Thank You Ray Bradbury

ray bradbury the illustrated man

As a GIRL who ened up working in DIGITAL communications. I have to tell you – Ray Bradbury (along with Star Trek and Phillip K Dick) is a very large influence on who I have become as an adult.

How is this possible? Well – it all started with the Illustrated Man. In my school district in Hamden, Connecticut you progressed in your “reading” through a very set group of tests that were “levels” to show you had advanced. Level 40 was supposed to take you to the end of 6th grade. I passed level 40 in the middle of 5th grade. (I never brag so cut me some slack here….)

I then was tested for the “talented and gifted program”….TAG. As a member of the special elite forces group I got to hang with 10 kids from 3 other nearby schools 2x a week and develop my critical thinking skills. The first book we used as I recall? Yep – “The Illustrated Man”.  I had nightmares. For sure. He was standing at the end of my bed on a few occassions at 3am, much to the chagrin of my mother. But since every book on her nightstand had a foil cover and involved alien abduction, murder or international intrigue – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Ray Bradbury followed me into Junior High – Farenheit 451 – what many think of as not his BEST work – but it certainly opened my eyes up to censorship and freedome of speech and mind control. It was certainly the primer for films that all fall into my favorite dystopian category – THX 1138, Brazil, BladeRunner…

Every single day I think Ray Bradbury crosses my mind. He crosses it while I’m watching CNN on my 55″ flatscreen on the living room wall. He crosses it when I see a digital billboard with video at the busstop while I’m sitting at a stoplight. He crosses it when I drive downtown by the Bradbury Building made so famous by Blade Runner and sort of a “mecca” for those of us who like to see that sort of static influence in person.

I just downloaded Farenheit 451 (and the Martian Chronicles) to my kindle app on my i-pad. I haven’t reread either in a while. They will get read again before my Monday meeting with a new client.

I know that I will surely be inspired by something in there…and yes – there is something in a book from 1953 that I will subconciously (or purposefully!) introduce into a strategy session on communicating an idea, a product or a new technology to our uber connected world.

And dear Los Angeles Metro team – can we please christen that subway to the sea as the “Bradbury Express” when it launches? That would be such a wonderful tribute to this most futuristic and influential thinker of our era.  “LA’S Future is Up In The Air” by Ray Bradbury

Merci Beaucoup Msr. Bradbury…vos idees vivra a jamais.

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