to pause and wish him luck in recovery. " As a fan of Bradbury's work, I can only echo Ross' sentiments: Good luck, Ray. Get well soon.
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Ray Bradbury Recovering from a Stroke

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  • I've noted that many of my favorite authors, who defined the genres of modern SF, have been passing on lately. But still I haven't seen anybody quite worthy of wearing their mantles--yet. Perhaps it's just that we're in a transition period. Or perhaps the legacy is already being carried on--in the form of not one, but several authors. Thoughts?
  • I agree that we're in a difficult transition period. During the early part of this century it was easy to see that technology was going to take off, but not to see exactly where it would lead.

    Modern authors have the difficult task of incorporating the latest advances in science and technology, while retaining the mysticism and fantacy which authors like Bradbury brought to their works.

    Reality is almost a hinderance to modern authors. No longer can we imagine vast civilizations on Mars.

    On the other hand, technology has brought about great change in our society. This allows SF authors to do what they do best: explore new facets of human experience. Where Bradbury explored Mars, authors like David Brin explore the stars, and Neal Stephenson explores the infinite virtual worlds of human imagination.

    Hopefully the next few generations of SF writers will be frontier poets and authors writing of new-found opportunity, not academics writing of that which could have been.

    Douglas Rudd

  • I LOVE the work, but I've been pretty shocked at a few public appearances he's made recently. I suppose I'm shocked whenever a man who is obviously intelligent, and clearly has the same taste in entertainment as myself, has such radically different political views than I do.

    Generally, he's seemed pretty conservative and closed-minded, and I found myself getting angry and turning off the TV (it was CNN, as I recall). I felt bad about missing an opportunity to see a man whos words I had read so often, but I just couldn't take it.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy ends with a huge Martian civilization, and most of the rest of the system was inhabited too.

    The problem we have in finding suitable replacements for the older authors is twofold: modern authors need to beable to justify whatever scientific leaps they create, far more so than Asimov or Bradbury ever did; and we aren't several decades past the writing of their works. In the 2020's or 2030's, people will look back to the 90's Science Fiction masters, as we look back now.
  • I remember reading a short story of his where this guy stumbles across a mysterious machine. He pokes around and it captures him inside itself. There he finds a note explaining he is in an automatic casket - it flips him in the yard and buries itself. Yikes what a nightmare. Creepy creepy.
  • >Hopefully the next few generations of SF writers
    >will be frontier poets and authors writing of new
    >found opportunity, not academics writing of that
    >which could have been.

    You also make that sound like a Bad Thing (tm). Personally, I love the dull crap that Clarke used to put out before all this touchy-feely sf happened. :)
  • Ray Bradbury is one of the original band of SciFi authors who defined the genre in the late '40s and early '50s.

    Along with Asimov, Heinlem (sp?), Clark, and maybe Philip K. Dick (who am I missing here?), Bradbury pushed story telling to placed it had never been before.

    He was probabably never as optimistic as Asimov or Clark, - he always seemed a little dark, especially compared to other 1950s stories (except, of course for PK Dicks work).

    For instance (from the Amazon review of his best known work Fahrenheit 451):

    First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.

    For those of you who think SciFi that makes you scared of humanity began with Gibson, go an read something like The Martian Chronicles. These were written in the 1940's and yet talk about things that no one else was talking about until the 1960s - things like the potential negative impact of human civilisation.

    I'll never, ever forget the haunting story (I think it was from this book) about the last surviving martian, hunted over his planet by a man with a big gun, having seen his civiliastion wiped out in his lifetime.

    Get well soon, Mr Bradbury - you deserve to live to see Mars.

    --Donate food by clicking: []

  • I think that I will express the opinion of many other polish sf readers when I say that RB is one of the most popular sf autors ever - also in Poland. Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia, Ray! (*)



    (*) May you get back to health soon, Ray!

