When I was in junior high, Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite authors. More than any of the other science fiction authors I was reading then, he created worlds that were equal parts challenging concepts and vividly alive with character and description.
With his death this month, I found myself revisiting some of those stories and images that I had enjoyed so much.
Today was one of those days, gray and rainy. Just another June day in Seattle. While most of the rest of the country is sweltering, we had our first two days over 70 degrees this week? But that was yesterday.
And that takes me back to Ray Bradbury again, via his story, “All Summer in a Day.” It’s science fiction, for sure, set on Venus at some time in the future. Venus, it turns out, is more rainy even than Seattle. The rain is constant, with literally only a couple hours of sunshine every several years.
All of which begs the question of what happens when the sun comes out. Bradbury sets the story in a school, where the children have literally never known anything but rain. Without entirely spoiling the story, Bradbury uses this sci-fi setting to tell a very contemporary sounding tale about how kids treat each other and the aftermath of their behavior.
And that was what was often so special about Bradbury’s writing, that it was not just amazing science fiction about strange worlds, but at its core it was about the people who lived in those worlds.
As I look out the window on this rainy Seattle day, I am silently happy, reminded of Ray Bradbury.