Thoughts on the Sci-Fi Great
Kate West (Writer)
Literary giant Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5 this summer. I'm still thinking about this because for one thing, I'm a fan, and for another, my dad is a fan. Plus he was good. Really good. So Bradbury has been pretty influential on my taste in literature. I'm not quite a fan girl (well OK yes I did go to Comic-Con, why do you ask?) but I have a healthy appreciation for fantasy and prefer it in my movies and freestyle reading.
While The Martian Chronicles will always be my favorite, one story from The Illustrated Man stands out in my mind lately. "The Man" is a story about spacemen stumbling on a serene and blissful planet. Upon further investigation, they discover that the inhabitants were recently visited by a mysteriously wise stranger who set them all on the path to peace. They begin to suspect that this guru might by the actual Messiah, in a Second Coming. Most of the men are content to settle down on this nice planet, but one of them becomes obsessed with finding Jesus (we figure that's who he must be, right?) and he jumps from planet to planet, always told the same thing - that he just missed him. Meanwhile, we find out that Jesus is back on planet peaceful, handing out gospel and that if you are patient enough maybe he will come to you?
It isn't just that his work was so influential (friends are always quoting Dandelion Wine or reading Fahrenheit 450 in school), although that prolific output is a mighty fine legacy, but also the way he lived his life - the way he enjoyed living really sticks with me. His stories taught us lessons on the fallacy of man, the foolishness of ambition and the trials of love. But more than that I think the way he was showed us how to look up at the stars, to dream and to hope. Anyway, I got my summer reading list down. How aboout you?
The Martian Chronicles (1950)
The Illustrated Man (1951)
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953)
The October Country (1955)
Dandelion Wine (1957)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)
R Is For Rocket (1962)
I Sing the Body Electric (1969)
Zen in the Art of Writing and The Joy of Writing: Two Essays (1973)
Kate West Kate West has an extensive theatrical background and has been reviewing plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, comedy sketch and much more since 2003. www.katewestreviews.com
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