I can't say for sure that Ray Bradbury was the first writer who turned me on to the wonders of science fiction, but he was certainly the first who impressed me not only with his stories but with the way they were written -- they were so beautiful, poetic, expressing a love of language as well as a joy in life, and also they were full of wonderful, surprising, unexpected ideas and images. Not only did I want to read everything the man had written (and I read it again and again), I wanted more than anything to be able to write like that myself.
It's not always easy to point to influences, but Ray Bradbury is one about whom I have no doubt. He influenced me very strongly when I was just starting out as a writer, and his work still inspires and influences me to this day. THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES is one of my favourite books. Actually, nearly all of his books are favourites. And I could fill an entire list of "my favourite stories" just with stories by Ray Bradbury.
I wrote him a fan-letter -- I don't remember how old I was, but I remember coming home from school and my mother meeting me with an excited smile and the news that "You have a letter from Ray Bradbury!" Yes -- my idol actually took the time to write back!
He was a wonderful, kind, vibrant, inspiring, inspired person as well as a wonderful writer, and I am glad we were privileged to have him in this world for as long as we did. I'm also glad that because of his books, I don't even have to be religious to believe -- indeed, to KNOW -- that Ray Bradbury is still with us.
Tags: ray bradbury
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