One of the Good Ones
“And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper…It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his throughts down, looking around at the world and life…”
~Montag, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (pg 51-52)
Today, the world lost an incredible author. Ray Bradbury, who wrote the classic Fahrenheit 451, a novel about the importance of stories and demonstrating censorship gone crazy, passed away at the age of 91. He was “a sci-fi legend” and he didn’t just write nearly 50 novels–he also wrote screenplays, poems, essays. There weren’t many forms of story that Ray Bradbury didn’t use, and he left an impression on the writing and literary worlds.
I read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time a couple of years ago. I love books about books, and since censorship is one of my hot button issues, I couldn’t help but pick up the novel. If you believe in the things we speak of here at HPA, about the power of stories, it’s one story whose power you need to experience. For within the story, the characters themselves speak of the power of stories–stories so powerful and meaningful and controversial that the only thing the government can do is burn all the books, to keep the peace.
“Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They might just stop us from making the same damn mistakes!”
~Montag, Fahrenheit 451 (pg 74)
Stories are powerful. But we all know that. Ray Bradbury didn’t just show the importance of stories, but he also knew how important literacy is. He wanted people to read, he wanted people to learn. In a sense, he was an embodiment of so much that we are here at the HPA–the power of story, the importance of reading…these are things we all know, and he was speaking of them long before we came into existence.
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
The world will be missing a wonderful author, an amazing storyteller. Read through some of the things he’s been quoted as saying, and you will see that he was just a generally awesome person on top of it all. Not many people can speak of space travel, sideshows, gorillas, and dinosaurs in the same breath and have it make some kind of sense. Not many authors can speak to so many generations.
“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
~Faber, Fahrenheit 451 (pg 83)
Rest in peace, Ray Bradbury. You were one of the good ones.