Wednesday, June 06, 2012
My very favorite author, Ray Bradbury, has passed away. The man was 91 years old, and had been ill for some time, so it is not necessarily a surprise. I want to take a moment though and talk about what he did for me.
I don't know what you feel when you hear or read that word, but every time I do I have a sense of longing. I long for a world where we travel from planet to planet not on the grandiose "Starships" of Gene Roddenberry, or "Star Destroyers" of George Lucas, but on a simple rocket, nose pointed to the skies, aerodynamic fins doubling as landing legs as it sets down on the Red Planet; or going further into the cosmos carrying humans with all their fears and hopes, dreams and darkness, victories and foibles. "Rockets" were what Ray Bradbury's astronauts used in his myriad of space stories. Certainly I will not dismiss incredible tales like "Fahrenheit 451" or "Something Wicked This Way Comes," nor the wonderful 20th Century Irish Folk Tales and bits of Americana Bradbury brought to the page in his fever-dream like prose. What will always stick with me though is the rockets. The adventure they would come to connote for me, and the dangers... But mostly the journey, the Rocket as a simple allegory for The Journey. How very wonderful, and how envious I was as a child reading these stories of those fictional characters who climbed those ladders, and flipped those switches and turned those dials to shoot their rockets into space.
Whatever awaits you now, Mr. Bradbury, I hope it is as good as your stories. I hope you are rocketing ahead with this world behind you to new adventures and mysteries.
And thank you for the Rockets.