It all goes back to Ray Bradbury

Chicago — I told the editor that I wanted to start a weekly column on reading, starting with Ray Bradbury and Gene Wolfe. It’s not because they’re legends of science fiction novels and I’m an avid science fiction leader, but it’s like flipping an enthusiastic toe. Not because they are Illinois sons — Bradbury in Wakigan and Wolf in Peoria. Not because a handsome new edition of their masterpiece was recently released, but Bradbury’s most beloved novel, along with Baldwin, Dickinson, and Falkner, was welcomed by the venerable American library. Meanwhile, Wolf’s “The Book of the New Sun” series has just been reissued by Tor and has received spectacular support (“The Best Sci-Fi Novel of the Last Century” was Wolf’s head. I’m advertising a Neil Gaiman).

That’s not why I wanted to start here.

When I looked back on my reading life and tried to remember the sparks that transformed into this creature, the reader, I felt the joy of becoming independent of the book for the first time, so I wanted to start here. I’m thinking of Bradbury. Perhaps many of you do too. For me, it wasn’t his obvious entrance, it was the eerie “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and the sunny “Dandelion Wine”, not the junior high school standards “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles”. With this new LOA edition). I told the editors that I would like to start here, partly because the autumn equinox is the official end of summer. Dandelion Wine is a fantasy about Bradbury’s childhood summer in Wakigan and the sudden fall of a door slam on a completely empty day. .. (Sure, Bradbury titled his last novel “Farewell Summer”, which arrived in 2006, half a century after “Dandelion Wine”.) As a kid You expect children’s books to get you. But this was an adult book about the world and summer I wanted to see.

Bradbury concludes: “The dawn of June, the noon of July, the night of August is over, the end, the end, and it’s gone forever. Well, the whole autumn, the white winter, the cool and lush spring is the sum of the past summers. And calculate the total. “

Passing through the shop window, the boy is horrified and breathtaking. “10,000 pencils!”

Still, one of Bradbury’s few works, as mentioned above, lacks supernatural or extra-worldly elements, but is still an illusion. Nearly 30 years ago, after graduating from graduate school in Evanston, Illinois, I took a Metra train to Wakigan to see Bradbury’s hometown first-hand. His walky gun was named Greentown, but it was a walky gun. (The city hosts the Dandelion Wine Festival every June to celebrate the summer.) Did he forget about rusty factories, endemic pockets of poverty and sad waterfronts? He offered a lily white fantasia that had a history of ethnic violence, even when he was a boy in the 1920s. The LOA version includes an introduction to the 1974 version of “Dandelion Sake”. Bradbury wrote, “Slightly surprised,” when critics wondered if corruption wasn’t admitted. I realized that his reply was essentially no, but as a boy he was “fascinated by their beauty.”

When the child was poetic, he wrote, “horse manure can only mean flowers.”

Read it now and it’s still a great book — the one that well flows into the October shadows of Volume’s next book, “Something Evil This Way Comes”. Still, when I was reading Gene Wolfe in a fuss last summer, I found a line in one of his short stories that better described Wakigan. It was embarrassing that I had never read him before, as Wolf’s work is full of such wonderful lines. Bradbury, who was 100 years old this fall, died in 2012. However, Wolf died at his home in Peoria less than two years ago at the age of 87. This newspaper did not publish any obituaries or words of gratitude. His death.

To be fair, Wolf is ambiguous unless you travel the path of science fiction / fantasy for his readership. He never crossed the genre like Bradbury. But he is an excellent writer, and like Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Leugin (another Wolfhead), he is ready for rediscovery. The reissue of these “The Book of the New Sun” is a great place to start. They tell the story of a torturer who shows mercy and offends the guild when he violates his oath, but his story and novella are warm and clear in a way I rarely see. Connect with fantasy.

Author Ray Bradbury signs his book Bradbury: Illustrated Life on October 19, 2002 at Burns & Noble, Los Angeles.

It all goes back to Ray Bradbury

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