The Sciences

Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury and "90 God-Damned Incredible Years"

Science Not FictionBy Eric WolffJul 25, 2010 9:08 PM


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Ray Bradbury is the last living of the great early titans of science fiction, now that Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke have passed. He said he's attended every Comic-Con since the first one, when he went to the El Cortez Hotel and spoke to a few of the 300 attendees that year. These days, 125,000 people turn out for Comic-Con every year, and I had to wait 30 minutes to get in to see Bradbury speak. He'll be 90 in August, and he's hard of hearing, but he's still sharp, and he's forgotten nothing. The Bradbury panel featured Bradbury talking to his biographer, Sam Weller. I'm just going to share select quotes from his remarks. These are in order, but incomplete. "The Internet to me is a great big goddamn stupid bore." "I got a call from a man who wanted to publish my books on the Internet. I told him, prick up your ears and go to hell." [Bradbury has met most, if not all, of the Apollo and Gemini astronauts.] "All those astronauts had read the Martian Chronicles. When they were young men, they read my books and decided they wanted to become astronauts." "[Twilight Zone creator] Rod Serling came to my house many years ago, he didn't know anything about writing science fiction and fantasy. So I took him down to my basement and gave him copies of books by Richard Matheson, copies of books by Henry Kuttner, copies of books written by Roald Dahl and by John Collier, and a couple of books by myself. And Rod Serling forgot he read all those books, and when he wrote the program, he copied some of the ideas without telling me. So we got into a big argument, so finally I walked away from the Rod Serling show. He had a great show, but he forgot the basis of the show were all the books I gave him by all my friends." [* Thanks to commenter John Joseph Adams for figuring this one out.] "I read comic strips all my life I have all of Prince Valiant put away. I have all of Buck Rogers put away, too. I put away those starting when I was 19 years old. So my background in becoming a writer was falling in love with comic strips." "I read the comic strips, I learned how to write." "My favorite that's in the paper every day is called Mutts." [Bradbury is a tireless advocate for free public libraries.] "When I left high school, I had all my grades to go to college, but I had no money. I decided I will not worry about getting money to go to college, I will educate myself. I walked down the street, I walked into the library, for three days a week, for 10 years, and educate myself. It's all free, that's the great thing about libraries. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from library." "We have to reinvest in space travel. We should never have left the moon. We have to go back to the moon and build a firm base there, so we can take off from there to the planet Mars. We have to become the Martians. I tell you to become the Martians. We have to civilize Mars, build a whole civilization on Mars, and then move out 300 years from now, into the universe, and when we do that, we have the chance of living forever. Our future is investing right now in space travel. Money should be given to NASA to build the rockets to go back to the moon." "It's been 90 god-damned incredible years." "Every day I've loved it. Because I've remained a boy. The man you see here is a 12-year-old boy, and the boy is still having fun." "You remain invested in your inner child by exploding every day. You don't worry about the future, you don't worry about the past, you just explode. If you are dynamic, you don't have to worry about what it is you are. I've remained a boy, because boys run everywhere, they never look back, they run everywhere, they keep running running running. That's me, the running boy." [Weller asked: Do you have any regrets?] "I regret that I didn't have more time with Bo Derek." "She came up to me in a train station in Paris 30 years ago and said 'Mr. Bradbury?', I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'I love you,' I said 'Who are you?' She said. 'My name is Bo Derrick Derek." She said, "Mr. Bradbury will you travel on the train with me?' I said, 'Yeah, I will.'" "Mel Gibson owns the [movie] rights to Fahrenheit 451. Did you see him on TV last week? Right now he's not doing a thing with Fahrenheit 451." "I've got a new book of short stories, I'm working on, that will be published next Christmas. The title of it is Juggernaut, a book of 20 new short stories, which will be published next Christmas."

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