Thursday, June 07, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury

Let the record show, that as far as I am concerned, Ray Bradbury's best medium outside the printed page was radio, not movies or TV.
Dimension X's audio adaptation of "Zero Hour" lives on my memory much more vividly than any scene from the "Illustrated Man" starring Rod Steiger.
Why exactly this is, I do not know, maybe it's because of the sheer Hemingway-esque sparseness of Ray's dialogue and descriptive sense.
It all translated but poorly to the visual medium...
Whenever Bradbury needed to send his character's outside the solar system he was content to describe their transport as "a rocket" and leave it at that.
You can't get away with that in Hollywood, no that rocket has to be tarted up like the Battlestar Galactica.
Ray didn't traffic with FTL drives and elaborately appointed doomsday machines, if he needed technology he just got a few old gimmicks out of the prop room no need for CGI or Industrial Light and Magic.
This is what gave his writing such power & focus, and it all stands in stark contrast to say his fellow SF writer E.E. "Doc" Smith with his planet sized alien superbrains and inane dialogue eructated by department store mannikins.
Ray had characters, those were all the SPFX he ever needed.
Like his hero Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bradbury is one of those select authors who follow people right out of childhood and may be read re-read and enjoyed right up to the point of senescence and for a goodly while thereafter.
Now at the age of 91, after a lifetime of inspired other writers and being the very bridge out of the sci fi ghetto and into the mainstream, Ray has passed on.
And if there is a merciful and ironic Ghod in Heaven Above, then yes, Ray awoke at the instant of his death on the red sands of Mars, Dejah Thoris on one side of him and a few of his brownish golden eyes martians giving him the puppy dog eyes on the other...

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