Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s Birthday

By Steve Vertlieb: 101 YEARS. As I remember what would have been his 101st birthday on August 22nd, my memories drift back to a time not that long ago when I was proud to think of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century as my treasured pal.

Here is my affectionate tribute to cherished friend Ray Bradbury, whose loving presence occupied my world and my heart for nearly four decades. Ray was one of the most distinguished writers of the twentieth century and, with H.G. Wells, perhaps the most influential, legendary science fiction writer of the past one hundred years.

More importantly, however, Ray was a gentle little boy whose love of imagination, fantasy, and stories of other worlds influenced thousands of writers and millions of admirers all over the world. His monumental presence upon this planet warmed and inspired all who knew him, and I was honored to call him my friend for thirty-eight years.

Here, once more, is my loving remembrance of the life and world of Ray Bradbury, “I SING BRADBURY ELECTRIC” at americanmusicpreservation.com – “A Ray Bradbury Remembrance (Film Music Review 14th Anniversary Special”).

Thinking of my beloved friend on what would have been his 101st birthday on August 22nd.

Sharing a few special moments with cherished pal Ray Bradbury at Forry Ackerman’s spectacular 1993 “Famous Monsters” reunion celebration in Crystal City, Virginia.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s Birthday

  1. Pingback: NEWS FROM FANDOM: 8-22-21 - Amazing Stories

  2. What a nice remembrance of dear Ray Bradbury. I also attended the Famous Monsters World Convention in 1993. Everyone was there. I got to meet Curt Siodmak, Ray Harryhausen, Walter J. Daugherty and Rick Baker. Visited with friends Robert Bloch, Julius Schwartz, Kelly Freas. Dave Kyle was there, too. Sadly, many have passed away (it was, after all, 28 years ago). We are the old-timers, now…

  3. @John. I had wanted to be at that convention as well. But unfortunately they didn’t bother to check if there were other science fiction conventions that same weekend. And there was— Disclave. I was a member of WSFS back then, so that’s where my loyalties lay. And the two conventions were too far apart from each other in distance where I could do both.

  4. Excuse my strong language here, but I loved Ray Bradbury. (I know that love is now a word forbidden to all but advertisers.) I have read his stories aloud more than any other author. The only other writer whose words feel as good tumbling around on my tongue is James Joyce, but the density of Joyce’s prose does not hold a candle to the clarity of Bradbury.

    I wanted to be him.

    When I finally met him he turned out to be as kind and joyous as I had imagined him. His voice was music. When some people complained that he read his poetry in public I was bathing in the glory of words washing over me like soft rains falling in starlight.

    He mentioned once that he had learned to write by putting all of Theodore Sturgeon’s stories through his typewriter, so I sat up and paid attention to Sturgeon. When I met Sturgeon, and heard him speak, I went home and wrote a story with his voice in my head, and that was my first sale. I never managed to get Bradbury’s voice in my head that clearly, but Ray’s advice was awfully sound.

    When I read “Dandelion Wine” I had to make the stuff, back East. With a sudden spring dandelions are plentiful, but in California they are fickle as forsythia and it’s hard t get even two quarts of blossoms all at once to make a small batch. But nothing treasures up the summer the same as that flavor.

    Back at Milford I was in need of an agent. Virginia Kidd lived there and said she would take a look at my stories. She wrote to me later and said she had some misgivings, but she would take me on. “Even though you have all the same faults as Ray Bradbury.”

    I cannot imagine that anybody could have paid me a greater compliment as a writer than that one.

    Yeah, he is not in the world with us at the moment, but I still love him with all my heart.

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