Overheard on CNN.com: Ray Bradbury was 'very down to Earth,' or maybe Mars
Sam Green of Burbank, California, shared this photo of his son meeting Ray Bradbury in 2008.
June 6th, 2012
08:42 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Ray Bradbury was 'very down to Earth,' or maybe Mars

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Once you've read Bradbury, can you ever look at a tattoo the same way again?"

The death of Ray Bradbury brings to mind many great books, and here at CNN, a few memorable interviews. His characters set books alight in the dystopian "Fahrenheit 451," populated colonial Mars in "The Martian Chronicles" and danced on the tattooed markings of "The Illustrated Man." But there's more, too, and CNN iReporters and readers were eager to share their tributes to the famed, prolific author.

Sci-fi author Ray Bradbury dies

Film producer John Dayton of Los Angeles says he has worked with Bradbury on some projects. He has a photo showing him with his daughter Alexandra at Ray Bradbury's home last year.

"'Ray was my inspiration and surrogate father," Dayton said. "He taught me to latch onto my dreams, and blessed my life in general."

Chris Kacher of London says he counts Ray Bradbury as a friend. He sent along a photo that was taken in 2010, but he had been reading the author's work for awhile.

"Ray Bradbury talked about how he would write a few pages each day. At the time (back in the early 1990s), he said he only skipped this daily writing ritual twice - once for his wedding, and once when he was in hospital. In terms of sci-fi, his 'Fahrenheit 451' is a seminal work about what could be if we're not careful, akin to George Orwell's '1984.' Both works left a deep impression on my young, developing mind when I was a young teen."

Gene Beley of Stockton, California, sent along a photo of Ray Bradbury in 1968. He has taken many photos of the author over the years.

"Ray was MUCH more than a sci-fi writer, and this is almost an insult to him to ask this question," Beley said. "He was the most underrated writer in all mediums."

David Nitchman of Scarborough, Maine, talked about the breadth of Bradbury's work.

"The stories of Ray Bradbury were introduced to me by my father and our mutual love for those stories has been something we've shared for over 30 years. I think that Ray Bradbury's impact has been on so much more than sci-fi - so many of those stories are NOT science fiction, as they take place in an indeterminate time or often a future that is now ('The Murderer' is a perfect example of this). His themes of fear, and loss and the fantastic in ordinary objects, places and situations are most resonant with me."

Louis Michael Falcetti of Northampton, Massachusetts, saw Ray Bradbury speak at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010.

"Even though he was wheelchair-bound and did most of his speaking through his biographer, he still was there to talk to his fans and share his wisdom. He was funny, sweet, open and honest. For someone at his age then, to go through the insanity circus that is Comic Con, shows just how deep his commitment and love to his fans was."

Bradbury's writing made him unique, Falcetti opined.

"He wrote with an uncynical voice, a difficult feat for sci-fi writers," Falcetti said. "He knew people, knew the good and the bad and was able to craft tales exploring those aspects. He brought space down to Earth and gave the world visions of what it could be, should be and can't be."

The most-liked story comment was from a reader who had seen Bradbury at a convention.

Vengeful: "I was at PAX (or maybe it was Comic-Con) and I was walking down the halls of the convention center when a hushed calm came over the attendees around me. The crowds parted ahead an elderly man as he was driven down the corridor in a wheelchair. 'It's Ray Bradbury' I heard people whisper. The entire corridor erupted in applause and the elderly man's face lit up as the admiration of several hundred of his fans washed over him. Just thinking about it still gives me goosebumps. It was as close to magical as I imagine I'll ever experience. He will be missed."

Sam Green of Burbank, California, says he and his son got to meet Ray Bradbury in August 2008. He describes the author as "very down to Earth (perhaps he'd prefer Mars)."

