Illustrated Man

1. The classic science-fiction author Ray Bradbury has died. I never really kept up with his work, but when I was a kid I thought Illustrated Man had the coolest book cover in the universe. “The Veldt” was my favorite story from that collection. Here’s more on Ray from Boing Boing, io9, Neil Gaiman and Ed Champion.

And while I’ve gotcha here:

2. Beautiful visualizations can occur when great authors pick up the brush.

3. Perceptive words (in video format) by Bill Ectric on the work of Iranian author Ali Mirdrekvandi.

5. Andrew Zawacki on the meaning of graffiti in Paris.

6. Patti Smith and Neil Young compare notes (get it?) on memoir writing at BookExpo in New York City.

7. Electric Literature presents: North Of, a short story by Marie-Helene Bertino about bringing Bob Dylan home for family dinner.

10 Responses

  1. New Yorker has a science
    New Yorker has a science fiction themed issue and Ray Bradbury is author of one of the pieces.

    Fever Dream is the earliest story I remember from my childhood.

    I saw him at Vroman’s in Pasadena. He was a larger than life figure.

    He was an optimist and positivist (with a small p). He never drove a care despite living in LA for decades. He loved Walt Disney and used to keep Disney away from his scheduled meetings by hanging out with him too long, to the chagrin of Disney’s secretary.

  2. A few years ago our friend,
    A few years ago our friend, Jay “jota” Mejia, wrote an online piece about meeting Ray Bradbury. I can’t seem to find a link to it now.

  3. Bill and Levi, thanks for
    Bill and Levi, thanks for mentioning the Meija piece on Ray Brudbury and for re-linking it.

    That was fantastic.

    What’s interesting is that, its almost 10 years old. I don’t remember reading it at all.

    But, in reading it, when I got to this part:

    “I remember the first time I checked out a book and nervously asked the guy at the wheel how many books I could check out. He looked at me funny and said, “kid, you take as many as you can read. But we come here every Wednesday, so you don’t have to worry about it, ok?””

    I completely remembered that anecdote. So I did read it way back when. It’s funny what sticks with someone from what they’ve read years and years ago.

  4. TKG, I know what you mean.
    TKG, I know what you mean. Sometimes I’ll remember one particular sentence about an author that I’ve read somewhere, and I want to quote it later, because it was a good point. I end up searching for hours, keying in various versions of the way I remember it. It’s great when I finally find it.

  5. Levi, Excellent article on a
    Levi, Excellent article on a great writer or speculative fiction. Incidentally, Ray warned us about the potential dangers and alienation caused by relying so much on gadgets–radio then–now almost everything. This is reality not science fiction. He had great foresight not just literary talent. “But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog… The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. … There she was, oblivious to the man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap opera cries, sleepwalking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction” (quoted by Kingsley Amis in New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction, NY: Ayer Co. Publishing, 1975).

  6. Although the writing style is
    Although the writing style is a little bit flighty, the NYTimes article on Bradbury is worth a read.

    It concludes with:

    ” It is thanks to Ray Bradbury that I understand this world I grew into for what it is: a dystopian future. And it is thanks to him that we know how to conduct ourselves in such a world: arm yourself with books. Assassinate your television. Go for walks, and talk with your neighbors. Cherish beauty; defend it with your life. Become a Martian. ”


    Isn’t this what LitKicks is really about, arming ourselves with books?

  7. Thanks Levi, TKG and
    Thanks Levi, TKG and Bill_Ectric for dredging up one my ghosts from ten years ago.

  8. Enjoyed your article about
    Enjoyed your article about Ray Bradbury and the N.Y. Times link. He was always my favorite sci-fi guy, especially for the Martian Chronicles, and his short story ‘A Scent of Sarsaparilla’.

  9. I also think Ray Bradbury
    I also think Ray Bradbury could also be called the greatest fantasy writer of our times…I read that Ray considered himself a writer of fantasy fiction. He took ordinary situations & turned them by twists into the extraordinary. Many of Ray’s stories started out grounded in reality & then suddenly you’re “up around the bend”! I finished a compilation of his complete short stories several years back. I considered Ray a great mentor & inspiration for my poetry, columns, & stories. Ray was quite a judge of human behavior–either for good or ill, as in the “Martian Chronicles”.

    Ray did quite an amazing amount of imaginative work for someone who was just a high school graduate. Ray was very intelligent & was self-taught in many different subjects. He was a voracious reader & loved libraries as I do… Ray also wrote quite a bit of poetry…

    Ray anticipated much of the on-line gadgets that we have today way back in the late forties & early fifties… Like Orwell, Ray didn’t consider the surveillance we have as always a good thing…

    One good thing about the internet is the open sharing of ideas. It is easier to get a wider audience for imaginative ideas, & possible innovations. There are many more great writers out there in the net who got their start because of the open sharing on the net. Many of us are worried, however, about people copying our works without giving us credit. Copyrights are important… Ray Bradbury was very careful about his rights to his material… As we all should be…

    I will always miss “Uncle Ray”… I was a great fan of his…

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!