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Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in Books, People, Reading | 4 comments

The Last Night of the World

Ray Bradbury: (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012)

My small tribute to the man who turned me on to Science Fiction.

The first science fiction story I ever read was Bradbury’s “Kaleidoscope.” (thanks Dad!).

It totally freaked me out, so of course I read more: The Veldt (more creeping out!), “The Long Rain” (would it never end?) and, “The Last Night of the World” — read it and cry.

They were just the beginning.

That battered book laying on its side in that photo is an original edition of  The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1: 1929-1964   (1970), a collection of 26 stories of the pre-1965 period that were selected by the SFWA as the “the definitive group of stories by writers who have done the most to give form and substance to modern science fiction..”  As you can see, the book has been well-read over the last 40 years — well enough that I can still flip to my favorite stories, even though the Table of Contents (along with the cover and pages i-ix) are long gone.

Fittingly for today, here is Bradbury’s story in the collection  —-

Perhaps I’ll set up the telescope tonight and focus on Mars …

 

[edit: Chuck Wendig, over at Terrible Minds, has a nice post and long comment section on “Your First Bradbury.”  Surprising how many people started with “The Veldt” or “Kaleidoscope.” If you’re a fan and can remember your first Bradbury, drop a comment here or over there.  6/8/12 ]

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for remembering! It only took one story – Kaleidoscope – to get you hooked, then I was hooked because I remember how excited you were to share that one with me! Do we thank Dad or blame him for the years we spent with our noses glued to those stories! It does seem like the kind of thing I should definitely pass on to the boys.

  2. Hi Meg! I say we just hold our dad completely responsible either way. 😉

  3. Fahrenheit 451 and “The Sound of Thunder”. I don’t know how many times that I’ve mentioned “going back in time and stepping on a butterfly to change history” and have people ask if I’m referring to Homer Simpson.

    For sheer weirdness, try “Tomorrow’s Child”: when a high-tech birthing machine goes awry, a woman gives birth to an extra-dimensional baby that looks like a blue pyramid with tentacles.

  4. Dan, thanks for mentioning those stories. “The Sound of Thunder” — I remembered the story, but couldn’t conjure up the title. A classic! And how could I not have known about “Tomorrow’s Child”? Blue pyramid baby? I must investigate immediately!

    Meanwhile, this just up in my Twitter feed: The Physics of Ray Bradbury’s “The Sound of Thunder.”

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