Indeed, several readers said they count themselves fortunate to have gotten to meet Bradbury.

firetalon78: "RIP Ray Bradbury at age 91. One of the science fiction authors out there I truly admired and got to know one day he visited the U of I Champaign giving a motivational speech around the Halloween of 1999, which I attended the night before. A very positive person despite the hardships he faced during his young adulthood. I saw him sitting outside our student union (Illini Union) by himself enjoying the morning air after coming out of my ECE 229 (Electromagnetics theory class). I decided to go up to him and chat one on one for awhile to learn a bit more about him and his future plans. Aside from future conventions and lectures, he planned to make the most of his life sharing what he has learned in his life. "

Jeffrey Dean Root of Orem, Utah, shared a photo of Venus' transit past the sun as part of his tribute to Ray Bradbury. He and many other readers thought it interesting that Bradbury's death coincided with this celestial event. He said he hopes for advanced space flight in the future.

"With the advent of private space flight and the success of SpaceX's first trip to the International Space Station, I see humans extensively exploring the solar system through manned flights within the next 100 years."

Rachel Humphrey-D'aigle says she grew up in Maine with a very strict religious upbringing and could only get some books at school, including Bradbury's. These books inspired her to think differently about the world. She later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and is now a writer, too.

"Many books and other media were banned for me at that time. If it hadn't been for my school library, I would never have had the opportunity to read books such as Bradbury's. I went on to enjoy many of his works and absolutely fell head over heels in love with sci-fi and fantasy. He had a style completely his own, something I think many of us aspiring authors struggle to find."

One reader said that "Fahrenheit 451," about a "fireman" who burns books instead of putting out fires, inspired them to go to bat for James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the Mountain." The book's frank subject matter has been deemed controversial by some.

ms705: "R.I.P. sir. I remember the summer reading I had to do one year. 'Oh man ... reading ... over my summer break? What's this thing? 'Fahrenheit 451'? Oh, what's that about? Sounds weird!' Turned out to be one of the best summers because two years later when my school tried to ban a book ... I started a school rally."

Nothing like a good book, says this reader who counts science fiction as a big part of their life.

ReallyJersey: "This is a sad day for all devoted science fiction fans. I even met my spouse in the science fiction aisle of my local bookstore. One of my children just read 'Fahrenheit 451.' The poor kid was horrified to even think of a world without the pleasure of settling down comfortably to read a good book. Thank you Mr Bradbury, for sharing your literary talent with all of us. Bibliophiles around the world will miss you. My most sincere condolences to Ray's family and friends."

Marcelo Bulk Giminez of Bogota, Colombia, said he just wanted to pay a tribute to the beloved author who helped make his childhood a little better and inspired further readings.

"Although I do like to read, my main objective is the chance to dream, get ideas and put them intro practice. I think Ray Bradbury was an author with a very different style - his sci-fi and poetry was very appealing and motivated me to develop two sides of my life: the logical and intuitive sides."

For some, Bradbury's stories meant a glimpse at the possibilities.

nmgrrl: "The future is now. I always felt like the future would arrive only when Ray Bradbury was no longer here to dream it and write about it for us – he was such an incredible visionary and had such an expansive, creative mind. I'm truly awed by the scope of his intellect and range of his interests. I love his declaration that "I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back." He defined success for me when he said this, and I work to make this the truth in my life. I can only hope to live as many days as Mr. Bradbury. He will be sorely missed, and my condolences to his survivors. Though his best friends may have predeceased him, he is still loved the world over, and there are so many who will rue the day upon which he died. May he rest in eternal peace."

iReporter Pamela Drapala of Yuma, Arizona, said she can't help but think forward in time. She remembers taking a walk with her friend and discussing the innovations that mankind has witnessed. She poses a few rhetorical questions in her iReport.

"I ask you to do the same, but this time think into the very distant future. What do you see as possibilities? Do you foresee computer robots who will be our prime caretakers when we are ill? Do you foresee computer robots who will do all of our manual labor? Do you foresee computers allowing us to fly across town instead of driving on congested streets? I see all of these things some day coming to fruition. Think of the limitless possibilities that await all of us. All we have to do is be patient, because it won’t be long before you too will see the impossible unfold right before your eyes. Embrace the new technology ... it’s here to stay."

What do you think about the future? How did Bradbury's work influence your life? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off with your take via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    "I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back."
    I love that quote; I live that quote!
    I remember reading "Something Wicked This Way Comes" anwhen I was young and it scaring the bejeezus out of me; the ti tle alone is evocative.
    I will have to re-visit Mr. Bradbury's works soon; it has been •far• too long since I've picked up one of his books.
    RIP, Mr. Bradbury.

