Ray Bradbury holds a special place in my literary heart. I first came across him during my sophomore year of high school. Amidst reading Shakespeare, my teacher encouraged us to try other authors. I don’t recall how I initially ended up with Fahrenheit 451,only that it was on her shelves. Perhaps she recognized the closet geek in me. Perhaps it was sheer luck. Either way, the story captivated me and was the only book in high school that an English teacher gave me that I couldn’t put down.
For me, Ray Bradbury represents the author that made me a science fiction fan. Before, I’d read truckloads of Star Wars and Star Trek novels, but I’d never delved into science fiction beyond that. Loving Star Wars and Star Trek is not necessarily synonymous with loving science fiction. Fahrenheit 451 taught me the joys of a deep and compelling tale. It resonated with the place inside me that always wrestled with questions of human nature, choice, and the power of courage and goodness. It also connected with my deep and abiding love of books.
The science fiction community has lost a great author, but one whom we can learn from and build upon. My prayers to Bradbury’s family and friends. He is greatly honored and will be sorely missed.