I still vividly remember when I first picked up The Martian Chronicles in my junior high library; I can picture where it sat on a shelf by the window and the special way the sun cascaded through the blinds on that early spring day. I remember ruffling through the lackluster “to be discarded” box a few weeks later and happening upon two treasures: R Is For Rocket and S Is For Space. Bradbury wasn’t my introduction to science fiction, but he was by far the most enchanting. For six decades, his work has mesmerized and inspired us. Today, we say goodbye. In this engaging interview with The Paris Review, Bradbury discusses his career, inspirations, and process.
Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor. We appreciate things like Daniel and the lion’s den, and the Tower of Babel. People remember these metaphors because they are so vivid you can’t get free of them and that’s what kids like in school. They read about rocket ships and encounters in space, tales of dinosaurs. All my life I’ve been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn one over and say, Yeah, there’s a story. And that’s what kids like. Today, my stories are in a thousand anthologies. And I’m in good company. The other writers are quite often dead people who wrote in metaphors: Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne. All these people wrote for children. They may have pretended not to, but they did.