Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury has died.

As they said on the radio, he was probably best known for novels like Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. But the first of his books I read was The Day it Rained Forever, one of his many books of short stories. I think of him as a short story writer rather than a novelist. Each story took one remarkable idea and executed it perfectly. My favourite of his novels is Dandelion Wine, which is actually more like a themed collection of short stories, on growing up in small-town America between the wars, a subject to which he often returned.

He had an astonishing way with words. At one time I tried to write like he did, though now I see that would be quite impossible.

In the title story of The Day it Rained Forever, three dried-up old men in a dried-up old hotel in the desert are unexpectedly visited by a retired music teacher whose car has broken down outside. She says, “I always figured we were born to fly, one way or other, so I couldn’t stand most men shuffling along with all the iron in the earth in their blood.”

As a tribute, here are the titles of the stories in The Day it Rained Forever. If you don’t know them, read this like a poem, and let your imagination fly.

The Day it Rained Forever
In a Season of Calm Weather
The Dragon
The End of the Beginning
The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit
Fever Dream
The Referent
The Marriage Mender
The Town Where No One Got Off
Icarus Montgolfier Wright
Almost the End of the World
Dark They were and Golden-eyed
The Smile
Here there be Tygers
The Headpiece
Perchance to Dream
The Time of Going Away
The Gift
The Little Mice
The Sunset Harp
A Scent of Sarsaparilla
And the Rock Cried Out
The Strawberry Window

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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