    June 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. drap

    At what 'Fahrenheit' do PCs..laptops..burn?

    June 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      About 640 degrees F give or take a few degrees based on the different materials used for the outer casing of the device.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      That's an interesting question.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ♚Mmmmm♛

    bradbury was a child torturer...whose books was unjustly imposed on millions of innocent children by scholastic books company's hired hitmen known as english literature teachers financed with the coffers of unsuspecting parents...to this day i suffer with memory problems...from the odds notions of pagan atheistic free thinkers...they all...all...should be tried for their punishments against humanity as war crimminals...they are the reasons why our movies are plotless today...they even numbered our desks...

    June 7, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • absoluteabsence

      I am laughing so hard at your statement that I can barely write this!!! i suggest you get some serious professional help with your delusions!

      June 7, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      Awww...were you jealous that your friends all had a Sing the Body Electric grandma while you didn't?

      June 7, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      It is truly a pity that you feel that way about reading. Books have brought me great joy all my life so "Fahrenheit 451", which depicts a place where books are illegal, struck a chord deep inside me. As a child "The Martian Chronicles" were my first literary step onto another planet. You probably do not even realize just how many things that once were only imagined in books have become our reality. Science fiction in particular opened wide the door to innovative new inventions that have benefited all of us.
      It is a shame you still hold a grudge for being required to (gasp) read just one book during the Summer. You also seem to harbor extremely bizarre notions about the role of Science Fiction writers play in your school system academic courses or in how classrooms were organized. It is highly unlikely that your memory problems, either then or now, are remotely related to the Summer reading program. I strongly suggest that you should have a visit with your family physician for your mental symptoms.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      innovative ideas my foot...they are like nostradamus...readers of the pot and boilin' cauldrons...writing everything down...!

      June 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Are you serious???? I hope not. But if youare I say put the damned electric kool-aid down!!

      June 8, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • k

      Dear Mmmmmmm,
      Please see a Dr. you need much help. Your head is broken

      June 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      ...welllll-ell, some people feel I have a sick sense of humor..

      June 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • AD

      Mmmm: I suggest that you go on medication, preferably strong anti-psychotics, and see a psychiatrist for your memory "problems" and delusions of persecution and "child torture". For those of us who really did have horrific childhoods, Ray Bradbury was a savior (Not THE Savior, Mmmm, a savior).
      As for your alleged "sick" sense of humor, I think perhaps no sense of humor at all is more like it!

      June 9, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      mr bradbury's "a" "d"...is that "a" "d" as in die hard advocate for dead people or anno domini...a timeline determinator of dead people's literary contributions that turned history...you know yah can make either one of those worthy causes by advocating the living...letmie suggest a starter...the unborn is excellent selection in any anno... 🙂

      June 9, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kristi G

    For warmly secret summer nights
    For cotton candy rocket flights
    For softly golden Martian lights
    I cry farewell
    On the day it rained forever

    For wonderful ice cream colored joys
    For sacred chocolate and tattooed poise
    For fire and ice and marvelous toys
    I cry farewell
    On the day it rained forever

    For gently drunken Irish prose
    For anthems sung on country roads
    For secret smiles amidst our woes
    I cry farewell
    On the day it rained forever

    Goodbye my friend, Godspeed your flight
    To Venus, to Mars, to endless delight
    All joy to you, may your path be bright
    I cry farewell
    On the day it rained forever

    June 7, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Dionysius

      Just so..... Thank you Krist!

      June 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • haywire

      Beautiful. Your poem was simply, Ray Bradbury. Thank you.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I had the good fortune to meet and briefly chat with Mr. Bradbury during the course of my work several years ago. He was a very pleasant and down-to-earth man. I was very saddened to hear of his passing, but I know he is off on fantastic, new adventures. Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury, you will be missed.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave DOC Bennett

    At what temperature does a Kindle Fire burn?

