First off – I didn’t read him growing up like so many other geeks of my generation. I wasn’t influenced by him as a young mind. I read SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and maybe a story or two, but that was it. For whatever reason, he didn’t quite stick.
Then, in 2001, I picked him up again. I was writing fiction pretty steadily by that time and a fair amount of it was horror and fantasy. I was at a friend’s house, just hanging out. I took a “Best Fantasy Authors” anthology off of her shelf and read “The Foghorn.” I loved it. It stuck.
“The Foghorn” remains one of my favorites. Read it.
Since then, I make sure to read a few Ray Bradbury stories a year.
A few random thoughts
– All modern creators are influenced by him, whether they know it or not. I know a lot of my work is influenced by him. In particular, my short play “Bags of Bones” was heavily influenced by his short story “Skelton.”
“Skeleton” remains one of my favorites. Read it.
– When I was a tour guide on the Chicago River, I always made a point to mention him during the tour. I would tell about how he traveled from his home-town of Waukegan to Chicago to attend the Century of Progress World’s Fair in the early 30’s. He saw the animatronic dinosaurs and they inspired him to dream of fantastic things.
“A Sound of Thunder” remains one of my favorites. Read it.
– Hey, Disney! How about a DVD of Stuart Gordon’s movie version of THE WONDERFUL ICE CREAM SUIT? Ray considered it one of the best adaptations of his work (along with “The Burning Man” from the 1980’s reboot of THE TWILIGHT ZONE.)
A few more stories:
“The October Game” remains one of my favorites. Read it.
“The Parrot Who Met Papa” remains one of my favorites. Read it.
“The Jar” remains…. Oh, they’re all great! Pick up a collection of his short stories and read it.
One final thought…
– When my short story collection THE UNDERTOW OF SMALL TOWN DREAMS came out a decade ago, LOCUS magazine reviewer Edward Bryant compared me to Ray. While talking about my fictional town Currie Valley, he said it was “…just downstream from Bradbury country”
Compared to Ray Bradbury? There is no higher praise.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and any…thing self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” — Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)