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A TRIBUTE TO RAY BRADBURY by Salvatore Buttaci

               MARTIAN CHRONICLES (1950)

I first met Ray Bradbury in the pages of his book The Illustrated Man way back in 1951. His easy flowing, poetic style of writing science fiction and fantasy hooked me into a love of these genres to this very day. From that book came others throughout the Fabulous Fifties and beyond. They were books I had to read because Ray Bradbury wrote them and Ray Bradbury ranked first among all of my favorite authors: Philip K. Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, Alfred Bester, Clifford D. Simak, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, C.M. Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, Poul Anderson, Frederic Brown, and Fritz Leiber. 

My childhood was a wonderful time to be an avid reader delighting in vicarious adventures. Thanks to Bradbury and the others, those 25-cent paperbacks allowed me to travel through space and time, hitch my imagination to theirs, and leave Earth if only for the duration of each exciting novel.

Ray Bradbury, who passed away at 91, on June 05, 2012, was the last of my literary heroes to leave this planet. I miss them all, but especially Bradbury because he more than the others started me writing his same kind of fiction. No, we never met in person. He never stood at my side, as my parents did, encouraging me to take up my pencil or pen and get that story down. But being a Bradbury fan, I learned by his example. I internalized the advice he offered young aspiring writers. 
When Bradbury was a young boy of 12, he met Mr. Electrico, a carnival magician, who at the end of one of his performances, reached out and touched young Ray with his sword. “Live forever!” he commanded him. Later Bradbury said, “I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.”
For over 80 years he wrote at least 1,000 words a day! In 1941 he sold his first story “Pendulum” and published his first book, a short story collection called Dark Carnival. in 1947. He was a prolific author who wrote hundreds of short stories, more than fifty books, poems, essays, screenplays, and even operas. 
For those who have never read his works, let me suggest some classics: Martian Chronicles (1950); Fahrenheit 451 (1953); The October Country (1955); Dandelion Wine (1957); Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).
Despite a stroke in 1999, which forced him to use a wheelchair, Bradbury continued to write and see his books published. . In addition to many writing awards, Bradbury was the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. 
In 2002 I was an English teacher in a New Jersey middle School. One of the stories we were reading and discussing was Ray Bradbury‘s “All Summer in a Day.”  The story takes place on Venus where rain falls incessantly, except for two hours every seven years, when the sun makes its rare appearance. The children in the schoolhouse are no different than children on Earth. (you can read the story at 
My 8th graders loved the story! Some went on to read more Bradbury stories on their own time, even books I recommended to them. Because of their enthusiasm, I asked if they’d like to write a letter to the author. I would somehow find his address, we’d place all our letters in a manila folder and mail it out to the author. 
Here is Ray Bradbury’s reply from his home on Cheviot Drive in Los Angeles:

February 28, 2002

Dear Salvatore Buttaci:



Thank you very much for your kind and loving letter. I deeply appreciate all the wonderful things you said about my books and your history in reading.



I appreciate your sending on the letters and essays of your various students. I wish I had time to respond to each one. This sort of thing is very welcome to me at this time because when I began writing, years ago, very little attention was paid to my writing; my first books were published to absolutely no reviews at all. Now you come along with your kind students and give me praise in my later years.




wish you well in the months and years ahead and send all of you my love.

(Signed: Ray Bradbury)



I hope after reading this article, if you are not already a Bradbury fan, you will pick up one of his books and become one. 





Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two short-short story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, both published by All Things That Matter Press and available in book and Kindle editions at

 His new book If Roosters Don’t Crow, It Is Still Morning: Haiku and Other Poems  

Buttaci lives in West Virginia with Sharon, the love of his life. 





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Sunday, 21 April 2024