    June 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      @Dave - Wow, what a comment.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Absynthe

    I really can't cry over Ray's death. He lived to be a ripe old age. I got to know him, hang out with him at the conventions that we all attended. Just ironic he passed on the day of the Venus Transit of the Sun – it would've been a Thriller of a time.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rickapolis

    I can't help but think Mr. Electro was right. Ray Bradbury will live forever.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. I see u never

    I was in Dupont Circle having lunch when the news of Ray Bradbury death came out. I was deeply saddened by the news but was comforted by early memories of my mother giving me a copy – behind my father's back – of The Martial Chronicles setting the ground for what has become a long love affair for scifi and reading in general. I devoured all his novels. I was fascinated with the beautiful and magical worlds he created. By the simplicity and beauty of his prose and his focus on exploring the complex nature of the human soul across time and space. I loved it and still cherish the memory of those long carefree summer nights I spend immersed in the worlds he woved into words. I close this by remembering the lines of one of his characters in one of his short stories...." I see you never"
    Thank you Mr. Bradbury! and like one of your characters in one of your short stories said.... " I see you never"

    THis was what got me the most and at the end ireadng

    June 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • haywire

      I agree. ay Bradbury was the most gentle transition into sci fi/fantasy for myself and many others. I remember as a 12 yr old perusing the used book stores for anything he wrote.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Really Jersey

    Periodically I revisit my old friends among my books to gain a fresh outlook upon them. The epitome of a classic is that upon rereading it you can glean further insights at different life stages. Late last night I revisited "Fahrenheit 541".
    In the opening of the book: I was struck afresh by the pathos of both Montag's life, & that of his wife. The vibrancy & laughter, exhibited by the girl's family in the night, stood out as such a sharp contrast. Even as a child family dinner conversation included discussions of books; back then I identified myself most strongly with the teenaged girl, now as an adult I find myself reexamining Montag's viewpoint from perspective of mature pity for a fellow adult.
    In a world where language is devolving due to texting & video screens grow ever larger, this book now sends new shivers down my spine.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Texting language is proof that Eckels stepped on the butterfly.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    One of the memorable features of his writing was his use of language. His short stories in particular are infused with one beautiful phrase after another. I don't know if he ever published poetry but he had a gift for it.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gary

    R, Bradbury spoke at Harper community college in IL in 1990. He talked about being passionate about what
    you do. Said he drove his wife crazy he was so passionate about his work/ life.
    He talked about not giving into The fear hype the media presents to us..
    and to buy American. “I was the only one who applauded.”
    It was right after my dad passed Away from cancer. It inspired me to get on with my life, follow my dreams.
    That talk greatly inspires /influences me to this day.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aaron Chaney

    Romney vs Frankenstein (Obama)

    Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney

    June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dionysius

    MMMMMM: You have my sympathy:
    for your inability to stretch your simple, provincial little mind around ideas that weren't covered by bible stories;
    for your inability to acknowledge that what you know is so small a percentage of what there IS to know that the difference between what you know and total ignorance is effectively zero;
    for your inability to match subject and predicate in a sentence.
    Ray, you can't win them all; some people are quite simply ineducable. Those of us you taught will remember you with affection, admiration, and some little jealousy, for you have gone to learn, and perhaps teach, new truths....

    June 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      ❤❤❤i love simple❤❤❤ you hate me because i have distaste for thick books containing vain rambles...you presumed an author's intelligence based on the popularity of his books...you also presumed ignorance on part of those who have sense enough to reject such intimacies and inner makings of madness on paper...you'rrr sooo cheeky...AD

      June 9, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. AD

    Ray Bradbury was my hero! He got me through a very difficult childhood and adolescence, and his books were my refuge and my escape. I still have many of his pocket books, bought in the early to mid and late 1960's. I still read them, and when I have the chance, I read them to kids who have never heard of Ray. It never fails, the kids sit silently, mesmerized by Mr. Bradbury's every word!
    What differentiated Ray Bradbury from his contemporaries, was his humanity, his compassion, and his understanding of the human condition. That humanity was always evident, whether the character was human or alien, and whether the character resided on Earth or on Mars.
    I feel as though I have lost an old and dear friend. Ray Bradbury was one of a kind. He will be sorely missed.
    Go in peace my friend.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
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