Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

I have to say that I resisted Science Fiction for a long time. I was a snooty fantasy, horror and contemporary fiction lover. Rocketships, space men, and robots weren't my thing. Those were for--gasp!--boys, and those things frankly didn't interest me. I thought about life on other planets, and I liked movies like Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Deep Impact, and some of the old Twilight Zone stuff, (and I'll even admit to liking Contact, even if the plot device of the alien being her dad was a tad contrived)) but I wouldn't go out and READ about them. I had a read a multitude of crappy science fiction and I quickly dismissed it as not worth my time.
Until the day I discovered what Science Fiction really was about and it was on that day I discovered Ray Bradbury. We hadn't been required to read Bradbury in school, and I kept hearing about this book, Fahrenheit 451, and I figured if people were that intrigued by it, maybe there was something to it. This was in college and someone lent their copy to me--and I was blown away.
I found this link, for the first time between politics, and writing, and science fiction. I too had wondered what it would be like, living in a world where free thought was a death sentence. I had my own experiences with these issues, so naturally I loved what I read.
Science Fiction now opened doors and possibilities in my head that I had only a nodding acquaintance with. The more good science fiction I read, the more I made connections between critical thinking (a HUGE part of my teaching and learning process with my Intro to Comp students), my personal politics, and challenges to current cultures, ideas, and beliefs.In short, Science Fiction made me THINK about my world, and the future of my world, and the immense possibilities of the human race--our capability for such compassion and wonder, and our capability for conformity and destruction. Now I use Science Fiction in my own writing and research classes, and it all started with one man, and one book. And for that, Mr. Bradbury, I thank you.

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