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Ray Bradbury, a friend of The Planetary Society

Posted by Bill Nye

06-06-2012 19:41 CDT

Topics: obituary

Ray Bradbury was a friend to The Planetary Society. He often dreamt of the future and travel between planets, most especially Mars. He set up a gift to be presented to the composer of a piece of classical music that celebrates the landing of the first humans on Mars.  

His stories were cautionary, warning us of the dangers of a government unchecked. He reminded us all of the importance of the written word: the power of prose and poetry. For me, Fahrenheit 451 was about the freedom of speech and the trouble a society can get into with a paranoid leadership and complacent citizenry. Along that line, The Martian Chronicles were, for me, about the dangers of taking things for granted, of not being vigilant, and of not participating in your community.

I met Mr. Bradbury when I attended his play Greentown. It was a striking work about life, death, and our place in the universe — and Mr. Bradbury was seeing it produced for the first time. He was delighted; we all were. He could tell a story and leave you questioning so much, so many of your own decisions in life. That’s not just a gift or talent; it shows the deep thought and work he put in to make his stories not just good, but great. And so, Ray’s stories have stood the test of time.

Thank you, Ray; you changed the world. At the Planetary Society we will do our best to see to it that your dreams and hopes of exploring the distant regions of the Solar System, Mars especially, are kept alive.

See other posts from June 2012


Or read more blog entries about: obituary


William of Santa Barbara: 06/08/2012 01:55 CDT

How fitting that the Transit of Venus happened as our beloved Ray left us - a rare occurrence to commemorate such a rare soul.

Leonidas: 06/08/2012 07:46 CDT

Thank you Mr. Nye for your heartfelt thoughts on the passing of Mr. Bradbury. "Thank you, Ray; you changed the world. At the Planetary Society we will do our best to see to it that your dreams and hopes of exploring the distant regions of the Solar System, Mars especially, are kept alive." Thank you for being motivated by the same hopes and dreams and working to make them a reality!

bware: 06/10/2012 08:39 CDT

His Planetary Radio interview on the APOLLO 11 40th anniversary about 3 years ago week is linked via MK's blog. It is a very good interview and it gives a glimpse as to the down to Earth kind of a guy he was. Yes he will be missed.

KKraus: 06/13/2012 07:42 CDT

What I most remember about Bradbury's stories is how he incorporated the small town human element into the early settlers of Mars. And like new pioneers, the day comes when these transplanted humans realize that they in fact have become the Martians they had always wondered about meeting.

Sebastian: 06/15/2012 06:58 CDT

I was lucky enough to have met Ray Bradbury twice (once at Planetfest 2004), and I've seen him speak publicly many times. And although he didn't know me (of course), I felt I knew much of him through the darkly poetic, whimsical, romantic and unique voice in his works. In a literary sense, he was my 'crazy uncle' who kept imagination simmering forever. He will be missed....

billgoodwin: 06/22/2012 05:32 CDT

AN OPEN LETTER--THOUGHTS OR FEEDBACK, ANYONE? Ray Bradbury was my friend and mentor. I've spent the last several months reading his classic works to him at his bedside, which, naturally, was a joy and an intimacy that words can't adequately describe. I spoke at his funeral, and an excerpt from my memoir about him forms the cover story of the current issue of Rosebud magazine. My question is: Is there any kind of Bradbury tribute being organized in connection with the anticipated landing of Curiosity in August? A panel-discussion would be a treat for the public, and might add a (further) romantic dimension to the program at PLANETFEST. I know first-hand how genuine Ray's interest in planetary exploration was, and it's a passion I share. Yet when I speak with young people about Mars, what they often fail to comprehend is the "why." Why get excited? Why should they care about rocks and a little frost? I don't have to tell you how frustrating it is to see such waning interest. Itemizing the economic incentives and technological spinoffs just seems to make matters worse. We need to remember the words of poets like Bradbury, and to cultivate their humanist perspective amongst new generations of writers, artists and engineers. The last time Ray experienced his novel, The Martian Chronicles, was from my own lips. I am compelled by my debt. I'm no engineer--and only a novice writer--but I've got connections in event management and I know a thing or two about putting together an audio-visual presentation. Any assistance I could provide at this late hour, in the mounting of a Bradbury remembrance, would be gladly given. I'd even be happy to produce such a presentation on my own time (pending approval of format and content of course). One room and one hour is all we'd need! Many recognized authors and illustrators come to mind; I've been talking with some of them this week. The real challenge would be in keeping the list short. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the public discussion (in connection with Mariner 9, between Bradbury, Sagan, Clarke, Murray and Sullivan) which ultimately became the book "Mars and the Mind of Man." A good name for a sequel might be: "Mars and the HEART of Man." Two conversations, bracketing four decades of astonishing discovery. And keeping the focus--of course--on the red planet itself, which promises to surprise us all again this year. Naturally, if a tribute to Ray has already been arranged, or if the many good people working on the Pasadena event already have such matters well-in-hand, I remain the Planetary Society's enthusiastic supporter, Bill Goodwin "Bill Goodwin was a constant companion to Ray Bradbury in the last few years, bringing Ray many good times and much joy. He is also a damn fine writer, as evidenced by [the] words he spoke at the family's service for Ray. You will not find a better tribute to Ray and his impact on individuals, nor a greater view of Ray in these last few years." --Steven Paul Leiva, author of Traveling in Space.

MattVentimiglia: 07/12/2012 01:25 CDT

If there is any way I can help with Mr. Goodwin's hoped-for Ray Bradbury tribute, please let me know. I've already put together a preliminary PP presentation with over 100 images. Anyone working on the tribute is welcome to borrow this material. I met Ray in 1980 when I began working on my USC School of Cinema Television master's thesis covering the adaptations of Moby Dick. We remained friends for 30 years, exchanging cards, gifts, phone calls, and e-mails (facilitated by his daugher Alexandra), often seeing each other at film screenings, book signings, and Planetary Society events. I played the Theremin (accompanying selections from Fahrenheit 451, It Came from Outer Space, and other sci-fi standards) at a reception following the final Pandemonium Theater Co performance of The Machineries of Joy (2006) at the Freemont Center Theater in So. Pasadena.

Faye Kane, homeless brain: 08/03/2012 11:20 CDT

BRADBURY DIED?? JEE-zuss! That's horrible!!! ...I mean, that's unfortunate. He was the last one. Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, and now... DAMN. It gave us sex and it gave us intelligence and it gave us the drive to exceed ourselves and do the impossible (like cross space without a helmet). It gave us everything we need to evolve--and we're still evolving. Tomorrow, we'll land on mars again. But sometimes I HATE what the Black Monolith does to us. Sadly, faye kane idiot savant tiny url dot com slash kanecave

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