Goodbye, Mr. Bradbury. And thank you.

I haven’t read as much Bradbury as I would like. I dare say I haven’t read as much as you have, whoever you are. He’s a writer I have to take in small doses, because he swamps my senses otherwise. He was one of the first SF writers I read, though, in a tattered anthology of great science fiction I found at the used book store. “The Veldt” has never left me. It lives inside my head with “The Electric Grandmother” and Asimov’s “Ugly Little Boy” — all stories about what it means to be human and what it means to lose your humanity. I read Fahrenheit 451 in junior high, and I think I failed all of the quizzes on it, because I always hated being forced to read something I would have read anyway, but it resisted my teacher’s attempts to destroy it. I read Something Wicked This Way Comes in 2010, and I’m still thinking about what it taught me.

This morning, my friend Rissa said:

In rereading that beautiful, tragic story, I thought, “He understood cruelty, but he wasn’t a cynic. And that’s rare.”

Goodbye, Mr. Bradbury. And thank you. I may not have read as much of your work as I would like, but I’ve read enough to know that you were one of our best, and I’m thankful that you left us with so much to explore.