  • An interesting fact is that, while Bradbury is considered as one of the masters of SF, he is actually quite technophobic and dismissive about the Internet.
    I remember reading an article by him a couple of years ago about the net, where he voiced the standard close-minded / clueless concerns that so many people have about computers: they are useless, they are just silly toys that males like to use to waste time ("women are more intelligent because they don't get into computers", an almost exact quote), etc., etc. And actually, if you read his work, you'll find out that he almost never gets into the details of the technology; for him, science was just an excuse to drift into other fields.

  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card, and Poul Anderson all write SF that has it's roots in the 50's work, and already have the depth of work that means they will be read for a long time yet.

    Stephenson and Gibson take SF places it never went before, even in the weirdest writing of Dick.

    Don't worry, there are plenty of great authors out there. Crime fiction didn't die with Agatha Christie, and SF has got a lot more potential than that.

    The 50's authors will always be read, but in 30 years, we'll look back on the Golden Age of '90's SF and wonder who could ever replace them.

    --Donate food by clicking: []

  • I had to read the book Martian Chronicles for school and it seemed like he was on crack or something while he wrote it, really weird stuff, no to mention I got a 15 on the book quiz. :/
  • to the family and Mr. Bradbory.

    I have always been a big fan of Ray Bradbory stuff. he helped me get through the worst part of the teen years. When you're 6'2", 125LBs and really clumsy it really helps to have a reason to sit down and read a good book. Ray bradbory wrote most of those.

    So thanks for some good years and hurry up with that recovery. At least this fan is waiting anxiously.
  • You're missing Alfred Bester. It doesn't really get any better than _The Stars My Destionation_ and _The Demolished Man_ when you are talking about the great authors of Sci-Fi. That's not a knock on any particular author, but if you want to put together a Sci-Fi canon Bester has to be included.
  • Seems a good time to tell the story of when Ray was on Politically Incorrect, and the subject was sexual harassment. Ray was saying all kinds of wonderfully incorrect things like, "Ok, is there any man here who hasn't pinched a cute woman's butt?" and "I sexually harassed my wife for years, and then I married her." Poor Bill Maher seemed aghast, but another guest (I think it might have been John Leguizamo?) was just laughing his ass off and saying "He doesn't care, man! I love this guy! He doesn't care!"

    And for the record I loved Martian Chronicles. The chapter about the house that wakes up, lives, and dies all without any humans was spooky.

  • Dear Mr. BradBury:
    I have been a huge fan of your since grade school, and I just want to say I hope you have a speedy recovery! Here's hoping you the best!

  • Yes. Although Bradbury's writing is usually considered SF, it really contains very little true science. His imaginary futures tended to be as woefully inaccurate as the typical blunders of Star Trek or X-Files. The more I learned about science, the less Bradbury I could read with a straight face.

    His tales were often powerful and moving, but to me they would be moreso if he knew what he was talking about. For example, I saw Dogma this weekend. I doubt anyone else in the theater had read (or even heard of) Gustav Davidson's Dictionary of Angels [], but I had, and I really appreciated Kevin Smith's attention to detail.
  • Sorta a nit: Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein are considered the Big Three of Sci-Fi. (Clarke and Dick came slightly later). It's a shame that Bradbury has not done much recently...

    Of course, nearly all sci-fi has it's roots with Jules Verne. From reading Bradbury's work, I believe he was very fond of Verne, as some of the Martian Chronicals sounds like the style of Verne's sci-fi vision.

  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @04:58AM (#1533586)
    I hope he recovers.

    The funny thing is, I don't really think of him as a science fiction author. He's kind of a word poet; he has more image than narrative in many of his works.

    I can and will never foget stories like "The Pedestrian," "The Murderer," and of course, "Farenheit 451," all of which speak much more strongly to the world of today than to the world in which they were written.

    "A Sound of Thunder," "Here be Tygers," the list goes on and on. But what about stories that have little or no fanstasy elements such as "One for His Lordship and One for the Road?"

