I have a confession to make:
I have never read anything by Ray Bradbury.
One would think that would be nearly impossible, given how prolifically Mr. Bradbury contributed to the fields of horror, fantasy, mystery and science fiction: 27 novels, over 600 short stories, and plays, teleplays and audio releases galore of that body of work. One would think that somewhere along the way, given how much I read and have read since I first discovered the magic of books, I have been exposed to Mr. Bradbury’s works.
But I haven’t.
Not Fahrenheit 451.
Not The Illustrated Man.
No, not even Something Wicked This Way Comes. Book OR movie.
I knew who Ray Bradbury was, of course. But his flavor of sci-fi was never my thing. I was into dragons in a big way as a kid. I read Anne McCaffery like there was no tomorrow, going so far as to beg, borrow and steal books from the library to get updates on Killishandra and Rowan and Lessa and F’lar. Dinosaur Planet and its sequels were my very first foray into the world of sci-fi. (Unless you count the original Astro Boy cartoon that aired at 6am on schooldays and honestly, why would you? … Then again, I also watched Thundercats and Voltron too…)
Regardless. Literary sci-fi. Anne McCaffery. Arthur C. Clarke followed her, with Cradle and 2001/2010/2061/3001/etc.
I read Stephen King and Dean Koontz and John Saul and Thomas Harris and Anne Rice and Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark and Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman and Lisanne Norman and Clive Cussler and Tad Williams and Guy Gavriel Kay and Orson Scott Card and a dozen others I can’t even name anymore.
Never Ray Bradbury.
King’s wiki page lists Bradbury as an influence. So does Koontz’s. So does Gaiman’s. So does Card’s. Barker lists King.
These authors make up the majority of my reading when I was a kid.
So why have I never read Bradbury’s work?
I really don’t have an answer. “I never got around to it” just doesn’t seem good enough.
Unfortunately, the man himself is dead, and will be no longer contributing to the world of literature (even though that doesn’t seem to stop Isaac Asimov or Robert Jordan). But his body of work, his legacy to readers like myself, lives on. I have a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s been sitting on my e-reader for months. Likewise, Fahrenheit 451. I had planned on rereading the Otherland series by Tad Williams, but now I will be instead queuing these two books up. The man who influenced at least five of my favorite authors deserves no less than that.
I’m sorry, Mr. Bradbury, that I didn’t take the time to appreciate your work while you were still alive.