My very first exposure to the world of Ray Bradbury, and to some degree the world of ‘foreign film,’ was the François Truffaut adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. Being a great lover of books, the idea of a society in which books were not only banned but routinely burnt when found and confiscated simply terrified me.
I also credit Ray Bradbury for, in rather a roundabout sort of way, introducing my impressionable young hormones to the sultry Claire Bloom in The Illustrated Man, which no doubt laid the foundation for my future taste in women, but that’s beside the point.
I’d always been a fairly voracious reader of horror and the macabre, filling my head with HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson and half a dozen others, but the realm of science fiction and fantasy was, with the exception of Edgar Rice Burroughs, dominated almost exclusively by Ray Bradbury. Combine that with Douglas Adams and Terry Patchett, amongst others, and you can likely imagine the way my mind tends to work, or doesn’t work, or whatever.
Though Dandelion Wine and Fahrenheit 451 are rightly often cited as the favourites of many Bradbury fans, I would say that Something Wicked This Way Comes left a far more lasting mark on me as truly one of the most well-crafted novels I’ve ever read, and one I still revisit from time to time.
I believe that, tonight, as midnight settles in, I will once again return to Green Town and to Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show and wish Mr Bradbury a fond farewell and bright blessings as he travels through ‘That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.’
Ray Bradbury, 22 August, 1920 – 5 June, 2012.