    One of the wonder of Bradbury's work is how thoroughly he is a writer of books. His work, while it has been translated to film, doesn't hold up well in the process. It's because people don't really talk the way he writes. His dialogue, if you read it aloud, comes across bombastic and grandiloquent, but when you read it on the page, it is a marvel. Honeyed phrases, sweeter in memory than on the tongue.

    He writes the way we all wish we could talk if weren't constantly filled with the fear of sounding foolish. He writes the way we would talk if we could access the wonder of our frozen hearts. He writes the way we all would talk if we felt the pulse in our veins and knew that it was a clock counting the seconds to our death. He writes the way we would talk if we were fully alive.

    I hope he recovers. And I hope even more that his work will remain read and vital, so he doesn't suffer the fate of "The Exiles."

    BTW, I remember a longish short story (short novella?) of his, about a man risen from the dead trying to bring fear to a cleansed and scientific modern world. It begins something like "He came out of the earth, hating." and it ends with him shoved into a crematorium. I'd like to find the story, I read it over twenty years ago, but it still hangs with me. Anyone remember the title and/or which anthology it is in?

    Get well, Mr. Bradbury.
  • I've had the same feeling; kind of amazing that someone whose writing reaches me so completely turns out to be someone I disagree with so much.

    One thing I try to keep in mind, though, is his age; he grew up in a very different time than I did. An interesting point: Bradbury always says exactly what's on his mind, and you can go hang if you don't like it. How many politicians in his age range think exactly the way he does, but don't say so 'cause they know they won't be reelected?

  • I remember reading an article by him wherein he described his early efforts at selling his stories. He wasn't really trying to write science fiction; it just turned out that his stories were so off the wall that science fiction editors were often the only ones that would buy them.

    OTOH, he also tells a story about one that was turned down by an editor that bought most of his stories, because "it's not science fiction; it's a love story that just happens to take place on a space ship".

  • Bradbury is one of the great writers of our times, and I wish him good health, and god bless him (;). The great thing about his writing is the moral imagination it displays, rather than the cheap meaningless fantasy you see so often.
  • For those of you who think SciFi that makes you scared of humanity began with Gibson, go an read something like The Martian Chronicles.

    Nah, The Sheep Look Up was much more realistic, much more possible from today's POV, so much more scary. Even Harry Harrisson got a bit dark sometimes, although you might find that hard to believe after reading any of his Stainless Steel Rat series. My reaction to Ray has been mixed - some brilliant, some boring - but a stroke is not a thing to wish on anybody, even less a creative soul like Mr Bradbury.

  • I've always wanted to thank Mr. Bradbury for providing us with a book that should be required reading for those wishing to qualify as human - Fahrenheit 451. The edition I have contains a preface by Mr. Bradbury in which he tells the story of discovering a college text book that included the story in an edited form - all uses of profanity were cut! I don't think it gets more ironic than that...

    Good luck, Mr. Bradbury, and thank you.

  • I pick up Bradbury whenever I can. I remember reading "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" when I was in middle school, and "There Will Be Soft Rains" (a short story) was in one of my high school literature anthologies.

    I agree; he's one of the writers who's influenced the way I write (when I can get up the courage to write anything but papers these days), along with (don't hate me) E.B. White, Dave Barry, and Garrison Keillor. His prose is haunting; reminds me of Sherwood Anderson, what he called "low fine music" in dialogue...

    Analyzing or dissecting what I find enjoyable in literature always gets me down. Sometimes I just want to read it. But sometimes it's fun, just as it was fun to talk about "Dogma" after seeing it, just as I want to understand why I find Bradbury's work interesting now that it might cheer him up when he needs it.

    Then again, if I were recovering from a stroke, I might not want to hear/see people looking at my work as though it were a car -- "oh, I admire the way he put that chassis together, real professional job" -- because writing/art is different, it comes from a private place, it's difficult and brave for a person to reveal himself through writing --

    So all I'll say is, hope you feel better soon, Mr. Bradbury. Good health and good luck.

  • Does anyone have an address where we can send get-well-soon cards??

  • I was lucky enough to attend an informal lecture given by Bradbury a few months ago. He was talking about the process of writing, not politics, so I can't comment on his political views.

    He definitely seems to be someone who doesn't hold back his opinions. Some teachers from a local high school had brought their students to hear him speak. He told the students, "If anyone tries to tell you what you can and cannot read, you tell them to go to hell." The students enjoyed this, but I think it shocked the teachers a little. This, at least, doesn't sound too conservative to me.
  • And don't forget Frank Herbert, of Dune fame. Some of his more obscure work like Destination: Void is brilliant in its discussion of Artificial Conciseness.
  • by Skid ( 38470 )
    While there's still, and always will be, "hard" SF, more and more the field has become "speculative fiction" as opposed to "science fiction". Consider Spider Robinson - he's probably my favorite SF writer of recent times, yet his most popular books deal with a bunch of people in a bar who just happen to have real weird shit happen to them from time to time... although his "harder" books are researched well enough.

    That is just a single case, but I believe that it reflects an overall trend.
  • Not that there is a canonical definition of the Big Three, but it's nearly always been Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke when I've come across the term ...

    And Clarke was only slightly later! They had their first short story and novel publications almost simultaneously (Bradbury slightly earlier), although of course Fahrenheit 451 has stood the test of time better than Prelude to Space - both published in 1951. Clarke's first great novel wasn't until 1953 - Childhood's End (or Against the Fall of Night - take your pick).

  • Definitely! I think the 90s have been a real Golden Age, with writers like Brin, Bear, Benford, Egan, Vinge churning out some amazing stuff.

    OTOH, someone once said the Golden Age of sf is whatever you were reading when you were 12 (which was Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein for me) ... but I still think this is a new Golden Age :)

  • The story about the dead guy who wakes up is called Pillar of Fire... I read it in an anthology called S is for Space. My favorite story is Frost and Fire.
  • I loved the darkness and nostalgia of Martian Chronicles. What great stuff. I haven't noticed anyone mentioning Dandelion Wine, which I found absolutely exhilirating. I wanted to be that kid, to have summers like he did. Years after I had first started reading RB, and some time after I finally read 100 Years of Solitude and the phrase "magic realism" started appearing everywhere, something made me think, hey RB was writing US magic realism a long time ago.

    So, I have some RB questions for you guys:

    1. The Martian Chronicles I read was a paperback with some wild line drawing illustrations in it. The cover had one of these line drawings printed on an orange background that was surrounded by a white border. I haven't seen these line drawings in any MC versions that I have run into since, and I would love to get a hold of that version again. Can anyone help me with a publisher/date etc?
    2. I have a friend who is doing his grad field work in the tropics and is out in the rain every night looking for frogs and lizards. I wanted to get him, as a gift, a copy of the story of the &lt poor recall> scouting team sent to find out what happened to the colonists on planet insert-name-here. It was always raining on this planet. Raining and raining and raining until people went crazy and committed suicide, and then they would get gobbled up pretty quickly by the incredibly fast-growing plant life &lt /poor recall>. Can anyone help me with a story name/collection name so I can get a copy for my friend? Thanks!
    RB get well soon!

  • Bradbury is far from being a luddite or technophobe. In the notes found in one of his books he mentions his struggles with a kludgy word processor. Perhaps his statements about computers stem from these painful experiences. I feel his pain.

    Once you grow past your techno-centric world view, you will realize there are other things worthy of attention. Bradbury writes about many of them artfully.
  • Can't help with (1), but (2) sounds like ``The Rain'' (or ``The Long Rain''?) from The Illustrated Man. It was also one of the segments used in the movie version of the collection, with Rod Stieger, made in the '60s (?).


  • hey -br-

    thanks for the help q #2. i'm pretty amazed that i received even one response. i figured that i had pretty much relegated myself to "last post."

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." -- Albert Einstein